MLB Hot Stove Lowdown: Rhys Hoskins inks deal with Brewers

With the beginning of the season getting closer by the day, teams are still attempting to make their teams better for the grind of a 162 game season. This week, we saw the Brewers add a much needed slugger at first base and the reigning World Champions adding veteran presence to their bullpen. There are still plenty of top tier free agents available so there should be some more interesting transactions coming up in the next couple of week. Before that happens, let's recap this week's news!

Rhys Hoskins joins the Brew Crew

The Brewers and free agent Rhys Hoskins reportedly agree with a two-year, $34 million contract, including an opt-out after the 2024 season. After a huge postseason in 2022, capped with a mega bat spike against Spencer Strider and the Braves in the NLDS, the 30-year-old missed the entire season after tearing his ACL right before the 2023 season began. There was talk towards the end of the year that Hoskins could return in the postseason (a la Kyle Schwarber in 2015 against the Cubs), but sadly, the Phillies were bounced out of the playoffs by the Diamondbacks right before reaching the World Series. Before the injury, it appeared that Hoskins was destined to receive, at the very least, a qualifying offer from the Phillies, but Bryce Harper’s seemingly effortless move to first base pretty much nipped all of that discourse in the bud.

Since his first full season in the majors, outside of the 2020 pandemic-shortened season, Hoskins has hit at least 27 homers, which he paired with at least a 10 percent walk rate. The Brewers' offense has been starving for a big-time thumper, and they finally might have found the guy they were looking for. Since 2021, the Brewers first basemen have posted a 93 wRC+, which is the fifth worst during that time. Hoskins' lowest in that category was a 112 wRC+ during the 2019 campaign, so things appear to be looking up for Milwaukee.

Since the New Year, Hoskins has been going as the 208th player of the board over at the NFBC and the 20th first baseman overall. Now that he has a landing spot, especially in a hitter-friendly ballpark like American Family Field, he could easily move up 30 spots, putting him around Vinnie Pasquantino and Issac Paredes. Jake Bauers was an intriguing late flier for fantasy managers in deeper draft and hold leagues, as he appeared to have the full-time role at first and he also posted an intriguing profiler, including a 48 percent hard-hit rate, but will surely fall into a part-time role.

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David Roberston signs with the Rangers

The reliever market has been picked pretty clean, especially with some of the transactions over the past week. However, the reigning World Series champions got in on the fun and reportedly agreed to a one-year deal. Jeff Passan of ESPN reported that the deal is worth between $11 million and $12 million, pending a physical. The veteran right-hander spent the 2023 campaign in the NL East. He signed a one-year deal with the Mets and became their closer after Edwin Díaz’s unfortunate injury in the World Baseball Classic. In New York, he posted a 2.05 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 48/13 K/BB ratio, and 14 saves before being traded to the Marlins for prospects Marco Vargas and Ronald Hernandez.

Things turned for worse when he made it to Miami. He posted a 9.00 ERA in his first with a surprisingly competing Marlins and was booted from his role as closer. After moving into a less stressful role, the 38–year–old posted a cool 1.74 ERA in the season's final month. Now he moves west to Texas, a team in the news lately about their desire to add to their bullpen. They lost both Will Smith and Aroldis Chapman to free agency this winter and had previously been linked to Héctor Neris and Ryan Brasier. Neris and Brasier would like to land in the two-year contract range, so Robertson makes more sense since it is just a one-year deal.

Robertson joins a bullpen that includes José LeClerc, who will likely break camp as the Rangers closer, and Josh Sborz, the lefty who got the final out in the World Series. Robertson has racked up 38 saves over the past two seasons, so there is a chance that the veteran gets another handful of saves this season, but it likely needs to be an injury of ineffectiveness from LeClerc before he sees more save chances.

MLB Quick Hits: Adrián Beltré, Joe Mauer, and Todd Helton were elected to the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame on Tuesday… Diamondbacks signed Joc Peterson to a one-year, $12.5 million contract… Angels signed LHP Matt Moore to a one-year, $9 million contract… Nationals signed OF Joey Gallo to a one-year, $5 million contract Alex Blandino will attempt to pitch full-time in 2024 as a knuckleballer in the Reds organization… Both New York teams are interested in free-agent Hector Neris… Phillies agreed to terms with RHP Kolby Allard on a one-year contract… Angels designated 1B Alfonso Rivas for assignment… Orioles signed OF Daniel Johnson to a minor league contract… Angels signed 1B Miguel Sanó to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training… The Pirates are interested in free agent right-hander Noah Syndergaard… Try Mancini signed minor league contract with the Miami Marlins… Tigers signed RHP Drew Anderson to a minor league contract… Brewers signed INF Christian Arroyo to a minor league contract… The Orioles have expressed interest in free agent right-hander Michael Lorenzen… The Blue Jays interest in free agent OF/DH Jorge Soler remains “very real.”... Reds manager David Bell said that Jeimer Candelario will be an everyday player in 2024… Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported that LHP Will Smith is the leading candidate to close in 2024… Rockies signed RHP John Curtiss to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training… Free agent RHP Domingo Germán draws interest from as many as six teams, including the Orioles and Blue Jays… Orioles signed LHP/1B Ronald Guzmán to a minor league contract… Left-hander DL Hall is still viewed as a starter and RHP Dillon Tate is recovering well from a forearm injury… Free agent RHP Ryne Stanek has drawn interest from the Cubs and Red Sox… Rangers signed LHP Blake Taylor, INF Matt Duffy, and 1B Jared Walsh to minor league contracts and invited them to spring training.