The Mariners have interest in first baseman Rhys Hoskins, according to a report from MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. Hoskins is considered unlikely to return to his longtime club in Philadelphia after the Phillies shifted Bryce Harper to first base full time earlier this offseason.
Hoskins, 31 in March, missed the entire 2023 season due to a torn ACL but was one of the league’s premiere power hitters since his first full-season as a major leaguer back in 2018. Over that time, Hoskins’s 130 homers tied with slugger J.D. Martinez for 15th among all MLB hitters while his isolated slugging ranks 24th, just below the likes of Giancarlo Stanton and Matt Olson while clocking in just ahead of players like Ronald Acuna Jr. and Juan Soto.
That sort of prodigious power production would surely help the Mariners, particularly after the club saw Teoscar Hernandez depart for free agency while parting ways with Eugenio Suarez, Jarred Kelenic, and Mike Ford. Those departures have left Seattle in position to improve their contact rate relative to last season, but short on power. The four aforementioned players combined for 75 of the club’s 210 home runs last season, leaving Julio Rodriguez and Cal Raleigh as the lineup’s only reliable sources of power. Hoskins could improve the club’s power potential while also offering a palatable career strikeout rate of 23.9% that wouldn’t conflict with their goal of a more contact-oriented offense in 2024.
That said, the fit between the Mariners and Hoskins isn’t perfect, as the club currently has Ty France as their everyday first baseman. France was one of the Mariners’ better contact hitters in 2023 as he struck out at a clip of just 17.6%, but the 29-year-old’s 104 wRC+ indicates that his overall production left something to be desired, particularly given his offense-first position of first base. If Hoskins were head up north to Seattle, it’s possible that France, who has logged occasional time at second and third base throughout his career, could pitch in all around the infield while also spelling Hoskins at first base, allowing him to ease back into an everyday role with DH starts after his lengthy absence due to injury. Of course, it’s also worth noting that the club fielded trade offers on France in the run-up to the trade deadline last summer, though it’s unclear if any such conversations have occurred this winter.
Hoskins isn’t the only power hitter the Mariners have been attached to in recent weeks,…