In some ways, the disappointing 2023 season has brought some clarity to how the San Diego Padres can fix their dreadful offense. The lineup needs more production from the bottom of the order.
The organization’s first offseason move should be signing free agent 1B/DH Rhys Hoskins. It is not a bad gamble, especially with his proven track record.
Rhys Hoskins is a perfect fit to the San Diego Padres lineup
Hoskins is the perfect fit, considering he is a right-handed hitter and better suited at the DH position than playing the field. It will allow Hoskins to bounce back from a torn ACL injury that sidelined him all season. But it is fair to ask if his surgically repaired knee will become an issue in 2024. However, Hoskins’ past production warrants him some consideration from the Padres front office.
J.D. Martinez of the Dodgers is a good comparison
If you are looking for a similar comparative move, it might be the Los Angeles Dodgers signing J.D. Martinez last offseason. The veteran hitter has rebounded nicely to play a role in the Dodgers claiming another National League West division title.
What changed after a disappointing 2022 season with the Boston Red Sox? Well, Martinez is hitting the ball hard once again. Currently, he is hitting .273 with 31 homers and 98 RBI. Imagine, his success came on a “make-or-break” one-year, $10 million deal with the Dodgers. Expect Martinez to become a hot commodity on this winter’s free agent market.
Hoskins might be a little more expensive because he will be turning 30 years old in 2024. The Friars are not looking to add another long-term deal to their payroll ledger. But any potential agreement with Hoskins may have to be more than one season to gain his services.
However, you have other elite hitters (Cody Bellinger and Shohei Ohtani) available on the free-agent market. Each should get megadeals that gain them over $200 million this winter. Hoskins seems to be a happy medium for the Padres projected 2024 payroll.
He is the only logical move for the Padres that makes any sense. Why? The roster holds several lengthy, big-money contracts that offer little movement on the trade market. The DH position is the only place in the lineup where the Friars can make a significant offseason upgrade. Hoskins' career numbers (36 homers and 98 RBI) make him the perfect solution to the Friars' scoring troubles.
San Diego Padres are on the clock
Let's not forget that the franchise is on the clock. Juan Soto can leave San Diego following the 2024 season as a free agent. Xander Bogaerts and Manny Machado are pushing the limits of playing in the prime of their careers. Most of the starting rotation are in their 30s (Yu Darvish, Seth Lugo, Nick Martinez and Michael Wacha), so the Friars cannot afford another season of missed opportunities.
The Padres front office is in a corner, especially after how this season played out. Hoskins is an ideal addition as the lineup becomes more balanced. Having another proven hitter is the remedy for a struggling offense to score more runs.
2024 might be a World Series or bust for the Padres. Adding Hoskins gives them a legitimate shot.