The Milwaukee Brewers are signing previous Chicago Cubs target Rhys Hoskins to a two-year deal, the second of which has a player opt-out attached. The deal is worth $34MM, which, to be honest, is not that expensive. Of course, there are several implications for the Cubs, and none more avoidable than the pressure on them now to land Cody Bellinger.
For one, landing Hoskins before Bellinger would have made little sense, given the team would have all of Bellinger, Hoskins, and Michael Busch. Theoretically, it could have worked by rotating Bellinger to CF/1B, but if Pete Crow-Armstrong is doing well, you're guaranteeing that not all three of Bellinger, Hoskins, and Busch are in the lineup daily.
Hoskins's defense at first base is nothing to write home about; the pop in his bat made him a good fit for Chicago. Nevertheless, so far, the Cubs' only offensive acquisition to the lineup is a prospect who has yet to have a real chance to prove himself in MLB. Is it fair to say that now, if the Cubs do not re-sign Bellinger, the offseason has been a failure?
Of course, if Shota Imanaga performs at a level many see possible, the offseason is more underwhelming than a total failure. Still, it will be hard for the Cubs to replicate what they did if they lose their best bat from last year.
The best remaining hitters in free agency are Bellinger and Matt Chapman. Adding Chapman makes sense on a short-term deal. However, it will take at least one of these bats, preferably both and a reliever, to live up to the "industry-wide belief" that the Cubs will be the most aggressive team from here on out.
Personally, my money is on Jed Hoyer getting it done. After a while, his spending intelligently moto will become questionable if it continues to make the Cubs' current team a failure. We can't only be worried about the future. The way the industry is, Hoyer will have to get uncomfortable and understand that it's worth the dice roll if the alternative is not being competitive enough to make it back to the postseason anyway.
There are 30 days until Spring Training. Hoyer has something up his sleeve to let Hoskins walk on an affordable contract. The pressure is on to get it done, but he has yet to fail us personally. As always, let Jed cook.