The Milwaukee Brewers signed first baseman Rhys Hoskins to a two-year contract on Tuesday, making many believe that the Cubs missed out on another offseason target. But ever since the Cubs traded for Michael Busch, the chances of the team signing Rhys Hoskins were very slim.
Hoskins is a three-tool player at best, as he's an excellent power hitter who can get on base at a decent rate (.353 over his career). But his defense at first base is average at best and the Cubs just acquired a younger player for the position in Michael Busch. They also sent future top 50 prospect Jackson Ferris to the Los Angeles Dodgers to complete the deal so the Cubs clearly think highly of Busch. This trade pretty much put the Cubs out of the running for Hoskins and that's okay, it just stings that he went to the division-rival Milwaukee Brewers.
Busch is poised to become the first baseman of the future for the Cubs despite rankings labeling him a third baseman. The Dodgers stuck Busch at third the last couple of years because he was close to the big leagues and they had no room for him at first base due to Freddie Freeman. Busch can also play second base but the Dodgers shifted Mookie Betts there last year, leaving Busch little to no playing time at the MLB level.
With a need at first base and a left-handed power hitter, Busch is basically a better version of Rhys Hoskins (on paper at least) that the Cubs don't have to pay as much money for. He's better on defense, hits for power from the left side, and is only 26 years old. Hoskins would have been a nice bat, but his maximum value for the Cubs after the Busch trade was as a designated hitter, and his presence on the roster would have given manager Craig Counsell much less lineup flexibility.
It will stink facing Hoskins so much and he will undoubtedly do some damage against the Cubs, but he has an opt-out after his first year so he may only be a temporary threat in the division.