Last off-season, it was clear that the Chicago Cubs were a perfect fit for outfielder Cody Bellinger after he was non-tendered by the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Bellinger was looking for a short-term deal as a way to prove that he was healthy and could be close to the offensive player that he was when he won the National League MVP Award during the 2019 season.
It was a near-perfect outcome for the Cubs as despite a knee injury that forced him to miss a month of games during the first half of the season, Bellinger was able to remain healthy and returned to being an anchor on a team's offense as he won 2023 National League Comeback Player of the Year.
Bellinger is now a free agent and while it looks unlikely that the Cubs will bring him back, there is another free agent on the market that could be the 2024 version of what the team did last season with the former Dodgers' outfielder.
Rhys Hoskins is fully healthy after tearing his ACL during a Spring Training game last March and with the Phillies committing to Bryce Harper moving forward at first base, Hoskins will undoubtedly have a new team in 2024.
The Cubs have already been linked to Hoskins this off-season and like with Bellinger last off-season, the fit is nearly perfect. The Cubs have a need for legitimate power and a starting first baseman and Hoskins checks both of those boxes when healthy. That is why MLB insiders such as Jim Bowden of The Athletic (Subscription Required) continue to mention the Cubs in association with Hoskins,
If the Cubs are truly planning on contending in 2024, they can not enter the season with the same approach they had this past season at first base by clinging onto the hope that Eric Hosmer or Trey Mancini could be respectable at the position despite regression being prevalent in each of their profiles. Hoskins would be a clear answer for the Cubs at the first base position for the first time since Anthony Rizzo was traded.