Pittsburgh Pirates: Constructing a Potentially Perfect Off-Season

What would a perfect Pirates 2023-2024 off-season look like?
Sep 2, 2023; St. Louis, Missouri, USA;  Pittsburgh Pirates designated hitter Andrew McCutchen (22)
Sep 2, 2023; St. Louis, Missouri, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates designated hitter Andrew McCutchen (22) / Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
4 of 5

Rhys Hoskins

The Pirates have a hole at first base, so why not fill it in a big way? The best free agent first baseman on the market is veteran Rhys Hoskins. Not only has Hoskins been productive throughout his big league career, but consistent as well. He’s had just one year with a wRC+ under 120. Even then, it was in 2019 and he had a 112 wRC+.

Hoskins underwent Tommy John surgery after last season, which eliminated him from the 2023 regular season. If 2022 marks Hoskins’ last season in Philadelphia, it was a good year overall for the first baseman. In 672 plate appearances, Hoskins batted .246/.332/.462 with 30 dingers. Hoskin’s 25.1% strikeout rate was far from the best, though he helped offset that with a quality 10.7% walk rate. Overall as a batter, Hoskins had a .345 wOBA and 122 wRC+.

Hoskins isn’t known as much of a defender at first base, regularly grading out as a below average glove at the position. Though 2022 was one of his better years. Defensive runs saved (+3) and UZR/150 (+0.8) both graded him out as an above-average defender, however, outs above average weren’t nearly as bullish, as that clocked him at -6, the worst mark of his career.

Still, Hoskins is a productive player even if his glove is far from the best. If worst comes to worst, the Pirates could always sub-in Alfonso Rivas or Jared Triolo late into games they are winning in order to give themselves the best defensive combination at first base. Adding Hoskins would be adding a massive middle of the order bat. Imagine a healthy Hoskins batting next to a healthy Oneil Cruz, with Bryan Reynolds and Ke’Bryan Hayes hitting in front of both.