Hoskins 'excited' for new opportunity with Brewers

February 25th, 2024

PHOENIX -- sent agent Scott Boras into the offseason with a mission: Find me a winner. That made Milwaukee an ideal landing spot.

“We do a lot of winning here,” Hoskins said as Spring Training commenced. “I’m excited to be part of that. At the end of the day, it is about winning.”

Hoskins left the only organization he had known when he signed a two-year, $34 million free agent deal to move from Philadelphia to join the Brewers this winter, and it is clear that the Phillies understand both what they are losing and what Milwaukee is gaining.

“Anytime you get a player like that,” Bryce Harper told MLB.com, “a franchise player that goes somewhere else, one of the guys that is loved in this clubhouse, loved in the community … he’s done so much for the city of Philadelphia, as a whole. He and [his wife] Jayme are just two great individuals.

“So, seeing him go is definitely tough. But as a career, I wish him the best. And we all do here. We want to see him do great things in Milwaukee. He deserves what he got, and we're excited for him.”

“Philly to Milly," as Jayme tweeted when the deal was announced in late January.

Hoskins is well aware of the Brewers’ recent success -- five postseason appearances and a combined 100 games over .500 in the last six seasons -- and he said he admired their style from the other side.

“The Brewers play the game,” Hoskins said. “They are not just rolling out there and trying to out-mash people. Trying to go first to third. Bunting. Sacrifice flies. Pushing runs across early in games.

"That’s usually a pretty good brand of baseball, and that has led to some consistent winning here. Those extra outs and that extra 90 feet can be the difference in a big game. I’ve really only had a certain number of voices in my ear for my professional career. So looking forward to what else I can learn, what new I can learn.”

Hoskins, who spent 10 years in the Phillies’ organization after being their fifth-round pick in the 2014 draft, may be slow-played early this spring after missing the 2023 season due to a torn ACL in his left knee suffered in Spring Training.

"I think all systems are go, but let's be smart about how we do it,” manager Pat Murphy said earlier this spring. “There's no rush; we've got 30 [Spring Training] games. We want him to play his normal amount, but we've got to be cautious going in.”

Hoskins’ bat made an early appearance. He homered on the third pitch he saw from Freddy Peralta in a live at-bat Saturday morning, a drive onto the berm in left-center field at American Family Fields of Phoenix.

Hoskins has 148 homers in his six seasons, and his acquisition adds pop to a lineup around catcher William Contreras and left fielder Christian Yelich. Hoskins had 30 homers in 156 games in 2022 after hitting 27 in only 107 games in 2021.

“I think I’m just learning more about what it is like to be a professional hitter,” he said. “I’ve also learned as I’ve gone in this game, the more you try for power, the less power that usually shows up.

“It’s just fine-tuning, honing in on what it takes to be a good hitter in this league first. Getting good pitches to hit, getting myself in good counts, and then kind of letting it happen.”

Hoskins will be the primary first baseman, but he also provides an option at DH, enabling Murphy to mix and match with Contreras, Hoskins, Gary Sánchez and others.

Hoskins has played at least 153 games in three of the last four non-COVID seasons, and said, “I don’t see any reason why I can’t get there this year."

As far as a role, “I would rather be on the field, but I understand the value of being fresh later in the year. Especially coming off an injury, so as long as I get to walk four or five times to the box, I’ll be all right.

“I like to be around good players, and it seems like we have a pretty good group of players here.”