Just over a week after the Milwaukee Brewers inked free agent slugger Rhys Hoskins to a two-year, $34 million contract, the 2023 NL Central winners did an about-face, trading away ace starting pitcher Corbin Burnes in a fleecing by the Baltimore Orioles.
When the news broke on Thursday evening, Philadelphia Phillies fans could be forgiven if their first thoughts drifted toward wondering why on earth the Phillies front office wasn't involved in a trade for one of the preeminent pitchers in MLB for such a reasonable return. Perhaps someone should check on president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski to make sure he's okay.
Once the dust settled on Friday morning, and blood pressures had returned to normal, the next thought in Phillies-land turned to beloved former first baseman Hoskins. How is he feeling after committing to a team and then seeing one of the best pitchers in baseball head out the door?
It can't be good.
In his media conference following his signing, Hoskins made it clear he's excited to compete again. Obviously, after missing a full season, he just wants to get back on the field.
"I'll be stoked to get on the field," Hoskins said. "I'm pretty bored as a competitor, and I haven't played in so long."
"I think Milwaukee was always a great paper fit," Hoskins continued. "Having talked to a bunch of guys either on the team or that have played there in the past, it just fit even more so with the type of culture that they have and what I'm trying to accomplish as an athlete and as a competitor."
As excited as he is to compete again in 2024, Hoskins likely didn't expect to have to do it without Burnes.
In an interview just a few days ago on MLB Tonight, the 30-year-old spoke about being able to sit down and learn from his new teammates, including Burnes.
"[I'm looking forward to] learning from the guys in Milwaukee," Hoskins said. "You know, there's a former Cy Young [Burnes], a former MVP [Christian Yelich], all the talent in the world coming up from the minor leagues ... so really just eager to sit down and talk the game with those guys and learn as much as I can."
Now he'll have to wait until the Orioles come to town to even see Burnes.
Brewers GM says he wants to win this season. Does anyone buy that?
In an interview with Bally Sports Wisconsin, just two days before shipping his staff ace to the AL East, Brewers general manager Matt Arnold spoke about wanting to win this season.
"Look, we're trying to win as many games as we can here this year, and in the long run," Arnold said.
He probably gave Hoskins the same spiel.
"There are a lot of different paths that the offseason can take, we have to stay nimble, "Arnold continued. "I mean I think that's something that's important. When there are opportunities we want to try to strike, and adding veteran players here that help us this year, extending somebody like Jackson Chourio, that shows that we're committed to winning here long term."
Arnold probably didn't tell his new first baseman that one of those different paths would involve trading away Burnes. While he added a veteran in Hoskins, he also just gave away a Cy Young winner for peanuts. It's hard to convince anyone that you're honestly trying to win this season if you immediately turn around and deal your best pitcher.
While Hoskins is undeniably in a good situation for himself and his playing time — he has a real chance to improve his value for a future contract — it's hard to imagine he would have been as eager to join the Brewers had he known they'd be selling off their best arm two weeks before spring training.