This offseason will be centered around Shohei Ohtani not only for the Los Angeles Angels, but for plenty of other teams around Major League Baseball. While the Angels hope to retain their superstar, there's a good chance he'll be wearing another uniform on Opening Day.
In the event that Ohtani does leave, the Angels would greatly benefit from adding another bat to their lineup. Nobody can replace Ohtani's production, but the Angels can't just run things back without him when their offense was already just average with him.
Thanks to a position switch the Philadelphia Phillies just made with Bryce Harper, it's possible that the Angels might have a very real Ohtani replacement waiting in the wings.
Bryce Harper moving to first base could make Rhys Hoskins a realistic Shohei Ohtani replacement
The Phillies announced that Bryce Harper is making the full-time transition from the outfield to first base. Harper played some first base last season after undergoing Tommy John Surgery, but with the Phillies already having a full outfield a position switch to the infield does make some sense. This doesn't completely rule out a Rhys Hoskins reunion in Philadelphia, but with Kyle Schwarber penciled in as the team's DH, it certainly makes it unlikely that he's going to return.
With Hoskins likely leaving, he's a player the Angels should absolutely consider on a one or two-year deal if Ohtani does leave. When last seen in 2022 Hoskins hit 30 home runs and had a 123 OPS+ helping the Phillies win the NL Pennant. Hoskins of course missed the entire 2023 season after tearing his ACL in Spring Training.
By adding Hoskins, the Angels would be adding a player who draws a ton of walks and can hit 30 home runs rather easily. He's hit at least 27 in all four of his complete 162-game seasons (excluding the shortened 2020 season). No, it's not the 44 Ohtani hit, and he won't hit at a .300 clip, but a Hoskins deal could wind up being a bargain with his value being as low as it is. Worst case, if the team is not competitive, they can trade him at the deadline and recoup some value.
This is the kind of low-risk high-reward move good teams make. If an Ohtani return is off the table, it's something Perry Minasian should really consider.