One of the big questions coming into the Phillies’ off-season was the future of Bryce Harper, Rhys Hoskins, and first base.
You see, MLB rules stipulate that only one person can play first base at a time. It would be against the rules and (let’s be honest) inadvisable to have two players play the same position at once. Imagine Harper and Hoskins fighting over who would field a specific grounder, or colliding with one another covering first base, and don’t get me started on MLB’s ancient rules forbidding more than one player to hit in the lineup playing the same position.
It would be chaos!
So, the Phillies had to make a choice. After Harper more than ably learned how to play the position in a matter of months, would it be him at that spot long-term, or would he return to right field, allowing the possibility of Hoskins to return. This week at the GM Meetings, we got our answer.
So, it’s Harper. And while I believe that is the right decision, it does have a painful consequence.
Rhys Hoskins’ career with the Phillies is almost certainly over.
None of this is ending the way anyone expected or hoped. Hoskins was supposed to play his final season in Philadelphia as part of a pennant-winning group, just like he did in 2022. But the baseball angels can sometimes be cruel, and when Hoskins’ ACL tore fielding a simple ground ball near the end of spring training back in March, Hoskins was forced to watch his teammates get to within one win of a return trip to the Fall Classic, when he might’ve been able to return.
When Hoskins first arrived from the minors in August of 2017, he was billed as a solid young power hitter. And boy, oh boy, he sure didn’t disappoint, hitting a record-setting 18 dingers in his first 34 games in the big leagues.
While Hoskins would never recapture that ridiculous kind of groove again, he would go on to produce 148 bombs during his first six seasons. He hit 30 or more homers twice and led the league in walks in 2019. And even though he never made an All Star team and never received MVP votes, he was one of the straws that always stirred the drink in Philadelphia.
No one was more emotional after the Phillies finally ended their 11-year postseason drought in 2022 in Houston.
And he followed it up with a collection of postseason heroics that are etched in the legend of this franchise forever.
One of Hoskins’ best moments was his 2019 slow trot around the bases thanks to slamming a homer against the Mets — after being nearly beaned the day before. This is art.
Hoskins and his wife Jayme also ensconced themselves in the community with their philanthropic outreach and engagement with the fans. Jayme on more than one occasion bought beers for entire sections of the ballpark during the playoffs.
They were a perfect match for this city and the fanbase.
In a perfect world, there would be a spot for Hoskins on the 2024 Phils and beyond. But the business of baseball can be cruel. Both front offices and players understand it is a business, and Hoskins will undoubtedly sign somewhere else before too long.
For Phillies fans, we say goodbye to a fan favorite, a lock as a future Wall of Famer when his career is said and done.
In the meantime, we remember the good moments and send fond wishes to the player who helped launch this new era of Phillies baseball.