Are the Phillies' early problems as simple as a missing Rhys Hoskins?

In a predictable way, one of the talk-radio gurus covering the Philadelphia Phillies has decided to stir things up among the Philly faithful after another, patented, slow Phils start to a season. Could it be that the offensively loaded South Philly club has made an egregious mistake?
Milwaukee Brewers first baseman Rhys Hoskins wouldn't solve the Philadelphia Phillies' early season problems.
Milwaukee Brewers first baseman Rhys Hoskins wouldn't solve the Philadelphia Phillies' early season problems. / Stacy Revere/GettyImages

WIP midday co-host Joe Giglio, after a week’s play, has decided letting Rhys Hoskins go was an error because it allows, by falling dominoes, Johan Rojas to start. Rojas has had an especially slow start. For those not following the Philadelphia Phillies' moves with obsessive attention, were Hoskins here, he would have to play first. That would move Bryce Harper back to right field, Nick Castellanos over to left, and Brandon Marsh to center.

Considering the Phillies' slow offensive start, Giglio correctly points out that Hoskins’ good pitch selection as a hitter would be useful. He’s better at that than Trea Turner and, especially, Nick Castellanos.

It’s not as though this view is insane, but rather than pick over Giglio’s detailed argument further, let’s consider that this is a dead issue. It was decided last November. The team president announced it.

Why was that?

First and foremost, Harper is a top-five MLB hitter and player; Hoskins is not. He is a streaky power hitter who likes to see pitches. He walks a lot, but for the past several years, his walk figure has dropped from a high of 116 in 2019. Second, the Phillies waited to see whether Harper could actually play first base. He can.

Third, with Harper under contract until the Martians arrive (and he wants to stay even longer than that), his health is a paramount concern. Or as Dave Dombrowski said last fall, “He’s in a position where we think for his future it’s a great thing to do as he starts to age.”

This is unmemorable phrasing, but it is specific.

Fourth, Hoskins now has a repaired elbow and a repaired knee.

Would it have been wonderful to transfer his hot offensive start in Milwaukee into the Phillies' first week, replacing, say, Nick Castellanos? You bet, but…

Fifth, Hoskins can’t play the outfield, and sixth, he never really became a good MLB first baseman, despite a committed effort to do that.

Seventh, if Rojas can hit, who is the clear Phillies front-runner to play center really, really well? It’s Rojas. If the youngster only gets one hit next week, and only one the following week, well, OK. Maybe it’s time for him to become a better hitter in Allentown.

Marsh can play center field well. There are people on the bench who can play left, including Kyle Schwarber.

Damn, that’s number eight. That’s not a good idea. Use Whit Merrifield.

See, it’s all manageable.

Having Hoskins back wouldn’t fix the other Phillies not hitting.