Fair or not, this may be the end of Rhys Hoskins' Phillies career
Rhys Hoskins has possibly played his last game in a Phillies uniform.
First and foremost, all the best to Rhys Hoskins as he recovers from his impending knee surgery — to regain a sense of normalcy in his life and then make an impactful return to the baseball diamond. That return, however, in no way should be with the Philadelphia Phillies.
With the Phillies already facing the tough decision of what to do with Hoskins — a free agent after the 2023 season — the torn ACL he suffered on Thursday effectively made the decision for them. It's extremely unfortunate, and the team will deeply feel the loss of Hoskins this season, but the Phillies have been afforded some degree of clarity going forward at first base — along with the luxury of taking his would-be salary for 2024 and beyond and delegate it elsewhere.
For the upcoming 2023 season, the Phillies have several options on how to deal with first base. These aren't necessarily superior to simply having a healthy Hoskins for 150-plus games, but the club will have the opportunity to formulate a long-term plan based on how things shake out this year. Had Hoskins turned in his typical season, that would not have been the case.
The current course of action is letting Darick Hall have most playing time at first base to see what the Phillies have. He's not exactly a latter-day Ryan Howard, but it's worth a try. At the same time, Dave Dombrowski can keep an eye toward a long-term solution — which might involve moving Alec Bohm across the infield and then addressing third base. Either way, the situation is much less murky than if the question of "will they or won't they extend Hoskins" hung over the entire 2023 season.
It's an admittedly a cold way to look at things, but it certainly seems we will all be forced to move on — no matter our feelings about Hoskins. At the same time, even the Hoskins detractors would have preferred he put up a monster 2023 season rather than seeing things end so decisively.
As for Hoskins' future, the hope is he will be sufficiently recovered in time to at least garner a 2024 spring training invite. There is no doubt that he would catch on somewhere given a clean bill of health, and he could probably use a one-year "prove-it" contract as a springboard for a multi-year deal — although one that will probably pale in comparison to what he potentially could have eaned with a big 2023 performance. It's not likely that Hoskins' MLB career is in true jeopardy at age 30, but nothing can be taken for granted, of course.
From his sensational debut in 2017 to his clutch home runs in the 2022 postseason, there was a lot to like about Hoskins' Phillies tenure. And even when you chip away at the good parts by talking about striking out too much and having suspect defense, Hoskins was still a net positive for this team.
Beyond this, Hoskins was highly regarded in the clubhouse and was an upstanding citizen during his Phillies tenure. Hoskins the man — not just the player — should be properly recognized for the integrity that he brought while representing this team across his nearly 3,000 trips to the plate, more than 5,600 innings in the field, and every moment between. Let this be his Phillies legacy above any imperfections in his game that people may take him to task for.
Not everyone goes out on top or on their own terms. Sadly, for Hoskins, his time here has seemingly ended not with a bang — but with a whimper.