Rob Thomson thinks the Phillies would be a better team with this one player who got away

The Phillies skipper says that having Rhys Hoskins back would make the team better this year, and we can't disagree.
Championship Series - Philadelphia Phillies v Arizona Diamondbacks - Game Seven
Championship Series - Philadelphia Phillies v Arizona Diamondbacks - Game Seven / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages

The Philadelphia Phillies look to be a bigger and stronger team heading into 2024 after the signing of Whit Merrifield, the re-signing of Aaron Nola, and a multitude of depth-related transactions. However, as promising as the team may be, manager Rob Thomson believes a missing piece could have made them that much better. What hurts even more was the fact that the missing piece was actually one that got away from the team.

In a recent interview on SportsRadio 94 WIP with Howard Eskin, Thomson expressed that he truly believes if Rhys Hoskins were still with the team, they would be even better than they are now. He further elaborated that it would have allowed for more mixing and matching, where they could play Bryce Harper and Nick Castellanos at DH instead of fixating them at their respective first base and corner outfield positions.

Hoskins had been with the Phillies throughout his MLB career before signing with the Milwaukee Brewers this offseason. He was certainly an offensive force in the lineup, averaging close to 30 home runs and 80 RBI per season. However, last season, Hoskins suffered a season-ending injury during spring training that wiped out his final year with the Phillies.

Over the course of 2023, the Phillies made adjustments to their everyday lineup and eventually settled with having Harper permanently at first base and Kyle Schwarber at DH. With that setup looking to continue into 2024, it put the writing on the wall for Hoskins, as those were his two main positions. However, if the Phillies really believed in his abilities, they would have found a way to work things out.

From Harper’s recent comments at spring training, he appeared to express interest in playing in the outfield — which could have opened back the spot for Hoskins — but management wanted him to play first. So he will follow what’s best for the ballclub.

"I wanted them [the organization] to know that I was on board with anything they wanted to do," Harper told media on Sunday. "If that was right field, if that was first base, and I told them that. ... As a collective, they said first base is where we want you, and I said, 'Okay, I'm going to do everything I can to be there.'"

Nevertheless, we have to agree with Thomson that having an extra bona fide power hitter in the lineup would have further enhanced their offensive attack for the upcoming season. Hopefully, the Phillies’ offseason moves will end up paying more than enough dividends to offset the loss of Hoskins.