The conversation was had and a decision was made: Bryce Harper will be the Phillies’ first baseman going forward.
Phillies president Dave Dombrowski confirmed the move to reporters on Wednesday at the MLB GM meetings in Scottsdale, Arizona, and also told them that Rhys Hoskins had been informed of the decision, which will likely end the longtime slugger’s career in Philadelphia means.
More on Harper’s full-time move to First via Todd Zolecki of MLB.com:
Dave Dombrowski said he spoke to Rhys Hoskins to tell him about the decision. Harper will be the everyday first baseman (he won’t play right field) and the Phillies view Kyle Schwarber as the primary DH, so Hoskins essentially has no room to play.
— Todd Zolecki (@ToddZolecki) November 8, 2023
By keeping Harper for now, the Phillies can build a stronger lineup. The DH spot will be freed up for Kyle Schwarber, who can focus solely on hitting, while Nick Castellanos can stay in right field while the more athletic Brandon Marsh and/or Cristian Pache/Johan Rojas line up in left and center (for now). .
However, this all seems to come at the expense of running out of room for Hoskins to play consistently, which was always an issue the Phillies would have to deal with at some point once Harper began learning the position to Hoskins’ absence to compensate for a torn cruciate ligament.
The point has finally come, and while the door isn’t quite closed on a Hoskins return, it looks like the situation will soon prompt him and the Phillies to both move on.
Dombrowski to reporter: “We’re thinking about Rhys and Jayme’s world. They are wonderful people who have done so much for the community. I don’t want to close doors 100%, but I would say that’s the situation.” He understood. If he is not with us again, we wish him nothing but the best.”
— Alex Coffey (@byalexcoffey) November 8, 2023
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