December 2, 2023

An abrupt ending: Hoskins tears ACL in exhibition game, to be out for remainder of season


Dave Nelson/USA TODAY

Thursday was supposed to be a very exciting day at Phillies Spring Training—stars Trea Turner, J.T. Realmuto, and Kyle Schwarber returned to Clearwater after three impressive performances in the World Baseball Classic.

However, the good vibes came to a screeching halt once Rhys Hoskins’ knee buckled as he was backing up on a groundball in the top of the second inning of the Phillies’ Spring Training game against the Tigers on Thursday afternoon. Unable to get up, he was carted off the field by paramedics.

Following the game, the Phillies announced that Rhys Hoskins suffered a tear in his ACL during the play, sidelining him for the remainder of Spring Training and the rest of the regular season. In the past, we have seen some players come back from an injury similar to this one in less than eight months, but it is quite a rarity. Schwarber did it with the Cubs in 2016, but Hoskins has an extensive injury history—especially concerning to his knees—making him an unlikely candidate for this type of bounceback.

“It’s really unfortunate for him, for us,” Phillies’ president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said. “I feel terrible for him.”

Clearly, this adds an unexpected piece to the Phillies’ picture heading into 2023. Now, Dombrowski and the front office have a myriad of decisions to make with less than a week before Opening Day. While the team feels comfortable with Darick Hall as the team’s primary first baseman, there are still other first basemen who the Phillies could potentially try to work out a deal with.

Darin Ruf, who, unlike Hall, mashes left-handed pitching, could be a potential trade target for the Phillies. The Brewers, even, could ship Keston Hiura or Luke Voit to Philadelphia in exchange for a role player or prospect.

Evidently, there is no clear path.

If the Phillies wish to stay in-house, the likely option is moving Alec Bohm to first base and having Edmundo Sosa fill in at third, allowing Darick Hall to serve as the designated hitter. Or, Nick Castellanos could DH, Hall could play first, and Jake Cave—who has an impressive .426/.471/.809 slash line in 47 at-bats this spring—could fill the hole in right field.

Sticky situation, eh? Regardless, Darick Hall is ready to contribute: “I feel like I’m ready to step up and help this team and have a major role.”

Another burning question, or, perhaps, the “elephant in the room” is Rhys Hoskins’ future in Philadelphia. After 2023, Hoskins is set to become a free agent, hitting the open market for the first time in his six-year major-league career. With the lack of extension talks over the last few months, many are under the impression that Hoskins’ time in red pinstripes is over. And quite frankly, that is the most likely of scenarios.

He has been an above-average first baseman since his debut in 2017, but his offensive inconsistencies and injury history over the last few seasons have led many to question his sustainability. In 2022, Hoskins hit 30 home runs and had a .794 OPS in 156 games. Hoskins should receive a healthy paycheck this offseason, but a blank stat 2023 won’t do him any favors, potentially putting a wrap on his time in Philadelphia.

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