Rhys reflects: 'I’ll always be able to call Philly home'

January 29th, 2024

PHILADELPHIA -- said it is going to be emotional. It is going to be weird.

He has already thought about the June 3 series opener between the Phillies and Brewers at Citizens Bank Park. It will be his first game in Philly since he signed a two-year, $34 million contract with Milwaukee, officially ending his time as the Phillies’ longest-tenured position player. He spoke Monday afternoon on Zoom about his time in Philly and what he will miss most.

“People say this a lot about big changes in their life, but it’s the people,” Hoskins said. “Everybody that makes this machine of Major League Baseball go. Being involved and seeing familiar faces like I have for the last six, seven years, you just create relationships with people, and all of a sudden those will be different. I’m sure it won’t be the last time I see a lot of those same people. I hope not, just because I feel like I’ll always be able to call Philly home. But I’m excited for a new chapter and to revisit those memories when the time is right.”

The Phillies selected Hoskins in the fifth round of the 2014 Draft out of Sacramento State. From his debut on Aug. 10, 2017, through the end of the 2022 season, he ranked 12th in MLB in home runs (148) and 16th in RBIs (405). He ranked 38th out of 527 qualified players in OPS (.845), 43rd in slugging percentage (.492) and 53rd in on-base percentage (.353).

He helped the 2022 Phillies get to the postseason for the first time since 2011, and then to the World Series for the first time since 2009.

Along the way, he hit an iconic home run in the 2022 National League Division Series to help beat the Braves. You might have seen it.

Hoskins and his wife, Jayme, also made strong ties within the Philadelphia community, particularly with the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

“Hopefully, we’ll have some sort of lasting impact with the community, a couple different organizations that we were able to cultivate really, really strong relationships with,” Hoskins said. “Hopefully, lasting relationships. And then, at the end of the day, we’re playing a sport and the sport is all about winning. Some of those memories that we were able to make within the postseason run and trying to get there, ending a drought for any city … is something to hang your hat on and be proud of.

“To create more memories along that way is something that the team, and hopefully myself included, will be remembered for.”

Hoskins hoped for another run in 2023, but he tore his left ACL in late March to end his season. Bryce Harper moved to first base as a result, and he will continue to play there. That decision, along with the expectation that Kyle Schwarber will be the everyday DH going forward, left Hoskins without a place to play in Philadelphia.

Phillies president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski called Hoskins shortly after Game 7 of the NL Championship Series to tell him the news.

“I’ve learned in this game it’s pretty easy to speculate on what can happen, but almost always you’re pretty wrong,” Hoskins said. “So, I tried not to go down that road and just let whatever was going to happen, happen. Super grateful for the transparency and [Dombrowski] being up front with me about which way they were going to go. I was able to set the offseason off on the right foot because of that.”

Hoskins passed his physical and signed his contract with the Brewers last Friday. Shortly thereafter, the Phillies posted a three-minute, 38-second tribute video. The Brewers made several social media posts, too. One of them included his iconic bat-spike home run against Atlanta in the 2022 NLDS.

But this time, as Hoskins spiked his bat into the dirt, his Phillies uniform turned into a Brewers uniform.

It got Phillies fans riled up. They consider that their moment -- one not to be tampered with.

“I can imagine that there’s a newfound competitive reason to be mad at each other or get after each other between Brewers and Phillies fans,” Hoskins said. “Hey, I’m all for the competitiveness. You know, a little fun goes a long way with those things.”

Hoskins hopes to have some fun in Philly in June. It is going to be emotional. It is going to be weird.

“But I think at the end of the day -- and I think Philly will be able to appreciate this -- is that ... I hope the Brewers win,” Hoskins said.