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Hoskins lays out Phils' sales pitch for top FAs

Slugger: Club's talent, upward trajectory make Philly appealing landing spot
MLB.com @ToddZolecki

DENVER -- Rhys Hoskins has a sales pitch, if he is ever asked to make one.

Hoskins and the Phillies are wrapping up a once-promising season. The Phillies' 5-3 loss Thursday afternoon to the Rockies at Coors Field capped an 0-8 road trip, tying the second-worst road trip in franchise history. It dropped the Phillies to 6-19 (.240) this month and 15-33 (.313) since Aug. 5, when they had the second-best record in the National League. There is concern among fans that the Phillies' collapse and manager Gabe Kapler's unconventional stylings might make free agents reluctant to come to Philadelphia.

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DENVER -- Rhys Hoskins has a sales pitch, if he is ever asked to make one.

Hoskins and the Phillies are wrapping up a once-promising season. The Phillies' 5-3 loss Thursday afternoon to the Rockies at Coors Field capped an 0-8 road trip, tying the second-worst road trip in franchise history. It dropped the Phillies to 6-19 (.240) this month and 15-33 (.313) since Aug. 5, when they had the second-best record in the National League. There is concern among fans that the Phillies' collapse and manager Gabe Kapler's unconventional stylings might make free agents reluctant to come to Philadelphia.

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The concerns are not based in reality, because money almost always matters most. It is rare for a player to turn down greater financial security because of a poor finish or a manager or a ballpark or a city.

Kapler soliciting Phillies for ways to improve for 2019

But in the event of a tiebreaker, other factors can matter. Hoskins made his case to break those hypothetical ties.

"First and foremost, I would focus on what's inside this clubhouse," said Hoskins, who shares agent Scott Boras with Nationals superstar Bryce Harper. "I think there's a lot of talent. I've always thought that, I've always said that. We're young, but I think you can see the improvement from last year to this year. I don't think there's any reason to believe that's going to change next year. It's not going to happen again next year.

"Second, if you're a free agent, you have some experience. You've got at least six years in the league. I think if that guy likes the opportunity to take on some sort of leadership role as a veteran presence in a young clubhouse, I think that's something that could be exciting to someone. And as an athlete, if you get a chance to be a part of a turnaround from where this organization has been the past couple years and have a chance to do something pretty exciting for a good period of time, I think that's pretty attractive myself."

Free agents might ask questions about Kapler, who will return in 2019. Kapler had a rocky rookie season. He seemed to be on his way to losing the clubhouse the first week of the season only to recover and become a National League Manager of the Year Award candidate through early August. But since then he has been criticized and often blamed for the Phillies' historic fall.

"It's different," Hoskins said about life with Kapler. "I'm not going to lie to you and say it's not different. It's very unique. He's unlike any other manager I've ever been around. But there are things that happen here with him specifically and our staff that you're not going to get elsewhere. It's just the way he is. It's different. It's kind of hard to put into details, but he's had our back all year.

"It's unique."

So would somebody new like playing for him?

"One thing that stands out to Gabe is the way that he listens," Hoskins said. "If you think something the opposite of what he thinks, he's very willing to listen to what your opinion is and very open to changing his mind about it. Some of the things that Gabe does and the way he thinks are unique, but I can guarantee you that everything that is talked about in those rooms is thoroughly talked about from every single viewpoint.

"It's huge for players. He's not going to tell you, 'No, this is the way it's going and that's it, sorry.'"

Hoskins words matter because he is the face of the franchise. He is their best hitter. He is their most charismatic player. The Phillies could help Hoskins with a more positive, veteran presence in the clubhouse next season, particularly on the position-player side. There is first baseman Carlos Santana, as well as veterans acquired before and after July 31 like Asdrubal Cabrera, Wilson Ramos, Justin Bour and Jose Bautista. The latter four do not figure to have a long-term investment in the team, like Hoskins.

"The most experience you have in the clubhouse, the better," Hoskins said. "You have more information to lean on. You have different experiences, different viewpoints. I think the more resources you have in times of need, the better your chances of being successful."

Hoskins said being the go-to guy for the organization and media has not worn on him, even as he and the team have struggled at times.

"It's definitely been a learning experience," Hoskins said. "I mean, I feel like I've always welcomed it. I don't mind it. If it makes the rest of the guys in this clubhouse jobs easier to do on a day-to-day basis, I don't mind."

Maybe next year he will get some help. Maybe Harper. Maybe Manny Machado. Maybe others.

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Philadelphia Phillies, Rhys Hoskins