Pending free agents Nola, Hoskins express desire to return to Phils

October 25th, 2023

PHILADELPHIA -- and talked late Tuesday night about their Phillies careers, what might have been and what might come next.

It might have been their last time together in the Phillies' clubhouse as teammates.

They did not expect to talk about these things so soon. They hoped it could wait until after a parade down Broad Street. But after the Phillies stunningly lost four of their last five games to the D-backs in the NL Championship Series, including a heartbreaking 4-2 loss in Game 7, it was time.

“Hope I’m back next year,” Nola said. “Guys come in and out, right? You form relationships and you make good friends each year. New guys come in. You form that bond. No team’s the exact same. That’s the hard part about the business, right?”

Nola and Hoskins are the two longest-tenured Phillies in the organization. Nola was the seventh overall pick in the 2014 MLB Draft. Hoskins was selected in the fifth round in 2014. Both will be free agents after the World Series. Neither is guaranteed to return. Nola, 30, is expected to seek a multiyear deal worth more than $200 million. And why wouldn’t he? The Yankees handed Carlos Rodón a six-year, $162 million contract last offseason. Nola has been a better and more durable pitcher over the years. Nola’s 30.4 WAR from 2017-23 is third best in baseball behind Max Scherzer (37.0) and Gerrit Cole (32.3), according to Baseball Reference.

Philadelphia wants him back, but he will be in high demand.

Hoskins, 30, is in a different situation. He missed the entire season recovering from ACL surgery in March. He hoped to make the World Series roster, although nobody will know if it would have happened or not.

But Hoskins’ return to the Phillies is more complicated because it likely depends on where Bryce Harper plays next year. If Harper stays at first base, Hoskins’ path is blocked, unless Philadelphia wants to return Kyle Schwarber to left field so Hoskins can DH. If Harper returns to right field, Hoskins could play first again. But, in that scenario, how can the Phillies’ outfield coexist with Harper, Schwarber, Nick Castellanos, Brandon Marsh and Johan Rojas?

One could DH, but not all of them.

“If there’s ways for me to be back, then I’m sure the people that make those decisions will find ways for me to be back.” Hoskins said. “I’ve said this all along and I’ll say it again, but I would love to be back here. This is a team that has a ton of fun. We’ve seen that all year long. They’re fun to play with. They’re competitive as hell. And we have a chance to win the World Series every year here with this group. That doesn’t exist around all of baseball, and that’s something that is important for me as a competitor.”

Hoskins had spent the past few weeks working out in Clearwater, Fla., trying to get ready for a possible appearance in the World Series. He flew to Philadelphia on Tuesday. His flight landed at 6 p.m., and he drove straight to the ballpark.

It was important for him to be there.

“I’m a sports fan,” Hoskins said. “I like Game 7s. But, you know, obviously just to take this scene in at least one more time was also at the top of my list. … Everybody just wants to be part of something bigger than themselves, right? And this team was clearly that. It's a group of guys that, I think, [are] destined to be great. And we were. We just came up short tonight.”

Nola was 3-0 with a 0.96 ERA in his first three starts this postseason. He allowed four runs in 4 1/3 innings on Monday night in a Game 6 loss. He had hoped for another shot.

If it was Nola’s final start for the Phillies, he was asked what he was most proud of.

"Probably how far we’ve gone,” Nola said. “It was a rebuilding era when I came up and all the guys who were here for a while -- [who] won the World Series and all the playoffs all those years -- they were kind of heading out. We headed into the rebuilding stage. I didn’t know any better, right? I was just trying to make a name for myself and stay in the big leagues and try to do my best. I started making moves. It started to feel really real. I think just the progress. The progress is what I'm most proud of. Seeing the guys come to the organization and how welcoming they are, and the will to win."

Said Hoskins: “Just watching something grow is an incredible thing. To be a part of that in some sort of way, it's easy to be proud of.”