Dave Dombrowski revealed the inevitable during an interview with MLB Network Wednesday – Bryce Harper will be the Phillies full-time first baseman going forward and Kyle Schwarber will be the primary designated hitter.

That means Rhys Hoskins’ time as a Phillie is practically over.

“We absolutely think the world of him and (Hoskins’ wife) Jayme,” Dombrowski told a group of reporters Wednesday at the GM Meetings in Arizona, adding that he talked to Hoskins on Sunday to tell him about the team’s decision to move Harper to first base permanently. “They’re just wonderful people. They’ve done so much for the community. I don’t want to 100 percent close any doors or that type of thing, but I would say, when he looked at the situation, he understood.”

It’s unfortunate, because Hoskins is a better player than most people ever really gave him credit for being. He consistently ranked in the top half of the league statistically in terms of offensive production among first basemen.

For example, there are only 14 first basemen in baseball to amass at least 2,800 plate appearances since 2017 (with at least 50% of their games played at 1B). Hoskins is the only one of the 14 who didn’t play in 2023.

And yet, he ranks sixth among all of them in OPS:

  1. Freddie Freeman .943
  2. Paul Goldschmidt .895
  3. Matt Olson .876
  4. Pete Alonso .870
  5. Joey Votto .855
  6. Rhys Hoskins .846

That’s pretty good company.

Had he played in 2023, he likely would have been top five among them in home runs, walks and possibly even doubles. His OPS+ of 125, meaning he’s about 25% better than the league average batter, also ranks sixth.

These numbers are nothing to sneeze at.

He had his warts, too. He was definitely a streaky hitter in his time with the Phillies and defensively he was a bit of a butcher. But there are so few players in the sport who are special enough to have five tools in which they can be above league average, so you have to weigh the positives against the negatives, and Hoskins was still a net positive.

It had to be one of those hard decisions the team had to make to move forward, but it was the right thing to do.

As fun as the past two seasons has been for the Phillies, going deep into October twice, they have still come up short of the ultimate prize.

And while it’s not easy to win a championship in any one season, it does become harder and harder to do with each passing year. Your core group of players get a year older. New injuries occur. Player production changes. Roster modifications are needed and as a management group putting it all together, you are hoping you have enough to get where you want to go – and that’s back in the World Series and winning it this time.

You also have to keep in mind that this window didn’t just open last October. It’s been going on at least five seasons now.

That’s how long you’ve had Harper as a Phillie. We don’t need to look back, but it’s safe to say that before era of Spotify play lists, locker room celebrations, good vibes and standing ovations, 2019, 2020, and 2021 were monumental disappointments for this organization.

2024 brings about the sixth year in this era, and while the last two have been good, without the ultimate prize, after some time, change is necessary if you want to keep taking a crack at it.

So, waving adios to Hoskins, who always should be remembered fondly for his time here, as a homegrown team leader, is a necessity.

There could be similar necessities on the horizon as well. Namely with Aaron Nola out there as arguably the top free agent pitcher, and rumors circulating that the Phillies could trade Nick Castellanos.

While the Phillies will actively be trying to bring Nola back, another team could make him an offer so rich that the Phillies would likely have to pass.

As for Castellanos, it’s easy to say move on from him because he still has way too much swing and miss and chase in his at bats, but you aren’t trading Castellanos for another outfielder. You likely would only move him for an established starting pitcher to replace Nola, and even that is questionable.

Let’s say you trade Castellanos to Milwaukee for Corbin Burnes or Cleveland for Shane Bieber and then sign a free agent outfielder, like Jorge Soler or Teoscar Hernandez. Are the Phillies actually improved over Nola and Castellanos? Is that lateral? Or a step back?

The odds are probably more in favor of lateral/step backwards than step forward, but time will ultimately tell.

The reality is, the shape of the 2024 Phillies will seem familiar, but certainly nowhere close to the same as it’s been in the last two seasons.

And extricating Hoskins from that contour is just the beginning.