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November 13, 2023

Phillies rumor roundup: What's next for Rhys Hoskins?

Rhys Hoskins' Phillies tenure appears over. Aaron Nola's hitting the free agency market. Here are the latest rumors about the Phils.

The stove hasn't quite heated up yet, but the Phillies do appear to be setting the stage for some significant moves as the winter meetings next month down in Nashville approach. 

So what's the latest on Rhys Hoskins, Aaron Nola, and more?

Here's the latest rundown of what's been going around the rumor mill...

Rhys Hoskins

With club president Dave Dombrowski announcing that Bryce Harper will be the Phillies' full-time first baseman going forward, that, in turn, signaled that Hoskins is more than likely headed elsewhere, and the Chicago Cubs might be one of the immediate teams to have an eye on him. 

Per The Athletic's Patrick Mooney and Sahadev Sharma, the Cubs see Hoskins as "a good fit for their roster," given that they have an opening at first base and a need for a middle-of-the-order hitter. 

Hoskins definitely checks both of those boxes, but looking at it a little deeper, there could stand to be even more benefits for both parties.

On Hoskins' end, Cody Bellinger just revitalized his career on a one-year deal in Chicago, and it's within reason that he could do the same on a short-term contract coming back from his ACL tear, especially since Hoskins would be a right-handed power hitter regularly working with that shallow left field in Wrigley. 

On the Cubs' side, they were in the Wild Card race until stalling out at the very end. Hoskins has been there with the Phillies – many times – until they finally made that breakthrough last season. He would bring that experience and wisdom into Chicago's clubhouse on how to take that last step into October. 

Of course, there's always the possibility that, in the end, Hoskins stays put in Philadelphia for a bit longer. Dombrowski didn't outright dismiss that idea when he told reporters last week that Harper is the Phillies' first baseman now. 

However, that prospect only seems to grow slimmer the closer we inch toward the winter meetings next month. 

Aaron Nola

The same can be said of Nola right now too. He's expected to have long-term offers pushing the $200 million range, but the Phillies have been a lot more forward about wanting to keep their longtime starting pitcher around. 

It's more of a matter though of whether the Phillies will ultimately be willing to match any potential big-time offer from another club after they failed to work out an extension with Nola prior to this past season. 

Everyone needs starting pitching, and Nola and the Phils both know that. 

Here's MLB Network insider Jon Morosi's current read of the situation from Friday:

"I don't get the sense that the Phillies and Nola are at all close on a reunion. In fact, I think it's quite the opposite. Aaron's going to probably move around, shop around a little bit, see what the offers are like, and then circle back to the Phillies.

"The Phillies know him. Nola knows the Phillies. The relationship there is strong, but I do think that there is at least a very reasonable chance – probably even better than 50/50 – that he'll get a stronger offer elsewhere. The question is just going to come down to the final day: do the Phillies match it or not?" [MLB Network]

It's again worth noting though that should Nola leave, the Phillies won't be entirely without other options for a No. 2 starter. Blake Snell, Sonny Gray, and Jordan Montgomery are all quality starters who are also looking for new contracts this winter and could be suitable alternatives if there proves no way of bringing Nola back. 

Nick Castellanos

Castellanos was the subject of sudden trade rumors late last week, but ESPN's Buster Olney has since reported that the Phillies have no intentions of moving him. 

Look, there's still frustration in how the NLCS ended for the Phils, and Castellanos' 0-for-23 drought to end the postseason run exacerbated that. 

But the idea of trading him away after that is a stretch. 

For starters, he has three years and $60 million remaining on the $100 million contract he signed ahead of the 2022 season. That is money and term not so easily moved right now – in general much less for a potential upgrade.

But on top of that, yeah, he had a bad series against Arizona, but he was also a major reason the Phillies beat the Braves in the NLDS to get to them, was much better this past season over a struggle of a year prior, and for a while in the early going when not much else was working, was one of the Phils' most consistent bats, which went on to get him an All-Star nod. 

It was an awful way to end a season with World Series-or-bust expectations, hair-pulling too as he chased a ton within a lineup that was rapidly chasing every breaking ball away the Diamondbacks threw, but Castellanos still brings value to the Phils' lineup that maybe shouldn't be dismissed so quickly. 

The playoffs stung. It still hurts for many, and so many things could've gone differently. But do the Phillies even get to that point to begin with if Castellanos isn't there?

Mike Trout

Just stop it. 

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