Philadelphia Phillies left fielder/first baseman Rhys Hoskins has hired Scott Boras, baseball’s most outspoken and well-known agent, according to Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia.
On the surface, it’s easy to think this won’t mean anything for the 25-year-old in the short-term. Hoskins won’t even become arbitration eligible until 2021, and can’t be a free-agent until after 2023, his age-30 season. However, general manager Matt Klentak’s front-office has signed both Odubel Herrera and Scott Kingery to deals that bought out all of their arbitration years and gave the Phillies multiple club options after both player’s initial six seasons in the major leagues. At the time of each deal, both were seen as extremely team-friendly. It’s fair to say that under Boras’ representation, Hoskins likely won’t take a deal like that. Boras’ clients typically test free-agency and go to the highest bidder. Boras was Jayson Werth’s agent when Werth exited Philadelphia to join the Washington Nationals.
The good thing for the Phillies is that under-market deals like those issued to Herrera and Kingery could allow the Phillies to meet the asking-price of someone like Hoskins in the future, even if Aaron Nola and one or two elite free-agents are also under contract. Hoskins will also be entering his age-31 season when he reaches free-agency, so it’s not a given that the Phillies will want to re-sign him at that juncture. Time will tell.
Much has been made of Hoskins signing with Boras, who also represents impending free-agent Bryce Harper. Does this mean anything? Not really. Jake Arrieta is represented by Boras as well. Arrieta didn’t join the Phillies because Vince Velasquez is also represented by Boras (something Salisbury noted in his article). He signed with the Phillies because they offered him a deal with an average annual value of $25 million. Harper’s market will likely be deeper than Arrieta’s was, but money is going to play a pretty giant role in his free-agent decision. Harper – who already has an established relationship with Hoskins, having played against him and competed against him in the Home Run Derby – isn’t going to suddenly find the Phillies more intriguing because Hoskins is now represented by Boras.
In his first full major league season, Hoskins has slashed .250/.358/.499 with 31 home runs, 91 RBIs and a 24.5 offensive WAR. Though Hoskins has impressed offensively in 2018, he’s also graded out as the worst qualified fielding left fielder. It’s not clear if the 25-year-old will remain in the outfield past 2018.
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