The Philadelphia Phillies President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski told reporters on Wednesday that Bryce Harper is going to be the team’s first baseman in 2024.
“We decided we’re going to play him at first base,” Dombrowski said, according to MLB.com‘s Todd Zolecki. “He’s happy to do whatever we wanted him to do. He said he’d play first base or the outfield. He feels great. But the more we talked about it internally, we liked the idea of playing him at first.”
Harper has not played the outfield since injuring his elbow early during the 2022 season. He underwent Tommy John surgery that winter, and was restricted to serving as the Phillies DH until July 21, when he played his first career game at first base.
Harper made 36 total appearances at first base through the end of the regular season. He played the entire postseason at first base.
Dombrowski said that the Phillies have informed free-agent Rhys Hoskins that Harper will play first base. With Kyle Schwarber likely being entrenched at DH, Hoskins’ time with the Phillies come to an end.
Harper moving to first base full time is the right decision for the Phillies, as this will save on the wear and tear on his body. It will also keep him from injuring his arm on long throws from the outfield.
Harper really first base and with his athletic ability and work ethic, he could turn into a Gold Glove type at the position.
The 31 year-old Harper batted .293 with 21 home runs and 72 RBI for the 2023 season. He remains one of the most feared hitters in all of baseball, as well as one the top players.
Phillies first baseman Bryce Harper. Photo courtesy of Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports