Phillies fire pitching coach Chris Young; Kapler still undecided
The Phillies have made their first major coaching decision of the offseason.
Phillies first year pitching coach Chris Young will not return as the club’s pitching coach, according to MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki. Young could potentially stay within the organization, though that potential role has not been determined.
Philadelphia now stands without a pitching or hitting coach after the firing of John Mallee midseason and the leave of temporary hitting coach Charlie Manuel.
Meanwhile, the status of manager Gabe Kapler remains up in the air as owner John Middleton weighs the opinions of several voices outside the organization.
Young started with the Phillies as an assistant for the 2018 season and was hired to replace Rick Kranitz going into the 2019 season.
According to Meghan Montemurro of The Athletic (subscription required), the Phillies ” risked relationships for the constant pursuit of a competitive edge” when they replaced Kranitz with Young last offseason.
Compared to 2018 the Phillies pitchers opposing batting average was up 12 points in 2019 and they allowed 87 more home runs. The 258 home runs allowed by Phillies pitchers were the second-most in the National League behind the elevated conditions in Colorado.
Furthermore, the development of young arms like Vince Velasquez, Nick Pivetta, and Zach Eflin never materialized under Young.
The decision to go with Young over Kranitz, who is leading a very successful Braves staff, was a vote of confidence in the way Kapler and general manager Matt Klentak envisioned the organization’s path. With Young and Mallee out, it’s another black eye on both men as their jobs hang in the balance.
Four unnamed coaches have been retained by the organization despite the status of Kapler being known, according to The Atheltic. It’d be a good bet that first base coach Paco Figueroa is back after he was lauded for improving the team’s defense and base running. Third base coach Dusty Wathan helped develop many of the team’s young players in Lehigh Valley and has been touted with having tremendous relationships with players like Rhys Hoskins.
For now, the clock ticks on the Phillies as Kapler continues to walk into Citizens Bank Park planning for next season, and potentially a search for new coaches.