While the Phillies may be separated physically, they are still keeping in close contact virtually and are thinking ahead to a potential 2020 season.
New Philadelphia Phillies manager Joe Girardi may have had just a few weeks of exhibition games under his belt before spring training was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Yet, the 2009 World Series-winning skipper is keeping his team well-prepared for a potential season that, if agreed upon, would likely begin this summer.
“We’ve had a ton of Zoom calls like everybody else,” Girardi shared with Jack Curry of YES on how he is keeping up the communication with his players and staff. “We’ve done it as a huge group, where we had 125 people on the call, [and] we’ve done it as smaller groups where we broke up into positions and into relievers [and] starters.”
Girardi says each Phillies coach, trainers, and strength coaches have also kept in close contact with their respective group of players
“I’m sure the players are probably tired from hearing from us because they have to stop what they’re doing, as opposed to if they hear from us at the ballpark we can randomly chat,” Girardi says. “We’ve kept up really well.”
While the Phillies are keeping in close contact, Girardi says he and his coaching staff, in particular, are already thinking ahead on possible 2020 season implications and how they could adapt.
“How do we see these changes affecting our club?” Girardi rhetorically told Curry. “We start talking about if there’s a DH, how does that affect our club? How does that affect our lineup? Those different types of things. If pitchers are only going three or four innings at the beginning, who do we think about taking for longer relief that helps us get through all this?”
Girardi has high hopes for his 2020 roster. He says he is excited about the talent the Phillies have, particularly their young talent, and how hard the team played on an everyday basis.
“Some of the young players played extremely well in spring training. The players were willing to adapt to changes,” he says. “The depth of some of our young pitchers … and we have an unbelievable stable of young left-handed pitchers, which is kind of unusual to have that many. We kept throwing one out there after another and I was extremely impressed.”
Also, the skipper says he was very pleased with Jean Segura, who did a “fantastic” job moving over to third base and took all the reps in spring training at the position. Then, Girardi went on to praise right fielder Bryce Harper:
“There was one situation where [Harper] stole second and stole third, and I looked at the third base coach and said, ‘This is spring training. Do not allow him to steal home. Let’s put the hold on him!'” Girardi says.
“I’ve been really pleased with how hard our guys have played.”