Phillies: Scott Kingery unlikely to have set role in 2021

Scott Kingery #4 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Scott Kingery #4 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

While the Philadelphia Phillies officially re-signing star shortstop Didi Gregorius to a two-year deal this week was great for the team, it was really a “curse in disguise” for Scott Kingery.

Gregorius’ return means he will assume most of the team’s innings at the shortstop position. Therefore, Jean Segura — who likewise is still under contract through at least 2022 — has the “upper hand” for the second base job. What playing time in the middle infield does that leave for Kingery? According to manager Joe Girardi, he will have to “fight” for it.

“I think Jean definitely has the upper hand [at second base]. Jean played really well there,” Girardi recently told reporters. “With the addition of Didi, that’s kind of our plan. Jean is going to play second base and Scott is going to fight for his playing time all over the field, in a sense.”

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Kingery may be the odd man out to land a set infield role, but the Phillies still appreciate the value his versatility brings to the 26-man roster.

“He allows us to give guys days off. We can move him around and hoped last year to get him to one position, but it just never happened because he got sick and was never the player we thought he would be — probably because of COVID,” said Girardi. “Then he hurt his shoulder and back. There were a lot of things he went through last year.”

The Phillies have high hopes for Scott Kingery in 2021.

“[This season,] we’re looking for a healthy Scott Kingery to make a huge impact all around the diamond,” the Phillies skipper continued. “I really believe that he’s capable of doing that.”

The three-year veteran can also play all three outfield positions, as well as third base to spare Alec Bohm time off when necessary. The opportunities are seemingly endless for Kingery to fill in. He just will not be penciled in every day in a spot position, such as the days of Jimmy Rollins at shortstop and Chase Utley at second base.

“Scott can fill in a lot of different places,” said Girardi. “Say you give Rhys [Hoskins] a day off, you could move Alec to first, put Jean at third and put Scott at second. Say you give Didi a day off, you could possibly put Jean at short put and Scott at second.”

“There’s going to be plenty of at-bats for Scott Kingery if he produces the way that he’s capable. And, he could play center field,” Girardi continued. “When Scotty came back, I thought his at-bats were a lot better and some of those were in center field.”

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