After setting the baseball world on fire and coming just two wins shy of a World Series title, the Philadelphia Phillies have gotten off to a very slow start in 2023. At 25-28 the Phillies are 6.5 games back of the first place Braves in the National League East, and have been among the most disappointing teams in all of baseball.
I get it. Bryce Harper missed substantial time, Ranger Suarez finally came back, Rhys Hoskins is done for the year, but this team should be much better than they are.
There's still plenty of season left, and as we saw last season anything can change in an eyeblink, but that doesn't excuse fans from wanting change. If this season continues to get out of hand, changes might just be made with Philies personnel.
Philadelphia Phillies pitching coach Caleb Cotham should be fired
While the Phillies offense has certainly underperformed relative to expectations, there're reasons to believe that group will bounce back. Eventually guys like Trea Turner, J.T. Realmuto, and Kyle Schwarber will find their consistent swings, and once that happens, they'll be just fine on that end.
Kevin Long is one of baseball's best and most-proven hitting coaches out there, he shouldn't be going anywhere. One who should go somewhere is pitching coach Caleb Cotham.
It's obviously not all his fault, but who outside of Matt Strahm and Jose Alvarado has pitched better than the backs of their baseball cards might indicate? The staff is supposed to be led by Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola, both of whom have had down years. Nola especially has been mostly dreadful for the Phillies.
Taijuan Walker has been better of late but has been a massive disappointment in his first season with the club, posting an ERA of 5.57. Ranger Suarez since returning from the IL has an ERA approaching 10.00 in his three starts. Bailey Falter was so terrible to the point where he was sent down to the minors. The rotation was supposed to be a huge strength for this team, but they have a 5.02 ERA as a group.
While Craig Kimbrel and Gregory Soto have been mostly victimized by some brutal outings, they both have ERA's approaching 6.00. The bullpen has been better than the starters have, but they're far from perfect also.
The Phillies have never been above average in staff ERA under Cotham and while some of that is on Dombrowski for not giving him great pieces, the staff is more talented this season than it has been in the other two years of Cotham's tenure, yet their staff ERA is the highest its ever been.
It's unfair to blame only Cotham, but he's an easy scapegoat. If the pitching doesn't improve, he needs to go. Something has to change.