Long-time Phillies insider Jim Salisbury, who commands the respect of fellow journalists, players and club officials, reported a few days ago that the Phillies were in the market for a new Triple A manager.
Salisbury wrote: “The Phillies moved quickly in finding new leadership in their farm system as Preston Mattingly was named new director of player development in late September. He had spent the previous five years working for the San Diego Padres, first as manager of scouting and then as coordinator of major league advance scouting and game planning.” It isn’t any secret that the Phillies have one of the worst farm systems in the major leagues, and other insiders have reported that the disarray is due in part to having overdosed on analytics without effectively integrating that into good ol’ fashioned scouting and player development.
Yesterday when I settled into a seat next to the Javelinas’ dugout, I noticed that manager Anthony Contreras was decked out in Phillies gear instead of the Padres uniform he was wearing until then. I jokingly asked him if his stuff didn’t make it back from the cleaners yet and he told me that he just took the job as Phils’ triple A manager. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Preston Mattingly bring in more people with whom he’s interacted in the Padres’ minor league system.
Dave Dombrowski, President of Baseball Operations for the Phillies, was in attendance at the game yesterday in Peoria. Here he is, post-game, chatting with Phillies bullpen/catching coach Greg Brodzinski.
Connect the dots along with me. Salisbury also reported that longtime catching coordinator Ernie Whitt and minor league manager Pat Borders didn’t have their contracts renewed. Borders (pictured below on the top set of the dugout) managed the Phillies low A affiliate Williamsport Crosscutters for six seasons. Guess who that is hanging on the railing with his catcher’s mitt on? That’s right – it’s Greg Brodzinski as a coach on Borders’ staff.
As I noted yesterday, Brodzinski was promoted last year to be a bullpen/catching coach for the parent club. It seems curious that the Phillies would need two individuals to fill that role (Bob Stumpo holds the same position), and I’m guessing that Dave Dombrowski feels the same way. The Phils seem to think highly of Brodzinski, and he could be potentially in line for either Whitt’s position as catching coordinator in the System, or Borders’ job as the Crosscutters’ manager.
When Brodzinkski showed up in the Javelinas’ dugout I figured it was in his role as a catching coach to work further with Logan O’Hoppe (#26). That still may be the case, though he’s only 30 years old and it may be before offering him the catching coordinator or managerial position in the minors, he’ll move up in the system to join Contreras on the Iron Pigs’ staff in AAA. The wheels keep turning in the Fall League!
Speaking of which … the Javelinas finally made it to .500 yesterday, improving their record to 8-8-1 with a 10-5 win over the first place Surprise Saguaros. I admit that with their poor start to the AFL season, and the fast start by the Saguaros, I hadn’t given the Javelina’s much hope to win their Division. But there are 14 games left, and in a bit of drama the two teams play each in two of the final three games. The two first place teams in each of the two divisions play in the championship game on November 20.
As you can see from the box score, our budding star Logan O’Hoppe collected another base hit and walked twice, bumping his batting average to .319 and maintaining his OPS at a high level. Here was his solid base hit to left field for his 10th RBI of the AFL season.