Scott Kingery can’t fix his swing in the big leagues, so the Phillies send him to Triple-A.
They made the announcement Sunday afternoon ahead of their penultimate Grapefruit League game in Clearwater, Fla. It came as a surprise, although there have been indications in recent weeks that the Phillies are ready to pick him. The organization also opted for left-hander JoJo Romero at the Minor League camp, leaving the Phillies with just one left-hander in their eight-man box.
But who could have imagined Kingery there just three years ago? He dazzled everyone during spring 2018 training. Former manager Gabe Kapler lobbied for him to be part of the opening day roster. Former Phillies general manager Matt Klentak achieved this by signing Kingery to a six-year, $ 24 million contract before playing a round in the big leagues. But after three back-and-forth seasons in which he often jumped the infield and outfield with uneven playing time, Kingery came to camp hoping to get back to his roots. He wanted to give up his uppercut swing and use his speed.
The Phillies hoped he could be their daily center-back in 2021.
Kingery hit .159 (7-for-44) with three doubles, one homer, four marches, 19 strikeouts and a .525 OPS this spring. He quickly fell behind center field candidates Odúbel Herrera (.803 OPS in 47 at-bats), Roman Quinn (.792 OPS in 34 at-bats) and Adam Haseley (.833 OPS in 16 at-bats) . By the end of the camp, Kingery was just hoping to make the squad as a utility player.
The Phillies probably think Kingery can’t get on the right track if he doesn’t play every day without the pressures of performance. He can work on things out of the spotlight in Triple-A.
Romero had a 1.04 ERA in 8 2/3 innings, striking out eight and allowing nine hits, one run and four walks. He launched well. But after Phillies president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski told The Athletic on Saturday in Lakeland, Fla. That right-hander Vince Velasquez made the eight-man box, it essentially left Romero and right-hangers Sam Coonrod and David Hale competing for the final. two jobs.
Hale, like Velasquez, was out of options and can pitch multiple innings, which has given him an advantage as the Phillies lack pitching depth in the organization.
He left Romero vs Coonrod, who has a 1.08 ERA in 8 1/3 innings, striking out eight and allowing three hits, one run and three walks.
After the Phillies freed left-hander Tony Watson on Friday, José Alvarado is the lone left-hander in the relieving box. The rest of the enclosure includes right-handed Héctor Neris, Archie Bradley, Connor Brogdon, Brandon Kintzler, Coonrod, Velasquez and Hale.
The Phillies also switched to wide receiver Rafael Marchan and reassigned wide receiver Rodolfo Duran and outfielder Travis Jankowski to the Minor League camp. They released receiver Christian Bethancourt.