Phillies Mailbag: Girardi’s Job, Bohm’s Glove, Herrera’s Return?
We are back once again with a 97.3 ESPN Phillies Mailbag. Each week we take your questions and answer them on The Sports Bash with Mike Gill. Ask your questions anytime on Twitter @FrankKlose.
When will Odubel Herrera be activated?
The Phillies seemed geared up to replace the injured Odubel Herrera this season. Former first overall pick Mickey Moniak seemed primed to thrive in center field for the first time. And then in the last exhibition game he broke his hand getting hit by a pitch.
Since then, center field has been a struggle, once again.
Matt Vierling came out of the gate hitting balls hard. But he has just three hits in 23 at bats, good for a .130 average. But with rushed Simon Muzziotti the only other option, Vierling has been playing a bit too much.
Herrera should return rather soon. On a minor league rehab assignment, Herrera went 7 for 19 with the Class A Clearwater Threshers, before moving to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. There, he is 4 for 8 in two games. Last night's game was rained out.
I doubt the Phillies would activate Herrera on the road in Colorado.
But after a much-needed day off on Thursday, I can see the Phillies activating Herrera for the next homestand, which kicks off against Milwaukee on Friday. It's a small minor league sample size, but Herrera seems to be hitting just fine. If his oblique is healed enough, there's no reason to keep Herrera in the minors.
How many errors at third base will Alec Bohm make before he loses his job there?
I would caution you, Paul, from assuming that Alec Bohm currently has the third base job. I think that Phillies manager Joe Girardi is cautious about playing Bohm at third base whenever a ground ball pitcher such as Zach Eflin or Zach Wheeler pitches. It is fair to say that Bohm's defense is a concern.
The last two Phillies telecasts have indicated that the Phillies are working with Bohm not just on the physical aspects of the game, but the mental aspects of the game. Yogi Berra once famously said, "The game's 90 percent half mental".
The "I hate it here" comments by Bohm I did not take so much to be a disregard for Philadelphia or its fans, but an indicator that the defense has somewhat gone to his head. After 15 errors at third base (and one at first base) in 2021, a lot of chatter this Phillies offseason was concern about the club's defense.
Perhaps Bohm has heard that.
And the worry about making a mistake can lead to poor performance on the field and then it can carry over to the plate. I think the Phillies are focused on minimizing the opportunity for miscues at third base, while giving Bohm some meaningful at bats along the way.
The three-error performance last week essentially meant that Phillies pitchers needed to get an entire extra inning's worth of outs. That is not sustainable.
But if Bohm can sustain his current bat - he is now hitting .571 - he will get some chances to prove that he belongs in the Phillies lineup. After all, with Jean Segura and Didi Gregorius becoming free agents after this season, they will need to fill two positions, and that's assuming Bryson Stott takes one.
The Phillies would love Bohm to take one of those positions.
How long of a leash does Joe Girardi have? Shouldn’t we be close to have seen enough already?
The Phillies are off to a 4-7 start in 2022. To me, it's much too soon to be talking about the status of the job of Phillies manager Joe Girardi. Let's think this through.
The starting pitchers mostly did not have regular Spring Trainings. Zack Wheeler did not throw any Grapefruit League action. Zach Eflin and Ranger Suarez had reduced action as well. The three of them looked like it.
The Phillies offense was without two of their biggest pieces at the start of Spring Training in Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber. One has responded and the other is a little slow to start.
Add in the fact the Phillies have not had a day off yet, and I can see why the Phillies are scuffling some. But they are far from out of it.
The Atlanta Braves, picked to be favorites in the National League East, are just a game better at 5-7. They have not had good starting pitching, and their offense has also looked dead at times.
The Mets were gifted an opening series against the Washington Nationals and another against the Arizona Diamondbacks. They took 2 of 3 from the Phillies, sure. But that's hardly a sample size.
I will say this, however: Girardi does not have a contract for 2023. He's going to have to earn it this year. But it's way too soon to start calling for his job.