Phillies Mailbag: Kapler, Hoskins, Williams
We are back once again with a 97.3 ESPN Phillies mailbag. Each week we take your questions and talk about them on the Sports Bash with Mike Gill every Tuesday. Send your questions anytime on Twitter to @FrankKlose or send a text to the text board at 609-403-0973.
Has Nick Williams increased his trade value by playing well in Triple-A?
Phillies outfielder Nick Williams has failed to put things together in the major leagues. Despite opening 2017 in the left-handed side of a platoon, he has been unable to capitalize on his opportunities in the major leagues. Williams is putting up big numbers in Triple-A. But I do not think that he will attract any notable interest.
While adding Bryce Harper's addition meant that Wililams was in a reserve role to begin the season, opportunity abounded. Odubel Herrera's suspension. Andrew McCutchen's torn ACL. Roman Quinn's multiple injuries. In 60 major league games, Williams batted just .158.
At Triple-A, Williams is faring much better. Williams is batting .355 in 35 games, with 13 doubles, two triples and eight home runs. His OPS is a whopping 1.054. Those are All-Star numbers at any level.
But Williams probably does not have a whole lot of trade value. His sample size is large enough that teams will not give up much for him. However, I can see a rebuilding team take on Williams, start him in left field, and hope he puts it together. The Phillies are not in a position to do that right now.
However, that will not net a huge return.
If the Phillies fail to win the Wild Card, is Gabe Kapler out?
Phillies manager Gabe Kapler has gotten a lot of negative attention lately. After pulling reliever Jose Alvarez in favor of Nick Pivetta in Sunday night's embarrassing loss, ESPN Sunday Night Baseball commentator Alex Rodriguez proclaimed, "Careless managing. Even more careless pitching". Fans certainly jumped onto these comments.
That all said, I do not see Kapler going anywhere.
I think that one must really consider what Kapler should have accomplished with the players he has to work with. Down his top five relievers, Kapler was given Pivetta as his late-inning right-handed arm. Is Pivetta cut out for that role? We are finding out as Kapler is finding out, given the circumstances.
Some advocated going with Hector Neris early to try to lock down that win. Some felt Alvarez should have been given the opportunity to get the last out. But either way, Kapler does not have all the bullets available to him.
I think before Kapler would be let go, the coaching staff could see a change in some shape or form. But before that step, I do not think the manager takes the blame. The front office assembled this roster and that is what he has to work with.
Should there be some other moves, I think the attention would turn to Kapler at that point. But as much as fans do not enjoy his postgame comments (Read Paul Hagan's piece on that matter on PhillyVoice.com, by the way), that will not motivate the front office. They hired him, they like him because he employs their strategies, and the injury list was long in 2019.
So we shall see.
How about trading Rhys Hoskins for a starter in the off-season? He fades every year.
Up until recently, fans were nothing but positive about Rhys Hoskins as the Phillies first baseman. But Hoskins has indeed struggled mightily. Since the All-Star break, Hoskins is batting just .186. Despite walking 22 times, his on base percentage is just..335. Hoskins is also just 2 for his last 29.
That's not good enough.
Could this be "sophomore slump" as some might call it? The offensive struggles of the Phillies are very much tied to Hoskins' slump. In recent days, the Phillies have moved Hoskins around in the order, trying to light a fire. A recent lineup had Hoskins between Bryce Harper and Corey Dickerson - batting in the two-hole - hoping he would see some pitches that he could hit.
I think the Phillies will have to consider every possibility this offseason to get better. I think that they cannot do as people once did, which is to hold on to players due to a personal attachment. I think if the Phillies have an opportunity to get better, they should take the opportunity.
But there is little exciting about the first base free agent crop.Jose Abreu will be a free agent, but at 33 years old. He is not a long-term solution.Justin Smoak is also 33. But there are no other starting first basemen on the free agent list.
What perhaps is more likely is that first base becomes a home to prospect Alec Bohm should Hoskins not work out. Bohm is currently a third baseman, but scouts do not believe he will end up there. He has already played some first base in the minor leagues and probably will get some work in left field.
I think the Philies hope Bohm gives them a couple years at third base first, but things have to play out first.
The Phillies are probably better off riding a Hoskins slump out. Trading someone when his value is lower does not bring you anything in return. And if the Phillies traded one of their major pieces, they would need a big return.
I think Hoskins stays, but if the right situation comes up, I would consider trading almost any player.