The Phillies didn’t even wait until their disappointing 2021 season was over before making changes to their coaching staff, relieving hitting coach Joe Dillon and infield coach Juan Castro of their duties before the team’s finale on Sunday.
With the move, assistant hitting coach Pedro Guerrero is not expected to return, either, considering the new hitting coach will bring on an assistant.
The moves coincided with the displeasure surrounding the organization after missing the playoffs for a 10th-straight season. It’s an even more underwhelming result when considering the Phillies have spent major money in recent years to field a contender while bringing on a former World Series-winning coach in Joe Girardi and executive in Dave Dombrowski.
“It’s been a tough day. Sometimes when seasons don’t go the way you want, sometimes people are let go. Sometimes it’s the manager. Sometimes it’s coaches,” Girardi said. “And unfortunately it didn’t go the way we want and we let some go. I think they worked extremely hard, but we just felt at this time it was time to make some changes. The difficult part is that you know how hard they work at it, you know that they’re friends.”
While Girardi’s decision-making has fallen under siege at times this season, his job is safe; as is the rest of the coaching staff’s.
Despite a lineup that boasted the like of Bryce Harper, Rhys Hoskins, Andrew McCutchen, and Didi Gregorius, the Phillies’ offense was a mediocre unit in 2021, ranking seventh in the National League in runs per game (4.53) and on-base percentage (.318), ninth in team batting average (.240), and eighth in slugging percentage (.408).
“I think approach is important,” Girardi said after challenging his team to get better in 2022. “Combating what they’re doing to you is probably the most important thing that you can do as a hitter.
“You have to adjust always in this game because they’re adjusting to you, and I think that’s the biggest thing. And who helps you make those adjustments the quickest? That’s what we’re looking for.”