Phillies pitching coach Chris Young will not return to the organization in that capacity next season, MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki reports. He’s been offered a different position within the organization. Phillies fans have anxiously been awaiting word on the fate of manager Gabe Kapler, but Zolecki adds that no decision is expected on that front until next week. The Phils will, however, be in the market for a new hitting coach, as franchise legend Charlie Manuel only stepped in as interim hitting coach as a favor late in the year and isn’t expected to return in that role next year.
The ousting of Young is the first domino to fall in what could be a series of substantial changes in the Philadelphia dugout, depending on the fate of Kapler. It’s typical for organizations that hire new managers to give the incoming replacement some say over his coaching staff, so a managerial change could be accompanied by other new faces.
Young, not to be confused with the former big league pitcher of the same name (or the former big league outfielder, for that matter), spent just one season as the pitching coach with the Phillies. Matt Gelb and Meghan Montemurro of The Athletic recently chronicled some of the ups and downs in Young’s first year on the job (subscription required). Furthermore, as Gelb and Montemurro explored at great length in a fascinating read for Phils fans, fear of losing Young led to the dismissal of former pitching coach Rick Kranitz. Young had served as Kranitz’s assistant pitching coach in ’18, but when other clubs called about interviewing him last winter, the Phillies parted ways with Kranitz and promoted Young to ensure they could retain him, per that Athletic report.
The 2019 Phillies pitching staff saw its strikeout and walk percentages, ERA, FIP and xFIP all go the wrong direction, although that can’t be pinned on Young alone. The Phils sent an entire Major League bullpen’s worth of quality relievers — David Robertson, Seranthony Dominguez, Pat Neshek, Tommy Hunter, Edubray Ramos, Victor Arano and Adam Morgan, among others — to the injured list for significant periods of time. The lack of depth in the ’pen led to questionable relievers being deployed with greater frequency and didn’t do the Phillies any favors when trying to squeeze extra innings out of the rotation to compensate. That said, Young also has to shoulder some blame for steps back from several of the team’s starters, some of which stemmed from philosophical changes that didn’t prove fruitful.
As is the case with managers throughout the league, there’ll be no shortage of competition for the Phillies in their quest for a new pitching coach. We’ve already seen the Pirates, Diamondbacks, Mariners and Angels part ways with their respective pitching coaches, and the Mets will likely be on the lookout for a new pitching coach to step in for interim coach Phil Regan. (Dave Eiland was fired in June.) Given the high rate of dugout turnover throughout the league already, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see additional pitching coach vacancies arrive in the coming weeks.