The Phillies announced a set of roster moves, including the news that utilityman Scott Kingery, left-hander JoJo Romeo, and catcher Rafael Marchan have been optioned to Triple-A. Outfielder Travis Jankowski and catcher Rodolfo Duran were reassigned to the team’s minor league camp, and catcher Christian Bethancourt (in camp on a minors contract) has been released.
Though Kingery has had a tough time at the plate in Spring Training, it still counts as something of a surprise to see the 26-year-old not break camp with the team. While Kingery could be recalled in relatively short order, today’s move underlines how the former top prospect has struggled since the start of the 2020 season, a year that saw him suffer through a positive COVID-19 diagnosis during the summer and then hit just .159/.228/.283 in 124 plate appearances once he got onto the field.
The Phillies thought so highly of Kingery’s potential in 2018 that he was signed to a contract extension before even debuting in the majors. Though he had a rough 2018 rookie season, Kingery looked to be turning the corner with a respectable .258/.315/.474 slash line over 500 plate appearances in 2019 before his season-long setback last year. Heading into the current season, Kingery was seen as a candidate to win the Phillies’ center field job. While Kingery would still have been a backup option at multiple other positions, it seemed as though he would primarily be focused on outfield work — perhaps a necessary move, given how Kingery has spoken in the past about the extra difficulties associated with a super-utility role.
With Kingery now in the minors, it could be a sign that the Phillies are confident that Brad Miller will be ready to go on Opening Day and assume super-utility duties. Miller has been out since March 10 due to an oblique injury, but he is in Philadelphia’s lineup today for their Spring Training game with the Yankees.
Romero’s demotion also counts as a bit of a surprise, both because he’d pitched well in camp and because Jose Alvarado now looks to be the only left-hander in the Philly bullpen after Tony Watson opted out of his minor league contract earlier this week. The hard-throwing Romero (a fourth-round pick for the Phillies in the 2016 draft) worked exclusively as a reliever when making his MLB debut in 2020, but since he has otherwise operated as a starting pitcher in the minors, he could be kept stretched out as potential rotation depth.
Bethancourt signed minor league contracts with the Phillies in each of the last two offseasons, but has yet to appear in a big league game with the team. Bethancourt hit .222/.252/.316 over 489 PA with the Braves and Padres from 2013-17 and hasn’t since returned to the Show, spending 2018 with the Brewers’ Triple-A affiliate and playing in South Korea in 2019.
oh kingery what a disappointment
I’m a bit surprised that Kingery is not in the opening lineup since he plays multiple positions including center field. Hopefully, he can figure things out in the minors because last year he struggled in the majors.
Maybe it was his .150 avg and he’s a strikeout machine
FredMcGriff for the HOF
So the Phillies are paying Kingery 4 million dollars to play in AAA this year? This is bringing back Jon Singleton memories.
The Phillies didn’t give Singleton his contract though, the Astros made that deal after trading for him.
How is Kingery supposed to improve when playing a couple times a week? It’s not like he’s going to spend all year at AAA. Optioning him makes the most sense for his development.
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He needs to get his stroke and confidence back.
Playing at AAA is his best option.
The CF picture will clarify by then,and if either Didi or Segura or Bohm is injured,he can come back up and play second base.
How is he suppose to get development when the minors do not start until 1 May?
Bethancourt reverted back to catcher? Thought he was focused on pitching?
he was…not very good at pitching. that died with his Padres tenure.
Definitely saw this coming. I don’t know what happened to him, but Kingery has fizzled out badly. Hopefully he can figure it out in AAA
Ever since kingery had that bout with covid last year he hasn’t been the same
Actually the second half of 2019 was poor as well. He’s simply not that good and another mistake made by the Klentak regime.
i mean, he was well hyped even coming into ST in 2018 and it wasnt just some localized hype either. just hasnt played up to what was expected.
Ever since the Phillies signed him to a deal without even playing in the league
In all seriousness is this not totally unexpected? There are a number of those who contracted who have beaten the initial disease but are having long term effects.
he’s kinda been on the downslope since his hot start in 2019. im sure it played a role but it ceratinly wasnt all of it.
The Kapler/Klentak regime screwed Kingery up. Instead of bringing him up and letting him play second base, and be the player he was, they thought (being so much smarter than everyone) that they’d extract more “value” by having him bounce around the field. He’s probably be an all-star and one of the best second baseman in the league—offensively and defensively—if they just left him alone.
it wasnt extracting value, Cesar was starting at his natural positon. the issue was not dealing Cesar.
Cesar Hernandez was a mediocre player at best, and not the long-term answer at second base. The Phillies seemingly believed (and I think rightfully so) Kingery was going to be an excellent player, but chose to get cute instead of letting him play. Who cares if Cesar Hernandez was the second baseman?
Bingo Tom. Cesar Hernandez is/was mediocre and when you extend a young player you better have a set position for him.
Cesar won the AL Gold Glove at 2B with the Indians last year.
283 / .355 / .408 / .763
Phillies should have a 2B that good (and I like the Phillies).
Yet another player Francona and staff straightened out.
That Kapler/Klentak (MacPhail) regime was awful, one of the worst I’ve seen the past 10-15 years. They messed up so many players and could not play together as a team. In one year Joe Girardi has them playing solid fundamental baseball in Spring Training. He still has some work to do with Hoskins, but he’s progressing. Add in Dave Dombrowski and you get roster moves like this.
At this point I like the Phillies to win the ALE this year. Forget the individual player stats and the teams record in ST. This team is jelling the past week or so heading into the season. The FO and Manager are dead serious about winning.
Kingery, Romeo, and Watson will be better off if they make the necessary adjustments. This regime is not throwing away money on players under contract. Country Club time is over. Watch them play.
I’d also guess that Girardi wants Ronald Torreyes on the ML roster.
I always liked Hernandez. I thought he fit in that lineup quite nicely, was in the field every day, made consistent contact, drew his walks and was a dependable defender. Letting him leave was a contract move. I think the Indians are happy with him.
Tom5 hours ago
The Kapler/Klentak regime screwed Kingery up. Instead of bringing him up and letting him play second base,
Kingery had flaws coming into the pros. He had a 58/13 K/W in AAA. When he went to the pros, and had a 126/24, it should not have come as a surprise. And you cannot play in the pros with a 126/24. And he hasn’t improved much in the past couple of years.
oh no not Romero! how will we ever recover!
Luc (Soto 3rd best in the game)
Juan Soto will help lol. Have you heard that he had a rivalry with Romero back in the minors. Soto got him back
shoutout to Jojo for predicting Juan Soto being a superstar.
George hubschman, roto imbeciles
In one of my expert NL-only (2019) the other owner’s refusal to include Scott Kingery in a trade along with Walker Buehler for my very own Nolan Arenado at the deadline cost me the shot at getting Buehler. The other owner, and maybe rightfully so at the time felt Kingery was going to be a star. After going 7 for 44 with 1 HR and 2 SB Kingery was shown the door (to minor league camp) by the Phillies today. The truncated season of 2020 was also no day at the beach for Kingery as he hit just .159 in 113 AB, 12 runs, 3 HR, 6 RBI, a 35/9 K/BB, and a .511 OPS. Kingly should be back but you had to figure he could win a battle of ability involving the likes of Adam Heasley, Odubel Herrera, and Roman Quinn.
I hope Romero going down means they bring back Tony Watson for less than the $3 Million he was guaranteed before. Seems like a lot of guys have opted out then re-signed with the same team for a lesser deal.
I would really like if the Phillies bring back Watson. He didn’t have the best spring training, but he is a solid reliever just ask the Pirates, Dodgers, and Giants for references. He’s a great reliever.
I live in Pittsburgh, i know all about Watson. He was the 7th inning guys during the early playoff years with Grilli, and the 8th inning guy during the later playoff years with Melancon. He bombed out as closer after they traded Melancon, but other than that he was spectacular. People who haven’t seen him pitch think he’s just a lefty to come in and get lefties out, but he was not one of those guys at all. he was a legit 8th inning set up man for a long time. His NLCS and World Series numbers with the Dodgers in 2017 also shows just how valuable he is.
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I think that the Phillies made a big mistake letting him go.A $3M salary is not that much for a fine veteran relief pitcher,especially because of last year’s historically bad bullpen.Pitchers go down like flies and the Phillies would have benefitted by having the young pitcher depth at AAA.
not having to put him on the 40 allows us to not have to designate one member of that group.
DonB34- I definitely agree with you. Whoever signs Watson is going to be a great signing. I think the Braves might actually sign him. There is a possibility.
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DS30-I agree that it would not be wise to lose a young pitcher,but several of them have an options remaining,and those are the pitchers that would be brought up as soon as the inevitable injuries occur.
His contract seems expensive now. I mean, I’d gladly take his 2019 production at his current salary, but not for his future salary. He’s a good example of the high risk of giving a kid without an mlb at bat a big payday. Overall it might be an affordable contract, but this is definitely not what they were hoping to get. Shame
Agree. Fans in Pgh are upset that we’re supposedly undercutting Hayes’ value when he has only 93 ABs in the majors. Did the Polanco and Tabat signings not teach them anything?
Romero looked good. Surprised, but Kingery struggled. I expect Romero to be on the team soonish.
So I guess Coonrod and probably Hale are making the team unless they make another MLB signing?
well, scratch Hale so far. they still need another active spot for Kintz and Joyce
I don’t like the idea of going with only 1 lefty in the pen. Think Romero has too much value, especially with the real tough early schedule.
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Kingery has been screwed up by the Phillies ever since they made a fine second baseman into a utilityman before he had a chance to establish himself as an every day ML player.This all just because he was a good athlete.
The Pirates did that to Cole Tucker last year and I see where he was sent down before he had a chance for every day at bats in the ML.
Having position versatility is fine but,especially with young players,it can cause problems at bat that would not be there otherwise since the players are constantly playing out of position.
i agree, but the problem is he’s always been blocked. in theory he could’ve won the CF job but he’s not a CF.
Excellent comparison to Cole Tucker (I mean, ya gotta play that hair!!!). As the Kingery Katastrophy Kontinues, I can only think of when I saw Scott at AA, and thought the Phils had discovered the poor man’s Dustin Pedroia; great in-game skills, a real “bawl-player”. I watch him now, and he looks like he couldn’t find 2B with a road map. I’m sure the premature fat contract didn’t help; why knock yourself out when you’re set for life.
If I’m an aggressive GM, I’d call Dombrowski and offer to take Kingery off his hands. He’d have to kick in some coin, and throw a prospect or 2 in the mix (and you KNOW DD doesn’t mind doing that). Then I’d put Kingery at 2B for 90 games and say “OK, kid, put your big boy pants on and show me what you’ve got”.
Mike Elias (for one), are you listening? Or for that matter, Chaim Bloom. It ain’t like you’ve got a lot to lose. I’m sure Kingery would out perform Pat Valilika (BAL) or fill-in-the-blank (BOS).
what does fielding have to do with the bat tho, they moved Hoskins to LF and he still hit well. Also Kingery’s worst DRS is ironically at second.
Bye bye StinKery!!
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DS and BT-spot on both accounts.In my opinion this is a perfect example how management can stymie the worker’s career.First off,in the old days you had to earn the big contract.Then,they would first give you a chance to earn one.I do not have a problem giving “futures” contracts to young players,but not before they have at least one year in ML to establish some sort of track record.My guess is with Kingery is that he is trying too hard to earn his money.
The Phillies did not seem to be real high on Hernandez so they should have given Kingery the second base job from the start.I just think that this was one of the goofs of the Klentak/Kepler regime and I hope that it does not ruin this young man’s career.But then again,where was Andy MacPhail in all of this?Wasn’t he supposed to add some wisdom to the enterprise?
You speak about the Red Sox and Orioles,but the Pirates,even with the glut of talent that they have up the middle(the only such area that they do have it),could offer Frazier for Kingery and money.Those are the deals that can reward handsomely down the road.
Finally,I did not have Tucker’s hair even when I was his age,let alone now!
I’m hoping the Phillies don’t still think Roman Quinn can backup Didi at SS. I’m guessing this means Herrera has made the team
Segura would move to SS if Didi needed time off and Kingery would come back up to play 2B. Brad Miller is looking like the primary backup at 1B, 2B, 3B, LF & RF to open the season.
Stan the Man
Joyce is ahead of Miller for RF & LF.
Until Joyce is added to the 40 man, it’s Miller.
well they are doing that so…
Stan the Man
These are minor moves (pun intended) compared to the upcoming tough decisions they need to make regarding their 40 man roster. A creative trade or two could be in the offing over the next couple days. Stay tuned…
I never got the fascination with Scott Kingery. HE’S HAD OVER 1000 AB’s at the MLB level and still looks lost. In fact, he appears to have regressed.
Kepler/Klentak to the Phillies is like Chip Kelly was to the Eagles.F them all!
What’s with the Max Kepler hate in this thread?
The Phillies gave Kingery every opportunity to prove he could play as a major leaguer. Right now, he can’t. Dombrowski could care less about his contract. Dombrowski may have something up his sleeve before the the 26 man roster is final.
I’ve been saying for 2 years (to friends) that the super utility role has probably hurt Kingery more than helped him. I’m sure focusing on all the defensive intricacies for so many positions takes focus and prep away from studying pitchers. Sending him down to strictly work as a centerfielder and regain his hitting strike against minor league pitching, away from the harsh Philly eyes should get him back quickly – or to a fresh start elsewhere. He will be welcomed, cheered loudly and appreciated in the Lehigh Valley. He’ll rebound quickly once he forgets about trying to hit 30 homeruns.
Kingery’s bat has been a problem. We can blame some of that on the super utility role, but it’s more than just that. He’s completely lost. I give him a pass in 2020 because he really struggled with post-COVID symptoms, but that fact that he’s still struggling in 2021 (albeit spring training) is very troublesome. I feel for the kid, but he’s completely lost at the plate.
Super utility or not, he should have learned how to hit before coming to the majors. Klentak basically forced him into a major league role with that contract, and they found out he wasn’t good enough to be everyday, so they scrambled and forced him into the super utility role. They should have been patient with his development like everybody else. At least the Pads waited for Tatis to get major league experience before going all in with him.
People are talking like Kingery and Romero will never don Phillies uniforms again. This simply means they’re starting the season in AAA. I’m sure both will be up at some point. Kingery is still lost and needs to find himself at the plate. I’m just surprised the Phillies are going to start the season with only 1 lefty option in the pen…especially when considering the Phillies have one of the toughest start-of-the-season schedules in MLB this year.
Kingery had bulked up and was swinging for home runs…..when he saw it wasn’t his game, he tried to go back to driving the ball with line drives..as I watched him this year, he still looks like he has an uppercut….I had formed my opinion a few weeks ago saying he needed to go down..
As for JoJo, the Phillies have a problem..space on the 40 man roster….they need to move some players either by trade or roster moves which I feel will put them in a position to lose some players..I feel that is the most likely outcome..Dombrowski et al knows who will be scooped up if designated for assignment..they must decide who to keep and who to hope doesn’t get picked up..
I’d hate to see players go that at the very least should bring back some sort of prospect…
Also, I for one want Goofy to make this team..
Scotty Jetpax has been grounded