The Phillies fired hitting coach Joe Dillon and infield coach Juan Castro this afternoon. Assistant hitting coach Pedro Guerrero wasn’t let go but was given permission to look for other jobs, as the Phils intend to let their next hitting coach hire his own assistant. The rest of Philadelphia’s coaching staff will return in 2021, according to manager Joe Girardi.
“I think they [Dillon and Castro] worked extremely hard, but we just felt at this time it was time to make some changes,” Girardi told The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Scott Lauber and other reporters. “We always talk about, at this level, it’s a production-based business. It’s difficult.”
Dillon was in his second season as hitting coach, and across the board, the Phillies’ offensive numbers declined. After hitting a collective .257/.342/.439 (108 wRC+) in 2020, Philadelphia batters took a .240/.318/.408 slash line (93 wRC+) into today’s season finale. Even with Bryce Harper enjoying an all-world season, the Phillies weren’t much beyond middle-of-the-pack in most major offensive categories.
A lack of consistent hitting was far from the only issue that plagued the Phillies this year, as poor defense may have been an even bigger problem for the team. This cost Castro his job, though as Lauber noted, it was perhaps asking a bit much of Castro to improve an infield full of subpar defenders. Castro (a former MLB infielder who spent parts of eight seasons each with the Reds and Dodgers) is also in his second year on Philadelphia’s coaching staff.