The Phillies announced a series of hirings in the front office and on the coaching staff this afternoon. Perhaps most notably, longtime big leaguer Howie Kendrick has joined the club as a special assistant to general manager Sam Fuld. The Phils also hired Brian Kaplan as assistant pitching coach and director of pitching development, while Jason Camilli has joined the staff as assistant hitting coach.
Kendrick played in the majors for fifteen seasons, breaking in with the Angels in 2006. The right-handed hitting second baseman spent the next eight seasons in Anaheim, regularly offering above-average production on both sides of the ball. His .285/.338/.464 showing earned him an All-Star nod in 2011, and Kendrick picked up some down ballot MVP support after posting a .293/.347/.397 mark with plus defensive ratings in 2014.
While Kendrick spent the bulk of his career as a regular with the Halos, he adapted with aplomb to more of a situational role later in his career. After a pair of solid seasons with the Dodgers, Kendrick landed with the Phillies in November 2016 via trade. His playing tenure in Philly lasted only a few months, as the eventual last place Phils sent him to the Nationals just before the ensuing trade deadline. While Kendrick’s stint in Philadelphia was brief, he clearly garnered the respect of those within the organization.
Productive as Kendrick was in Anaheim, he might wind up being best remembered for his final few seasons in Washington. While the Nats cut back on his playing time over his final few years, Kendrick was as effective as ever from 2018-19. After mashing at a .344/.395/.572 clip during the 2019 regular season, he had a stellar postseason that helped the franchise to its first World Series title. Kendrick was named the 2019 NLCS MVP after a .333/.412/.600 showing during the Nats’ sweep of the Cardinals. He returned for a final season in 2020 and announced his retirement last December.
While Kendrick is certainly the most famous of the Phillies’ recent hires, Kaplan and Camilli figure to be more involved in the organization on a day-to-day basis as members of the coaching staff. Kaplan comes over from the private ranks, as he’d previously been the vice president and co-founder of Cressey Sports Performance, an independent training facility in Florida. One of CSP’s other co-founders, Eric Cressey, also works in strength and conditioning with the Yankees.
Camilli comes over from the Reds, where he spent the 2021 season coaching their Arizona Complex League affiliate. The 46-year-old had previously spent time as an instructor in the Nationals and D-Backs farm systems. He’ll pair with new Philadelphia hitting coach Kevin Long, whom the club hired away from the Nats last month.