What Asdrubal Cabrera's arrival means for Scott Kingery

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What Asdrubal Cabrera's arrival means for Scott Kingery

CINCINNATI – Asbrubal Cabrera got right to work upon joining the Phillies late Saturday afternoon. He took ground balls at shortstop, practiced giving and taking feeds with second baseman Cesar Hernandez, then took his round of batting practice.

“It surprised me,” Cabrera said of the trade that sent him from the Mets to the Phillies on Friday. “I hadn’t seen anything on the Phillies. But I’m really happy to be here now and be part of the Phillies.”

Manager Gabe Kapler put Cabrera right in the lineup, batting fifth and playing shortstop. The Phils, who rank 28th in the majors with an OPS of .626 at shortstop, were looking for some more offense out of the position. Cabrera hit .277 with 23 doubles, 18 homers and a .817 OPS in 98 games for the Mets. He should bring some pop to the lineup from both sides of the plate.

Manager Gabe Kapler continues to say he will play Cabrera at second and third, as well. He added that Scott Kingery will still get time at shortstop as well as other positions. Kingery was projected for a super-utility role coming out of spring training. He took balls in the outfield during batting practice Saturday. Kapler said Kingery would likely play shortstop on Sunday. If Cabrera, a switch-hitter, produces offensively, however, it will be difficult to keep him out of the lineup and shortstop will be the most logical spot to use him as long as Cesar Hernandez and Maikel Franco continue to produce at second and third base, respectively.

Adding Cabrera’s bat comes with a tradeoff. He hasn’t played shortstop this season -- he was the Mets' second baseman -- and hasn’t played there regularly since 2016. His defensive play at the position had declined when he was there.

“He doesn’t have the same range that he once did but we’re also thinking of mitigating risk by putting him at shortstop at the right time,” Kapler said. “Tonight we’ve got a fly ball pitcher (Vince Velasquez) on the mound and we’re very confident he can handle the balls that are in his vicinity.”

Cabrera, 32, was unfazed about playing shortstop for the first time this season. He’d previously played more than 1,000 games there in his big-league career.

“I haven’t played short for a little while but I’m going to come here and work hard and do my best no matter what position they put me at,” he said.

Kingery, who stands to lose some playing time, had a similar attitude.

“I’m just going to show up to the field the same way I have all season and focus on what I can do to help the team,” he said. “If that means switching back and forth or I go back into a utility role, I don’t know what’s going to happen. But I’m just going to show up and do what I do every day.”

To make room for Cabrera on the roster, the Phillies sent utility man Jesmuel Valentin to Triple A.

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Gabe Kapler and Giants make historic coaching hire with Alyssa Nakken

Gabe Kapler and Giants make historic coaching hire with Alyssa Nakken

With all of the chaos currently consuming the league, it may have been overlooked that the Giants and Gabe Kapler have made a historic coaching hire.

Alyssa Nakken has been named one of Kapler's assistant coaches. She will be the first woman on a major-league coaching staff.

Can anyone say girl power?

Nakken is also a chairperson for the Giants' Employee Resource Group. This group promotes diversity and equality within the organization.

And as a female, with her intelligence and determination and hunger and drive to excel — I understand some of her responsibility is keeping her fingers on the pulse of the culture — it’s invaluable. She’ll broaden the scope and perspective, and I applaud Gabe for doing this.

-Kathy Strahan, Nakken's former coach in an interview for the San Francisco Chronicle

This is a moment that could change the mold of the league in the new decade.

Women belong in sports and are here to stay. And this single hire has the potential to open numerous doors in the future for both the league and anyone who wants to be a part of it.

You can read more about the hire and get to know Nakken at the San Francisco Chronicle.

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After 29 other teams pass, Phillies send Odubel Herrera to minor leagues

After 29 other teams pass, Phillies send Odubel Herrera to minor leagues

As expected, Phillies outfielder Odubel Herrera quickly cleared waivers on Thursday. He has been assigned outright to Triple A.

Herrera was designated for assignment on Tuesday. The move immediately removed him from the Phillies’ 40-man roster and cleared a spot for outfielder Nick Martini, who was claimed off waivers from Cincinnati.

Herrera, 28, was involved in a domestic abuse incident in New Jersey in May. Though legal charges were eventually dropped, he served an 85-game suspension for violating Major League Baseball’s policy against domestic violence. As a matter of procedure, he was reinstated to the 40-man roster in November, but that hardly assured his future with the club, even though he is signed through 2021 and owed $20 million.

When Major League Baseball and the Players Association forged its joint policy on domestic violence, both sides agreed that a player violating the policy could not be punished by being released or having his contract voided.

On Tuesday, Phillies general manager Matt Klentak said there were “sound baseball reasons,” for removing Herrera from the roster. He pointed to Herrera’s inconsistency and struggles last season and the fact that the Phillies had added outfielders Jay Bruce and Adam Haseley to the roster after Herrera’s suspension.

“The construction of our outfield now is very different than it was last spring when Odubel was first suspended,” Klentak said.

The Phillies plan to give Haseley a shot to win the starting centerfield job in spring training. He will be pushed by Roman Quinn.

Herrera could very well be on his way out of the organization, but he’s not there yet. He is expected to report to minor-league spring training camp, where he will continue to collect his full salary while working toward regaining a role with the big-league team or trying to catch the eye of a team that might be interested in trading for him. So far, there has been no trade interest. 

Participating in minor-league camp does not ensure that Herrera will be with a Phillies’ minor-league club during the regular season. He can still be released at any time, as long as the Phillies establish that the move is for baseball reasons, as they did earlier this week when they designated him for assignment.

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