Phillies

Why Phillies placed Justin Bour on waivers

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Why Phillies placed Justin Bour on waivers

Looking to trim their 40-man roster ahead of next week’s deadline to protect prospects from the Rule 5 draft, the Phillies have placed slugging first baseman Justin Bour on waivers, according to a major-league source.

The move essentially means Bour will soon be moving on. He can be claimed by any other club or elect free agency if he clears waivers.
 
In need of power off the bench, the Phillies acquired Bour from Miami for minor-league pitcher McKenzie Mills in August. With the Phils, he had 54 plate appearances and hit .224 with a homer and five RBIs. He was hampered during part of his stay with the club by a hamstring injury that landed him on the disabled list.
 
Bour has averaged 21 homers and 66 RBIs the last four seasons and could be attractive to clubs looking for a left-handed platoon bat at first base. The Phillies are not in need of that type of player as they are committed to using Rhys Hoskins and Carlos Santana at first base. If Santana were to be traded, Hoskins would play at first base full-time.
 
Bour would have been eligible for salary arbitration with the Phillies and will remain so if a team claims him on waivers. He projects to have an arbitration salary of over $5 million.
 
The Phillies’ 40-man roster is at 34. Several spots will be filled by young prospects on Tuesday, which is the deadline for shielding eligible players from being selected in December’s Rule 5 draft.

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Scream? Kick a chair? 'I'm not f---ing Dallas Green, never will be,' Gabe Kapler says

Scream? Kick a chair? 'I'm not f---ing Dallas Green, never will be,' Gabe Kapler says

If you're waiting for Gabe Kapler to yell and scream about the current state of the Phillies, to kick over a chair or flip over a table, you'll be waiting a long time. 

It's not his personality. It's not how he views leadership. It's not, in his opinion, the most effective way to send a message.

The topic came up again Tuesday after the Phillies' disgusting 16-2 loss to the Dodgers Monday night, a game that featured maybe their worst two innings of the season. In the fourth, the Phillies were out of position on a safety squeeze, allowed a steal of home and then forgot how many outs there were. In the eighth inning, they were forced to turn to Roman Quinn to pitch because the bullpen was so wretched that it turned a six-run deficit into a 13-run deficit.

Asked Tuesday if he thinks he needs to express more anger to his players, Kapler said, "I'm not f---ing Dallas Green."

"I think many people are looking for me to behave in a certain way," Kapler said. "Who are the managers who stand out through history who are respected in these situations? It's Lou Piniella, it's Dallas Green. Right? These are the guys who you expect to see handle these situations. 

"It's not my personality. It's not who I am. I don't think it's the best way to motivate people. So I don't do it. But it doesn't mean that I don't have every possible conversation and it doesn't mean that I don't care deeply and passionately about making our players. It doesn't mean that I won't look under every stone to give them every opportunity and support to be the best versions of themselves. I'll continue to do that. 

"I just don't do it in the way that many people think it should be done. I'm not going to apologize for that. I'm not going to say like, 'Man, I should be Dallas Green.' I'm not f---ing Dallas Green. I never will be."

Two ways to look at this. On the one hand, Kapler deserves some credit for remaining true to himself and not caving to media or fan pressure to act in a manner he doesn't feel will work. On the other hand ... maybe it will work? How can you know until you try? So far, attempting to push and motivate this team through constant support, harmony and looseness has not worked. It has not stopped the losing.

"It's something that I think about a lot. I think there's more than one way to motivate," Kapler said. "If you have 25 different personalities in a room, some of them are going to respond to some styles of leadership and others are going to respond to other styles of leadership. It's not every person in the room is the same way. That's not baseball. That's human behavior."

Kapler and his staff will continue to look for ways to motivate this Phillies team, that is somehow, someway still tied for the second wild-card spot despite losing 24 of its last 39 games.

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Phillies pick a convenient time to sit Maikel Franco for not hustling

Phillies pick a convenient time to sit Maikel Franco for not hustling

The Phillies' benching Tuesday of Maikel Franco is a pretty good example of players being treated differently based on how integral they are to winning.

Franco was out of Tuesday's lineup after not running full-speed down the line on a groundball to third base with the bases loaded and two outs in the third inning Monday. It was the second time in three innings the Phillies stranded the bases loaded against Clayton Kershaw. Justin Turner's throw was wide of first, and if Franco was running hard, he may have beaten the play. He wasn't running hard, and the inning ended.

Kapler did not call it a "benching" by name but it's clear that it was. Franco is also experiencing some groin tightness but not significant enough to keep him out. 

"Maikey took responsibility immediately," Kapler said. "He said he had a hard time sleeping last night over it. He did mention that his groin was tight and that was the reason he wasn't able to get down the line. And I said look, I can't put you in the lineup today. He said he was ready to play today. I said I still can't put you in the lineup today because if you're not able to give us that 100 percent effort down the line in that situation last night, it's not right for me to start you today. 

"He understood that and accepted full responsibility for it."

It's interesting that Kapler chose this player, this instance to send a message. It's easier when it's a player like Franco, isn't it? A player the Phillies have benched multiple times over the last two seasons. At different points, Franco has been benched in favor of J.P. Crawford, Asdrubal Cabrera, Carlos Santana, Sean Rodriguez, Brad Miller and Scott Kingery. 

Hustle has been an ongoing issue for the 2019 Phillies. Jean Segura had the two most egregious offenses, not hustling on the play that led to Andrew McCutchen's torn ACL, and then again on a bloop to left field to lead off a game against Max Scherzer. It was an issue with Cesar Hernandez. It came up for Rhys Hoskins and Bryce Harper, too.

In none of those instances was the player benched. Kapler said after the two Segura incidents that he did not believe benching Segura was the right way to get through to him. Which may be true. Different guys respond differently to punishment. (Segura, by the way, was out of Tuesday's lineup with a heel bruise.)

It's still pretty convenient that Franco was the only one to be benched the next game.

"I had a conversation with our club about how important it is to bust our asses down the line," Kapler said. "The one thing we can control all the time is our effort level. I just thought the time was right to address it with Maikel.

"I think you guys know that these decisions or me taking a player out of the lineup in a punitive way is not my natural way of handling these type of situations. In this particular situation, I felt it was critical to address right after some of the other incidents we've had. I had a conversation with the club. I shared with them that it's not an acceptable level of effort. We have to do a better job so I thought this was the right time to make a change in this situation."

That's all well and good. These conversations or responses to a lack of hustle just might have been more effective when the topic came up six weeks ago.

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