Houston Astros

Phillies tap Astros system for their new director of player development Josh Bonifay

Phillies tap Astros system for their new director of player development Josh Bonifay

The Phillies on Thursday announced that they had filled an important front office position with the hiring of Josh Bonifay as director of player development.

Bonifay, 40, spent seven of the last eight seasons working in the Houston Astros’ minor-league system as a coach, manager and most recently minor-league field coordinator. He spent the 2017 season working on the Texas Rangers’ big-league coaching staff.

Bonifay, who played in the minors with Pittsburgh and Houston, is the son of former Pirates general manager Cam Bonifay. He succeeds Joe Jordan, who stepped down as the Phillies' director of player development after seven seasons on the job in September. Jordan resigned because of philosophical differences with his bosses and several minor-league hitting coaches were let go after that.

The Phillies’ front office has undergone extensive change both in personnel and philosophy since Matt Klentak arrived as general manager three years ago. The use of analytics and data-rooted instruction has increased throughout the organization. The Astros have been at the forefront of the analytics movement so Bonifay is steeped in that approach. Last fall, the Phillies hired their assistant pitching coach, Chris Young, away from the Astros.

During the interview process, Bonifay “stood out with his combination of leadership, experience and passion for developing players,” Phillies general manager Klentak said.

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Former Phillie Ken Giles demoted after cursing at Astros manager

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AP Images

Former Phillie Ken Giles demoted after cursing at Astros manager

The Houston Astros have optioned reliever Ken Giles to Triple A Fresno, a night after he appeared to curse at manager A.J. Hinch when he was lifted from the game.

The Astros were up by four to start the ninth inning against Oakland on Tuesday night when Giles took over and gave up three straight singles, which cut the lead to 4-1.

Hinch came to the mound to take Giles out and the television broadcast caught the former Phillie appearing to curse at Hinch right after he walked by him on his way off the field.

It was the second major outburst of the year for the right-hander, who punched himself in the face as he left the mound after another bad performance earlier in the season.

The Phillies traded Giles to the Astros in 2015 for a haul of pitchers Vince Velasquez, Thomas Eshelman, Brett Oberholtzer, Harold Arauz and former first overall pick Mark Appel.

Even with Giles' demotion, it's tough to say which team really won the trade. Giles has saved 61 games for the Astros but was wildly inconsistent during the team's 2017 World Series run, posting an uncharacteristic 11.74 ERA. His struggles have continued in 2018, as Giles has posted a 4.99 ERA in 34 appearances.

In parts of three seasons with the Astros, Giles' ERA has ballooned to 3.57, compared to 1.56 during his two seasons in red pinstripes. Still, Giles is just 27 years old and will surely be back in the majors at some point. How soon (and with what team) remains to be seen. Fortunately for the Astros, they can afford to send Giles down as a teaching lesson.

Houston went on to win Tuesday night's game 6-5 in 11 innings.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Ken Giles angrily punches himself in the face

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YES Network

Ken Giles angrily punches himself in the face

Ken Giles was always an intense dude.

With the Phillies, following a big out or save, he'd be so pumped up that he'd often hop off the mound and wear this fierce scowl on his face.

When a closer is zoned in, he's zoned in.

Like this …


(USA Today Images)


(AP Images)

Whether it was good or bad, Giles would show his emotions. Many remember the dugout confrontation he had with Ryne Sandberg and Bob McClure in 2015.

As a visitor, Giles returned to Citizens Bank Park last season with a boom box and some dance moves, somewhat jokingly (we think) getting himself ready out in the bullpen for a July game.

Has anything changed with Giles since he's gone to the Houston Astros?

Not really. He did win a World Series last season despite struggling with an 11.74 postseason ERA and ultimately losing his ninth-inning role amid the team's run.

If anything, though, Giles' intensity has actually gone up a notch.

Didn't think that was possible? For proof, here was his reaction Tuesday night to allowing four runs on 16 pitches in the Astros' 4-0 loss to the Yankees.

Yes, that is Giles punching himself in the face. Like actually punching his own face.

Listen, you've got to like his passion. You want players to be upset when they don't perform.

But socking yourself in the jaw? That might not help Giles tomorrow.

The 27-year-old had allowed just two runs in 10 innings (1.80 ERA) prior to Tuesday's outing. Maybe he felt a good thumping was needed in order to get back on track the next time he takes the mound.

Whatever works for those closers.