nick williams

What will happen with Nick Williams, the forgotten man on Phillies’ roster?

What will happen with Nick Williams, the forgotten man on Phillies’ roster?

Remember Nick Williams? 

The prospect shine has worn off the Phillies’ 26-year-old corner outfielder, who has become somewhat of a forgotten man on the 40-man roster. 

Williams finds himself competing for a spot on the Phils’ bench. Andrew McCutchen’s delayed season debut opens up a potential opportunity for Williams in early April in what appears to be his last chance at meaningful playing time with the Phillies. 

There are several reasons that Williams, the Phillies’ last piece left from the Cole Hamels-to-Texas trade in 2015, has not carved out a role here. The bat hasn't been consistent enough. He showed flashes of pinch-hitting value in 2018 but struggled as a starter and extra man in 2019 and at times looked checked out.

Defensively, Williams has never been an option in center field. He was one of the Phillies’ only outfielders the last two seasons whom previous manager Gabe Kapler flat out said was not an option in CF. In the corners, Williams’ defense has been average at best. He has a strong arm but his range, reads and instincts have been below average. 

Williams sticks out as a player the Phillies could trim from the 40-man roster at some point this season when they need room. A trade remains a possibility, though it’s unrealistic to expect much in return. Maybe Williams brings back a reliever on the fringes of another team’s bullpen. Another club will eventually take a chance on him because of the tools and perceived upside.

The Phillies’ trade deadline return for Hamels and lefty reliever Jake Diekman in 2015 appeared solid at the time but did not pan out. Jake Thompson was let go by the Phils in 2018 and is currently in camp with the Angels. Alec Asher made only 12 appearances here before being traded to Baltimore. Jerad Eickhoff had a promising start to his Phillies career but needed a change of scenery after an ugly 2019 and signed with the Padres in December. 

The most impactful piece of that trade for the Phillies was Jorge Alfaro, who has provided this organization value because he (and Sixto Sanchez) led to J.T. Realmuto.

When Williams’ time with the Phillies comes to an end, the book will close on that Hamels trade, another in the long list of deals in which quantity didn't trump quality. 

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Gabe Kapler’s non-answer on Nick Williams’ future speaks volumes

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USA Today Images/Jay Biggerstaff

Gabe Kapler’s non-answer on Nick Williams’ future speaks volumes

ATLANTA — Nick Williams has become a forgotten man on this Phillies roster. He was brought back from Triple A when rosters expanded in September, but entered Tuesday night with just one at-bat in 13 games since his return.

Williams was a key piece in the big rebuild trade that sent Cole Hamels to the Rangers in July 2015.

But time seems to be running out on the 26-year-old outfielder and manager Gabe Kapler’s response to a question on Tuesday about Williams’ future seemed to confirm that idea.

The question went like this:

Do you think Nick Williams has a future in this organization?

Kapler’s answer went like this:

“Um, I think he has the talent. He’s a gifted athlete from every perspective.”

That was it.

Kapler did not answer the question directly and that was telling. Williams will probably be on the move this winter, along with Maikel Franco and others.

Williams was in a tough spot from the get-go this season. The team is not comfortable playing him in center field and the acquisitions of Bryce Harper and Andrew McCutchen, both former NL MVPs, left him with no corner spot to get at-bats. Williams was sent to Triple A four times during the season. He .316 with 10 homers, 25 RBIs and a .955 OPS in 190 at-bats at Triple A, but struggled in sporadic action in the majors. Entering Tuesday night, he was hitting .157 with a .459 OPS in 102 at-bats at the big-league level.

“I think he’s put in a lot of work and people have put in a lot of work thinking about him,” Kapler said. “I don’t know. I think he’s struggled with some things this season.”

Williams, at times, has looked beaten and worn down this season. He seems to be the epitome of someone who’d benefit from a change of scenery. His name has come up in trade discussions before and he likely will be shopped this winter. Like Kapler said, Williams has talent. Maybe a different team can unlock it.

For now, don’t look for Williams to get a bunch of playing time over the final two weeks of the Phillies season.

Kapler said Williams was “behind a few guys on our roster.” He mentioned Brad Miller and Jay Bruce as two of them.



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Phillies will be without Bryce Harper's big bat as they begin huge series in Miami

Phillies will be without Bryce Harper's big bat as they begin huge series in Miami

The Phillies will be without their best offensive player as they begin a crucial three-game series against the Miami Marlins on Friday night.

Bryce Harper has been placed on paternity leave as he and his wife Kayla are expecting the birth of their first child imminently.

Baseball's collective bargaining agreement allows a player to spend up to three days on paternity leave. It was not immediately known whether Harper would miss the entire three-game series in Miami or join the team sometime over the weekend. After playing three games in Miami, the Phillies open a three-game series at home against Pittsburgh on Monday night.

Both Miami and Pittsburgh are last-place clubs and the Phillies need to take advantage of these matchups. There are 36 games remaining in the season and the Phils sit two games back in the NL wild-card chase.

Harper has been on a tear lately. He has nine homers, 20 RBIs and a 1.139 OPS in the last 17 games. He belted a go-ahead, two-run homer at Fenway Park on Wednesday night to help the Phillies pull off a two-game sweep of the Boston Red Sox.

The Phillies replaced Harper on the active roster with Maikel Franco.

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