nick williams

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

usa_nick_williams_phillies.jpg
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.



Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Phillies

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.

Subscribe and rate At The Yard:
Apple Podcasts / Google Play / Spotify / Stitcher / Art19

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Phillies

Phillies 4, Tigers 0: Phillies sweep Tigers to go 6 over .500 for first time in more than a month

Phillies 4, Tigers 0: Phillies sweep Tigers to go 6 over .500 for first time in more than a month

BOX SCORE

DETROIT — The Phillies completed a two-game sweep of the lowly Detroit Tigers with a 4-0 win at Comerica Park on Wednesday afternoon.

The victory gave the Phillies their first three-game winning streak since June 24-27 when they swept a four-game series from the New York Mets. At 54-48, the Phillies are six games over .500 for the first time since June 19.

Starting pitching — and pitching in general — has fueled the Phillies’ modest winning streak. Starters Drew Smyly, Aaron Nola and Vince Velasquez have combined to allow just two earned runs in 18 2/3 innings over the three wins. The bullpen has been impressive, as well.

Solid start for Vinny Velo

He still has completed six innings just once this season, but what Velasquez was able to give the Phillies on Wednesday was very good. He pitched 5 2/3 shutout innings, scattered four hits, two walks and struck out nine. Velasquez’s pitch count was typically high at 110. However, he got 16 swinging strikes, 10 on his riding fastball.

Overall pitching

The Tigers entered Wednesday’s game with the worst record in the majors. The Tigers’ offense entered the day ranked last in the majors with a .233 batting average and second-to-last in runs per game (3.63) and OPS (6.76).

Phillies pitchers did what you’re supposed to do against an offense like that. They combined to give up just one earned run in 24 innings in the two games.

A little long ball

Comerica Park is one of baseball’s biggest, a tough place to hit home runs. The Phillies hit three in the two games. Roman Quinn had a two-run shot on Tuesday night and J.T. Realmuto and Nick Williams both went deep against Jordan Zimmermann on Wednesday to give the Phils a 2-0 lead in the middle innings. Zimmermann is 0-8.

Controlling the long ball

Phillies pitchers have had a huge problem keeping the ball in the yard this season. They gave up 15 homers in four games against the Dodgers at home last week. But the staff rebounded on this five-game trip and did not give up a homer. Of course, Pittsburgh and Detroit have big parks, but the Phillies pitchers weren’t about to complain.

A find?

Lefty Ranger Suarez, a starter throughout his minor-league career, and still a candidate to start down the road, is coming up big out of the bullpen. He pitched 1 1/3 scoreless inning and has allowed just one run in 13 1/3 innings in his last 10 appearances.

Harper's last rest?

Bryce Harper was not in the starting lineup for just the second time this season. He served as the designated hitter on Tuesday night. Monday was an off day in the schedule and so is Thursday. What gives? Harper is fine. Manager Gabe Kapler said he was just trying to get Harper a little extra rest and a day game after a 15-inning game made sense. The hope is that getting three days off in the same week will maximize Harper’s performance the rest of the way. It’s possible that Harper will not get another day off this season, or as long as the Phillies are in the race.

After catching 15 innings Tuesday night, Realmuto got a break from the position. Kapler considered using Realmuto as the DH but the player said he preferred to play the field. So Realmuto started at first base and Hoskins was the DH. Realmuto had played in 23 games for the Marlins at first base over the previous three seasons.

Up next

The Phillies begin an important three-game series against the Braves on Friday night. The Phillies will start Jake Arrieta on Friday, Zach Eflin on Saturday and Nola on Sunday.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Phillies