The Phillies do not make supporting them easy. You would expect the team to be winding upward these days. A lot of things are going well for them. Some of the trepidation surrounding Monday’s game against the Mets lifted when Aaron Altherr and Odubel Herrera were activated from the disabled list.
And one assumes that Manager Pete Mackanin cannot wait to unleash them. If the pair delivers as expected, then the Phillies will have their starting outfield for the next several years. Think about what it will mean to have Odubel in the center, Altherr on the left and Nick Williams in right.
You know that formation will do great things for the Phillies. That is the sort of young core the team have been missing. One can imagine the excitement that will surround the sportsbooks that offer lines for Phillies games if Altherr actually overcomes his hamstring injury to deliver on a consistent basis.
But good news in sports is almost always accompanied by some form of bad news. And the bad news, in this case, comes in the form of Pete Mackanin’s determination to keep Rhys Hoskins in the outfield.
No one doubts Hoskins’ talent. However, it seems like only Mackanin is unable to see the fact that the athlete is best suited at first base. It’s either that or the manager is merely struggling with the prospect of making Tommy Joseph a part timer.
Fortunately for everyone involved, Mackanin’s comments in interviews suggest that he understands the complaints coming his way, though he is not necessarily willing to do anything about them.
Mackanin has been heard saying that he is reluctant to pass Tommy Joseph by because the athlete is leading the team in the areas of RBIs and home runs. Mackanin has also said that he intends to let Hoskins get as much playing time as possible.
Looking at the situation as Mackanin presents it you would think that he has an actual conundrum on his hands. However, that is not the case. It is true that Tommy Joseph leads the Phillies in home runs and RBIs.
But the Phillies are not a very good team at the moment so Tommy’s record doesn’t actually mean anything. Mackanin should just come out and admit that he’s simply being loyal to Tommy. And that isn’t a bad thing. But loyalty doesn’t win games. Most managers understand the importance of making the tough decisions.
A competent manager should be able to see the importance of putting Hoskins on first base. How else will he hone his defense? The athlete needs to become a regular at first base if Mackanin wants him to discard his shaky demeanor and achieve his full potential.
And it isn’t like Mackanin has the time to let this issue consume him. The manager has to handle Altherr cautiously. The trio of Williams, Altherr, and Herrera will be essential for the Phillies to attain stability.
Herrera can be trusted. He has been a consistent component in the outfield since the 2015 season. The hamstring injury he sustained a couple of weeks back became a source of anxiety.
But he has the tenacity to make a quick recovery. Mackanin has a number of important decisions waiting ahead. One wrong move could sink the Phillies.