Sources have reportedly told Matt Gelb of The Athletic that the Philadelphia Phillies will name Josh Bonifay as their new farm director.
The likelihood is that a formal announcement will not come until after the World Series has ended. That could come by Sunday but will definitely happen by sometime next week at the latest.
The 40-year-old Bonifay was born in Macon, Georgia, but attended high school and college in North Carolina. He was drafted twice by the Pittsburgh Pirates, first out of high school in 1996 and finally out of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington in the 24th round of the 1999 MLB Draft.
Bonifay played for seven seasons in the Bucs minor league system, rising as far as the Double-A level. He then moved on to the Houston Astros organization for one final season as a player with Double-A Corpus Cristi in the 2006 season.
After his retirement as an active player, Bonifay returned to the University of North Carolina at Wilmington where he worked towards and received his business degree.
In 2011, Bonifay re-joined the Astros organization, this time as their minor league rookie-level hitting coach in Greenville. He then filled the same role the following season with Houston’s High-A level affiliates at Lexington.
For the 2013 campaign, Bonifay went back to Greenville in order to gain his first managerial challenge. Not only did he gain valuable experience, he took the club to the championship round and was named as the Appalachian League Manager of the Year.
After two years at the helm in Greenville, Bonifay was moved to Low-A Quad Cities to become the manager there. Bonifay then left the Houston organization to take his first big-league opportunity, serving on the Texas Rangers staff during the 2016-17 seasons.
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BONIFAY WITH TEXAS AT 2017 SPRING TRAINING
This past season, Bonifay returned to Houston as the Astros minor league field coordinator. Per Gelb, Bonifay comes with a tremendous baseball pedigree:
“Bonifay, 40, comes from a baseball family. His father, Cam, was Pittsburgh’s general manager for almost a decade and later the director of player development in Tampa Bay. His grandfather, brother, nephew and cousin were players, scouts or executives in baseball.”
With the Phillies, Bonifay replaces Joe Jordan, who had a falling out with the analytics-driven regime of current GM Matt Klentak. Gelb explained the possible reasons for the Bonifay hiring by the Phillies:
“Bonifay, as a manager at Houston’s lowest levels, was exposed to unorthodox ideas. The Astros wanted to institutionalize the on-field use of information beginning at the lowest levels. That way, when players arrived in the majors and encountered even deeper data-driven ideas, they would be conditioned to understand their value. Houston popularized that systemic approach; other franchises — not just the Phillies — are attempting to replicate it…Under Bonifay, the Phillies could expand how they use information in the minors. That, no doubt, was a major talking point as the Phillies canvassed candidates.”
With this major hole in the organization now filled, the Phillies can get back to focusing fully on the makeup of the 2019 big-league team. Free agency begins within the next week or so, and this will be an extremely important off-season for the club.
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