Joe Girardi’s staff may soon be close to being completed.
According to a report from Matt Breen of The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Philadelphia Phillies appear to be close to wrapping up their search for a new hitting coach. Breen says that Washington Nationals assistant hitting coach Joe Dillon “has emerged as the team’s likely choice.”
Dillon has spent the last two seasons in Washington under Kevin Long, who was in New York for seven seasons with Girardi. Breen notes that Long’s endorsement of Dillon went a long way for Girardi during this hiring process.
In a profile on Dillon in early 2018, The Washington Post’s Jorge Castillo described him as a forward thinking, innovative mind who has brought new world techniques to the game of baseball. His innovation combined with Long’s endorsement likely helped to push Dillon to the forefront of the Phillies search.
Prior to his time in Washington, Dillon spent two seasons in Syracuse as hitting coach for the Nationals Triple-A affiliate and two seasons with Miami as the Marlins minor league hitting coordinator. Before that, he played 14 seasons of professional baseball and had short major league stints with the Marlins, Milwaukee Brewers and Tampa Bay Rays.
NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Jim Salisbury first reported the team’s intentions to interview Dillon late last week. Other candidates for the position included Mets hitting coach Chili Davis and former Phillies hitting coach Matt Stairs, who spent one season with the team in 2017.
The position became vacant after it was announced that interim hitting coach Charlie Manuel would assume his previous advisory roles within the organization. Manuel was hired in mid-August when previous hitting coach John Mallee was fired due to a sputtering offense.
If the Phillies do ultimately hire Dillon, they will have filled all of their coaching positions for 2020. Salisbury mentions that this may change, however, as there is a chance that some staff members carried over from Gabe Kapler’s tenure follow Kapler to San Francisco.
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