With the Phillies decision to hire former utility infielder Juan Castro as their new infielding coach, just one vacancy remains on Joe Girardi’s staff – hitting coach.
And it appears the Phillies are in the process of filling that vacancy.
Per Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia, the Phillies will interview Washington Nationals assistant hitting coach Joe Dillion “soon.” In an ideal world, Nationals hitting coach Kevin Long – who was Girardi’s hitting coach in New York from 2008-2014 – would be available. He’s not, but it appears that the close proximity of Dillon could help him in this race.
That said, this appears to be more than being around the right guy and on the staff for the team that just won the World Series title. Long called Dillon “the best assistant hitting coach in baseball” in a piece written by Jorge Castillo in The Washington Post that delves into the value he’s brought to the team’s hitting approach.
Dillon played in parts of four major league seasons with the Florida Marlins, Milwaukee Brewers and Tampa Bay Rays between 2005 and 2009. He was the hitting coach for the Syracuse Chiefs, the Nationals Triple-A affiliate, in 2014 and 2015, before a two-year stint as the Miami Marlins minor league hitting coordinator. He became the Nationals assistant hitting coach in 2018, Dave Martinez’s first year as the team’s manager. That also means he was on the Nationals staff in Bryce Harper’s final season with the team.
The Harper connection aside, Dillon – or whoever the next hitting coach is – will be tasked with trying to get the most out of Rhys Hoskins. Hoskins has had the tendency to be streaky during his first two-and-a-half major league seasons, but not to the degree he was after the 2019 All-Star Break, when he hit just .180 with a .679 OPS.
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