The Phillies announced Monday that Scott Kingery (concussion) was reinstated from the injured list. Kingery was also outrighted to Triple-A Lehigh Valley, meaning he cleared waivers and is no longer on the 40-man roster.
Outside of a strong first-half of 2019, Kingery has struggled mightily throughout his big-league career. Following a bout with COVID-19, Kingery slashed .159/.228/.283 in a disappointing 2020 campaigned shortened due to injuries. He came into spring training this season with a chance to win the starting job in center field, but it became evident that the former Phillies top prospect needed to spend time at the alternate site to make a few adjustments to his swing.
The plan was for Kingery to work with Phillies minor-league hitting coordinator Jason Ochart.
“Just getting in a better position to hit,” Ochart told Phillies Nation’s Ty Daubert. “Getting his bat path to a position where he’s able to make more contact and hit more line drives and cut down some of the swing-and-miss.”
The problem was that Kingery had to move back-and-forth between the big leagues and the minors once the Phillies dealt with a rash of injuries. Since the 40-man roster is heavy on pitching, the team needed Kingery on the bench when guys like Jean Segura, Roman Quinn and Didi Gregorius were placed on the IL.
Kingery went 1-for-19 while up with the big club and landed on the concussion IL after running into a wall during a game against the Toronto Blue Jays in Dunedin, Flordia. He wasn’t good enough to earn regular at-bats with the big club, but that’s exactly what he needed in order to get his career on track.
The Phillies are willing to wait as long as they have to ensure Kingery’s swing is fixed. They have no choice. The team probably would have been ecstatic if another club claimed him. The 27-year-old is signed through 2023 and is owed $14 million following this season.
It’s not surprising that teams were unwilling to allocate the financial resources and a roster spot needed to take a shot at Kingery. He does not have enough MLB service time to reject his minor-league assignment and still be able to collect the remaining money left on his contract.
The move means there is an open spot on the Phillies’ 40-man roster. It seems likely that Team USA standout and current IronPigs infielder/outfielder Luke Williams could get the call and replace Nick Maton on the active roster — who was optioned to Lehigh Valley following Sunday’s game.
Nobody would have expected Kingery to clear waivers in year four of his historic pre-arbitration extension. After all, he was expected to be a franchise cornerstone as the Phillies emerged from a lengthy rebuild. Now, Kingery is tasked with fighting his way back into “The Show.”
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