The Phillies have officially announced the hiring of Kevin Long as the team’s new hitting coach. The former Yankees, Mets and Nationals coach spent the previous four seasons as the hitting coach in D.C. under Dave Martinez. Long will reunite with longtime colleagues Joe Girardi and Rob Thomson and star pupil Bryce Harper.
“I have had a long-standing relationship with Kevin and have seen his work up close and in person for years,” manager Joe Girardi said in a statement. “I truly believe he is the best in the business and will have a huge impact on our offense.”
Long, 54, spent seven seasons working under Girardi as his hitting coach with the New York Yankees from 2008 to 2014. Long will once again serve as a hitting coach under Girardi, this time in Philadelphia.
Long joined the Nationals staff as the hitting coach in 2018. Dillon was Long’s assistant in Washington for two seasons until Girardi hired him to join the Phillies staff.
Prior to the 2021 season, Nationals hitters ranked in the top five in the National League in batting average, on-base, slugging percentage, walks, runs scored, OPS and doubles since 2018. Despite trading big bats in Trea Turner, Kyle Schwarber, Yan Gomes and Josh Harrison, Long’s offense still finished with the best on-base percentage and eighth batting average in MLB post trade deadline.
It seems as though Girardi and Long have patched things up after engaging in a heated in-game argument in June. During a game against the Nationals, Girardi called for the umpire to check then Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer for foreign substances. Scherzer and the Nationals dugout took exception to that. Long yelled over to Girardi and the Phillies skipper left the dugout to call out Long.
Long is free to hire his own assistant as the Phillies also gave Dillon’s assistant Pedro Guerrero permission to seek employment elsewhere, per Scott Lauber of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Guerrero is a holdover from Gabe Kapler’s initial coaching staff.
Update 8:20 p.m on Oct. 11.: Jesse Doughtery of the Washington Post reported that Long was seeking a multi-year deal, which is interesting considering that Girardi only has one guaranteed year left on his contract. Girardi’s deal with the Phillies includes a club option for 2023 and a buyout.
We’ll have more on this story as more details become available.
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