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Rangers reportedly hire former Phillies farm director Josh Bonifay


Josh Bonifay (left) will join the Texas Rangers organization. (Cheryl Pursell)

As the Philadelphia Phillies move their player development system in a different direction, a former high-ranking official within the department is reportedly leaving the organization.

Former farm director Josh Bonifay is joining the Texas Rangers as their director of player development, according to a report by Evan Grant of The Dallas Morning News on Thursday.

The 43-year-old was the Rangers major-league field coordinator in 2017. He previously spent six seasons as a minor-league coach and manager in the Houston Astros organization, before returning to Houston as the team’s minor-league field coordinator in 2018.

Bonifay then headed the Phillies farm system from October 2018 until this August, when it was announced he would be removed from the position and offered a role as a scout. Assistant general managers Scott Proefrock and Bryan Minniti were also demoted at the time, with both being reassigned as “consultants.”

“Change is always difficult but sometimes necessary,” president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said in a statement announcing the moves. “I appreciate and respect Bryan, Scott and Josh for the contributions they have made to the organization, but I believe it is time to take our player development department in a new direction. These staffing changes will provide the opportunity to begin that process.”

More changes to the farm system have been made as Dombrowski’s first season leading the Phillies has come to an end. Minor-league field coordinator Chris Truby was later let go by the organization. Preston Mattingly, former San Diego Padres advance scouting and game planning coordinator and son of current Miami Marlins manager and former New York Yankees legend Don Mattingly, was then selected to replace Bonifay as director of player development in September.

Since Mattingly’s hiring, the team has decided that other members of the minor-league staff will not be returning for next season as well. Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reported Friday that Triple-A Lehigh Valley manager Gary Jones, Lehigh Valley coach and former short-season Williamsport Crosscutters manager Pat Borders and catching coordinator Ernie Whitt did not have their contracts renewed.

All the turnover is a result of the Phillies player development system producing lackluster results as the major-league team attempts to contend. Since the team signaled a transition from a rebuild into a new period by signing big-name free agents Jake Arrieta and Carlos Santana in the offseason before 2018, the struggles to round out the team with young depth has been apparent at points in each year.

Those two players have since left Philadelphia and stars like Bryce Harper, J.T. Realmuto and Zack Wheeler have been brought in, yet the Phillies have still failed to make the postseason for the first time since 2011. The top-end talent has been there, but the holes have not been adequately filled by up-and-coming players.

In order to change course, the Phillies — who have never had a payroll exceeding the luxury tax threshold — would seemingly need to up their spending on quality veteran role players, or get more production from their players on rookie deals.

With all the emphasis on improving the player development, they appear hopeful for the latter in future seasons.

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