Andy MacPhail was less than a week into his official presidency when he made the decision to do something his predecessor should have done three years ago, and out righted Domonic Brown.
All thank you cards may be mailed to:
Mr. Andy MacPhail
Citizens Bank Park
One Citizens Bank Way
Philadelphia, PA 19148
Endearing himself to fans everywhere, MacPhail smartly opted to cut ties with the inconsistent and lackluster Brown, who had gone from the untouchable prospect to the untradeable entity, not for lack of trying. Seriously, they tried and tried and then tried some more to trade him, but by the time 2015 rolled around, Brown was damaged goods.
The Phillies could have moved him in 2012, when there were rumors of a straight-up Brown for Alfonso Soriano deal with the Chicago Cubs, or after the 2013 season, in which he slugged 27 home runs in a break-out (or so one thought), year. But the Phillies wanted too much, somewhere in the neighborhood of two to three prospects. They clearly thought more of Brown than everyone else and were banking on future potential to make the deal for them.
Well, it didn’t quite work out that way and for the past two years in Phillies pinstripes, Brown has been nothing more than a headache, or to use a better metaphor, like that cold you just can’t quite shake.
Most players peak around 26 and have their best statistical years until about 30, when the plateau hits. Brown is 28 and in his career, he’s had just one good year, actually to be fair, one good half. 23 of his career high 27 home runs came prior to 2013’s All-Star Break as did 67 of his 83 RBIs.
Additionally, and throughout his career, Brown showed the potential to be little more than a platoon in the outfield. He couldn’t hit lefties, not even in his best season. It seemed evident he was never going to be able to either.
Beyond poor numbers on the field, Brown drew the ire of Phillies fans when he posted a picture of himself standing in the clubhouse, over the team’s logo, in a Dallas Cowboys jersey. Now, I’m not normally one to care if players don’t root for the cross-town teams. After all, they have hometowns and teams they grew up rooting for just as we all do. So, under normal circumstances, this would be forgivable.
But it wasn’t just that he was a Cowboys fan, it was the way he flaunted it, disrespecting the Phillies logo in the process. For someone who had soured with Brown, actually, who had never quite been enamored with him to begin with, this gesture just offered another reason to want to book him a ticket on the first train out of town.
Fans had been longing for the day that someone in the front office would finally wake up and realize that Brown wasn’t going to pan out. From a pride/wanting to keep your job standpoint, I get it, I do. Brown was the top prospect in all of baseball in 2010 according to Baseball America. He had star power written all over him. Cutting ties with him meant someone having to admit either they screwed up or he was never as good as that ranking suggested. Neither option must have seemed particularly appealing.
Thus far, unlike his predecessor, MacPhail has not been afraid to pull the trigger. He’s not been afraid to make the popular or unpopular decision to get the job done. He realized what Ruben Amaro Jr. and company couldn’t bring themselves to admit, what the fans had known since before the 2015 season even began: Brown wasn’t a part of this team’s future, he was a part of their past.
Brown is likely to become a free agent unless he takes the minor league assignment quite literally no one is expecting him to take. He’ll be free to take his Cowboys-loving, immature-tweeting, too long-swinging, bust of a self, to any team that might have him.
Given the Phillies luck, he’ll find a new home and become the guy he was always meant to be, the guy this developmental farm system screwed up. And you know what, that’s fine. He won’t be here anymore, the team will be free to try to develop a new top-of-the-line power-hitting corner outfield prospect, and really, that is all that matters.
So goodbye Domonic Brown, it was (not) nice knowing you. Everyone in Philly will (not) miss you!