Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Domonic Brown, who has been on the team’s 15 day DL since experiencing soreness in his left Achilles on March 19, was visibly excited last Sunday. And why not? His rehab assignment was almost done and Brown was ready to return to the majors, telling reporters after a game in Lehigh Valley:
“I got two more days and then I go back up. Monday and Tuesday and then I’ll be going up. I’m excited.”
To which Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg had this… interesting response on Monday.
“We haven’t had official conversations about him. But, uh, from what I’ve seen, I don’t know that he’s ready for major league pitching, or to come up and really give us some punch with the way things have gone for him there. So, that’s, we’ll have more conversations with tomorrow being his last day on the rehab assignment.” (quotes via Philly.com)
Not exactly what you might call a vote of confidence, huh?
Well, it turns out those “conversations” resulted in Brown, two years removed from being named an All-Star, being sent down to the Iron Pigs instead of being moved back up to the Phillies.
When you look at his stats while on his rehab assignment, you can’t really blame Sandberg for his decision. Brown played in 14 games between Lehigh Valley and Class A Clearwater and averaged a measly .139 during that time with a single extra-base hit and six strikeouts.
When combined with his less than stellar production in 2014 which saw him hit .235 with an OBP of .285 in 144 games with the Phillies, you can see why Sandberg would be less than enthusiastic about having Brown in his outfield again, especially with rookie Odubel Herrera showing so much promise.
So does this mean that the Phillies may have finally had enough of Brown and his underwhelming baseball career?
It seems like every season fans hear about Brown and how this could be his “breakout season” or that this is the year he finally lives up to his potential. But other than 2013, which saw him average .272 with an OBP of .324 and an OPS of .818, it has been nothing but disappointment and excuses. Brown’s entire time with the Phillies has been a combination of injuries, mediocre hitting and a total lack of defensive skills that even resulted in him being named the worst left fielder in baseball in 2014 by The Sporting News.
Even worse, the fans in Philadelphia have never really embraced Brown the same way they did other players. “Average”, “overrated” and “whiner” are terms that people use regularly when talking about Brown and his lack of production on the field. It would seem many have just lost patience waiting for Brown to be as good as advertised.
With the Phillies in full rebuild mode, this season is going to be filled with changes as the roster is overhauled and players come and go. So unless Brown can get his baseball house in order and make his hitting more consistent while improving his defense, he might want to get comfortable in Lehigh Valley. He may be staying with the Iron Pigs for quite a while.
It is almost certain that GM Ruben Amaro Jr. will be asked not return to the Phillies next year and that Sandberg might not even make it through the 2015 season with his job intact. Unfortunately for Brown, these two have been his entire cheering section in the Phillies clubhouse for years now and with them gone, there just might not be a place for Brown in Philadelphia any more.
Which, if you ask many fans, is just fine with them.