April 28, 2015
UPDATE [5:10 p.m.] - According to Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Inquirer, outfielder Domonic Brown failed to report to triple-A Lehigh Valley on Tuesday after he was activated off the disabled list and surprisingly optioned to the minors rather than joining the Phillies in St. Louis.
Domonic Brown did not report today to Lehigh Valley. He has 72 hours to join team after being optioned.— Matt Breen (@matt_breen) April 28, 2015
Remember when Domonic Brown was rated as one of the top prospects in baseball? When he was considered untouchable in any Roy Halladay trade discussions? When he started off his career by lacing a double off the top of the wall?
Yeah, all of those things seem well in the past.
Brown’s 20-day rehab assignment officially ended today after being sidelined on the 15-day disabled list with Achilles tendinitis that dated back to spring training, and the Phillies had a decision to make: Bring him up to the big leagues or option him to the minors, prolonging his stay in Allentown.
They chose the latter.
#Phillies pull the plug on Domonic Brown's rehab option but keep him in triple-A. One scout described him as "cruising" in Lehigh Valley— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) April 28, 2015
In a year when very little is interesting about the Phillies, this is the rare roster move that might generate some serious conversation. On one hand, Brown has been downright terrible in the minors. It’s not easy to positively spin the 27-year-old’s numbers since he’s been on assignment. Between Clearwater and Lehigh Valley, Brown has gone 10-for-52 (.192) according to my rough math.
On the other hand, and with all due respect, have the Phillies seen their outfield hit (particularly the right fielders)? Not only does Grady Sizemore have a zero percent chance of contributing to the next contending Phillies team, he’s currently hitting .133 in 30 plate appearances. Brown was one of the worst regulars in baseball last year after a semi-breakout 2013 season fueled mostly by one amazing month, but he should be getting something close to everyday at-bats on this roster.
There’s an argument to be made that Brown can best work out the kinks outside of the spotlight in Triple A. That’s both perfectly reasonable and could be playing into the Phillies’ thinking here. In fact, David Murphy of the Daily News wrote that Brown has been spending the last couple of days working with Charlie Manuel and new swing mechanics.
If that is the case, the Phillies probably should’ve at least given him a warning and explained the situation to him. Eight hundred miles apart on Monday, Brown and Ryne Sandberg clearly weren’t on the same page. From CSN’s Jim Salisbury:
“We haven’t had official conversations about him, but from what I’ve seen I don’t know if he’s ready for major-league pitching or to come up and give us a punch, the way things have gone for him there,” Sandberg said late Monday afternoon.
This, from The Express-Times’ Greg Joyce just a day before:
"I got two more days and then I go back up," Brown said. "(Monday) and Tuesday and then I'll be going up. I'm excited."
Brown will continue to work on his swing in the minor leagues, but the Phillies should be hoping to call him back up pretty soon.
That is, unless they’ve given up on him already.