As first reported by Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com, the Phillies dismissed hitting coach Milt Thompson on Thursday evening.
As with most coaching fires in baseball, Thompson was more of a scapegoat than anything. The third-place Phillies have been hit by serious injury after serious injury this season and their struggles have more to do with the disabled list than the guy yelling “stay back in the box” from the dugout.
But that is life in the major leagues — a life Thompson knows well. The 51-year-old played in the major leagues for 13 seasons and retired in 1996 with a .274/.335/.372 career batting line.
Greg Gross has been promoted from his post as Triple-A Lehigh Valley’s
hitting coach and will fill in for the rest of the year. The Phils are seven games back of the Braves in the NL East.
The White Sox won’t make a bid for free agent outfielder Bryce Harper, Bruce Levine of 670 The Score reports. Believed to be the favorites to land shortstop Manny Machado in free agency, the White Sox watched him ink a 10-year, $300 million contract with the Padres. The club is apparently content with its roster otherwise.
Harper would certainly be an upgrade in the outfield, which currently features Adam Engel, Nicky Delmonico, and Jon Jay. It will soon feature prospects Eloy Jiménez and Luis Robert.
Last season, Harper hit .249/.393/.496 with 34 hom eruns, 100 RBI, 103 runs scored, and 13 stolen bases in 695 plate appearances. He led all of baseball, drawing 130 walks. Harper is also a six-time All-Star who won the 2012 NL Rookie of the Year Award and the 2015 NL Most Valuable Player Award.
The Phillies are still believed to be the favorites to sign Harper and the club is confident it will land him, Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Daily News reports.