Larry Bowa on the Phillies’ current play: “It’s not big league baseball”

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Phillies bench coach Larry Bowa appeared on 97.5 The Fanatic in Philly today and he ripped the Phillies a new one.

Bowa said he’s angry and that the clubhouse is angry. He said that the young players aren’t stepping up and may not have the best baseball instincts. He called out his pitchers — Roberto Hernandez specifically — for not going deep enough into games and said “if you’ve got a big league uniform on, you gotta go more than five innings.”

He called out Dom Brown for his attitude somewhat subtly, saying Brown comes to the ballpark happy every day and Bowa’s not sure how he can given his poor performance. He also said that if you take away Brown’s good “five or six weeks” last year he hasn’t done much and made it sound like, if he were in charge, Brown wouldn’t be playing. Though Bowa admitted that there aren’t many alternatives.

He called this past homestand the worst he’s ever seen and summed it up by saying that the Phillies just aren’t playing big league baseball right now.

Go here to listen to the entire interview.

It’s not often that you hear someone call out a team from the inside like this. It happens, but it’s rare. It’s even more rare when it’s a coach as opposed to the manager. Larry Bowa has a track record, of course, but he’s not in charge. And you have to wonder how happy Ryne Sandberg and the Phillies’ brass is that he ripped the club in public like this.

MLB executive: Bruce Maxwell’s kneeling may keep him from finding work, not his arrest

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In September 2017, former Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell became the first major league player to kneel during the national anthem, joining the handfuls of NFL players who had been doing the same to protest police brutality and racial inequality. Maxwell’s effort was laudable, but he got into trouble a month later when he was arrested for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and disorderly conduct. Maxwell allegedly pointed a gun at a food delivery person.

Maxwell, 27, played sparingly for the Athletics in 2018 and then was designated for assignment at the beginning of September. He officially became a free agent on November 2 and has had trouble finding work in the month-plus since.

Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Maxwell fired his agent, Matt Sosnick on Thursday because he’s still jobless. According to an unnamed MLB executive Slusser spoke to, “It’s the kneeling thing that might keep him from getting another job, not the arrest. Owners aren’t going to want to deal with that whole anthem issue.”

That makes a lot of since since abusive players haven’t had too much trouble finding new work otherwise. Addison Russell, Jeurys Familia, and José Reyes, among others have either stayed with their teams or quickly found new work. Given the relatively weak catching market, had Maxwell only had the assault charge, there is no doubt he would have been signed to be a backup catcher somewhere.

In the NFL, Colin Kaepernick — who popularized kneeling during the anthem — has remained unsigned even though teams have opted to sign and start clearly inferior quarterbacks like Mark Sanchez, Josh McCown, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jay Cutler, Matt Barkley, and Sam Bradford, among many others. Team owners tend to run conservative in terms of politics, so they may not like the protest to begin with, then there is the public blowback to signing such a player as those who dislike such protesting make up a slight majority in the U.S., according to various polls including one done by the Washington Post.

It’s worth noting that Maxwell has a career .240/.314/.347 triple-slash line in 412 plate appearances. We’re not talking about J.T. Realmuto or Buster Posey here. That being said, there have been 15 other catchers to have put up a lower aggregate OPS since 2016 (min. 400 PA). One of those players, Derek Norris (.600 OPS since 2016), signed a minor league contract with the Tigers just three months after being suspended by Major League Baseball for violating its domestic violence policy. Makes you think.