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Joe Girardi’s frustration calls into question the front office’s inactivity

Just exactly what is this team doing right now?

MLB: Philadelphia Phillies-Workouts Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

By now, you have probably seen and heard about the confrontation between Jean Segura and Joe Girardi yesterday. While we won’t know too much about the specifics about what exactly happened since neither of the participants want to talk about it, Girardi himself got pretty heated about it when asked during the postgame press conference.

It’s got to be frustrating for Girardi since we can pretty safely deduce a lot of it stems from the lack of defensive prowess the team has showed all season coming up and biting them several times over the weekend, but this is the first time where the optics of the situation were so raw from Girardi for everyone to see. Bob Wankel from Crossing Broad wrote about this and hits the nail on the head with it:

Injuries, including a late scratch of Andrew Knapp, along with the team’s failure to make a single roster move on a number of banged up position players, left Girardi with precisely zero healthy options off the bench...(t)he current roster composition of this bunch is that of a critically flawed team, a team with talent deficiencies exacerbated by some unquantifiable missing “it” factor.

This is where the inactivity of the front office needs to be called into question. As the team has struggled with injuries and depth, what exactly are Dave Dombrowski and Sam Fuld doing to help Girardi field a team that can weather these types of storms?

No manager should be held captive by a roster that has no one (!) healthy on the bench. That is almost inexcusable of the team to not give options - any kind of options - in case an injury happened. The last minute change of taking Andrew Knapp out of the lineup due to a sore hamstring is something that will happen from time to time, but Didi Gregorius has not played since Wednesday and even had to exit the game early that night. Bryce Harper and J.T. Realmuto going down on the same day is not out of the ordinary, but with the case of Gregorius, why is the team continuing to go day-to-day with him, leaving the manager at a roster disadvantage on a daily basis? There was a bit of an excuse with Realmuto and Harper’s injuries as they were hurt during a night that would be followed by a day game, meaning getting someone there in time was near impossible, but with Gregorius, it is quite negligent to continue leaving the manager shorthanded. Five days should be enough time to decide whether or not to put Gregorius on the injured list.

The team’s inactivity also makes you wonder about the continued rostering of players like Scott Kingery and David Hale. Hale’s purpose on the team is obvious - he’s not someone you want to bring into a high leverage situation, but a pitcher who can grab those innings when a game out of hand does provide the team with some value, saving the more trustworthy relievers for another day. Kingery, though, presents another mystery. Yesterday, he had to leave the game and enter the concussion protocol, which is unfortunate. Including yesterday’s game though, Kingery is 1 for 19 this year with 12 strikeouts. Nine of his last twelve plate appearances have ended with him walking back to the dugout from the batter’s box. There isn’t really anything else to say except:

Kingery isn’t a major league player anymore. He is no longer worthy of holding a spot on the 40-man roster, no matter how much flexibility he gives the manager. Why is he still here?

His holding on to that 40-man spot is the reason he keeps getting called up as he wouldn’t require a roster move, but what is it the team still sees in him? He clearly cannot play at the major league level anymore, so continuing give him at bats is sending the team in reverse. Dombrowski was not the person who gave the player the contract extension, so he has no personal gain to be had by continuing to give him that spot. Why is this team so gun shy about not designating him for assignment and getting someone else who at least could provide some competent major league value? Teams that win, teams like the Dodgers and Rays and, most recently, the Giants are constantly churning the bottom of the roster in order to find the right fits for players. They’re constantly building depth up in order to be able to play guys for a few days at a time in case a injury depletes the 26-man roster.

For example, just recently, the Rays grabbed a player, Wyatt Mathisen, from Arizona for cash considerations. Now, Mathisen is not that great. The past two years, in 84 plate appearances, his .159/.298/.290 line might even suggest he’s not good at all. However, before that, in over 2,000 plate appearances in the minors, he slashed .272/.360/.396 while playing three different positions. By giving him a shot at their Triple-A club, Tampa Bay is building up depth in case something happens where Mathisen can be called up quickly, then just as easily designated for assignment without fear of the team missing out on something great if he goes to another team. What this example, as weak as it may be, shes is that it’s this kind of roster churn that the current Phillies front office is not doing. It’s something that could help the team weather a few storms, storms that are currently happening right now, by getting freely available talent to see what they can do and if they cannot perform, they can be discarded just as easily as the previous team did. It’s how a team gets lucky on waiver claims from time to time. You can’t hit the “jackpot” if you don’t roll the dice.

Now, I’m not calling for the team to sign every single player that gets waived by a team. They’re getting waived for a reason. But to see them doing nothing to help the current lack of depth on the 40-man roster, as well as address the roster issues that are plaguing the current roster, is disheartening. Whatever shackles have been put on them financially should start to get loosened now that full capacity crowds will begin to flow into the stadium, so that excuse should fall by the wayside. With the team in position to make a run at the division thanks to slow starts and uneven play by their division counterparts, the time to sit and observe is just about over. There needs to be a plan and that plan needs to begin moving.