Is Domonic Brown being ordered to be played by the Philadelphia Phillies?
Neither GM Ruben Amaro Jr. nor manager Ryne Sandberg will ever say it, but there can be no other logical explanation for it.
Brown has brought nothing to the table in this season for the team. He has been flirting with the Mendoza Line all season and that’s one ugly 2 a.m. bar option for the team. Right now, Brown is hitting .214 and no .214 hitter should be an everyday player for any MLB team, but that’s what Brown has turned out to be for the Phillies.
For his part, Sandberg has never said a positive word about Brown and when the subject of Brown playing every day is brought up, Sandberg directs the question elsewhere. When Amaro is asked the same thing, he takes the company line he has been preaching since the offseason: Domonic Brown and other high-profile Phillies have to produce in order for this team to win.
The problem with that line of thinking is that Brown is no longer a high-profile Philadelphia Phillies player. He has lowered his profile considerably with two-and-a-half months of terrible play, both at the bat and in the field. In a 6-1 win over the Atlanta Braves on Monday night, Brown almost cost the team a win by failing to go after a ball that hit high off the fence. Brown thought the ball was hit out and gave up on it. Fortunately, the Phillies got out of that inning.
The Phillies do not have many options, but at least in John Mayberry Jr. they have a stopgap who can be more productive than Brown until the Phils can trade for a better outfielder at the deadline.
Getting out of the Brown conundrum will even be harder if Amaro is telling Sandberg to play him no matter what he does or doesn’t do. The manager’s job is to make out the lineup and the GM’s job is to give him the players who can win. When one interferes with the other, that’s a broken relationship.