For as long as Domonic Brown has been a member of the Philadelphia Phillies organization, we’ve been hearing how good he is going to be. At various times throughout his tenure in the Phillies’ farm system, he has been ranked as high as the No. 4 prospects in baseball, with analysts saying Brown is going to be an outstanding power hitter and an amazing defensive presence on the field.
At some point.
When he underperformed in 2012, his first season with any serious playing time, people said it was “growing pains” and that he did show glimpses of what he could do. Their claims seemed justified as in 2013 Brown had a breakout season. He batted .272 and finished the year with 27 home runs and 83 RBIs. He was one of the only Phillies who was considered untouchable as the trade deadline neared, and it seemed he had finally come into his own. Or so we thought.
This season, Brown has been a disaster. He is batting an anemic .218 with a total of five home runs, and has been benched by manager Ryne Sandberg for a so-called “little mental break” to try to regroup.
And his play in the outfield hasn’t been much better, with him making obvious mistakes and seemingly not having his head in the game. It got worse last Wednesday when Brown misplayed what should have been an inning-ending line drive that resulted in the Miami Marlins scoring three runs and the Phillies losing 3-2.
The few Phillies fans who were in attendance let him know their displeasure, as boos rained down on him only a year after he was being applauded for making his first All-Star team.
Enough is enough. It is time for the Phillies to cut their loses and let Brown go. It is obvious that he will never live up to the potential he seemed to have earlier in his career, and is now just a body taking up space in the dugout. His mental state is just not in the right place, and it’s affecting his hitting and what he does in the outfield.
At a time when the Phillies are fighting for their playoff lives, where every win is crucial, they can’t have a player who is in a bad place like Brown on the team. It can become like a cancer, infecting the rest of the players.
Brown’s difficulties are a big part of the reason the Phillies signed Grady Sizemore to a minor league deal. Between him and Reid Brignac, who is on the DL, there are other, better options for the Phillies in the outfield. The signing of Sizemore might be a wake-up call for Brown, but odds are it won’t help that much.
At this point, the Phillies won’t get much for Brown in any deal, and will never see a return on the investment they put into him. However, it’s time for both the Phillies and Brown to move on, which is a shame since all indications are that Brown is a decent guy off the field.
But in baseball, that just isn’t enough and tough decisions have to be made. This is one of them.