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Scott Kingery will open the 2021 MLB season in the minors after the Phillies announced today that he will be optioned to Lehigh Valley. All eyes were on Scott Kingery entering Spring Training, hoping that he would be able to bounce back from a terrible 2020 season where he finished the year batting .159 with 12 runs, 3 home runs, and 6 RBI.
Kingery was in contention to be the Phillies’ starting centerfielder to start the 2021 season but failed to do much of anything during Grapefruit League play. In 44 at-bats, Kingery had just seven hits (.159) with six runs scored, one home run, three RBI, and two stolen bases. He struck out 19 times this Spring and has a .229 OBP and .529 OPS.
Before the 2018 season, Kingery never played a major-league game but the Phillies decided to give him a six-year, $24 million contract. He’s owed $4 million this season, $6 million in 2022, and $8 million in 2023. The Phillies hold club options for 2024-2026.
There’s something seriously wrong with Kingery’s approach at the plate. After altering his swing to provide more lift for the baseball coming off his bat, Kingery lost touch with what got him to the majors in the first place. Sending him to Triple-A to allow him to work on his swing while being a part of an everyday lineup is the best possible option for Kingery moving forward.
Looking at his best year in 2019 where Kingery hit .258 with 19 home runs, 55 RBIs, and held a .788 OPS in 500 plate appearances, there’s plenty of reason to believe that Jetpax SZN will be able to return to a better form than what we have seen of late. I’m not ready to say goodbye to #JetpaxSZN. Kingery, however, will need to prove everyone else wrong.
Given the fact that Kingery is now on the move to the minor leagues, it’s likely that the starting centerfield position will come down to Odubel Herrera and Roman Quinn. The Phillies are down an infielder now for their Opening Day roster. It’s unclear how they plan to carry Herrera, Quinn, and Haseley into Opening Day. They also have Brad Miller, Matt Joyce, and Andrew Knapp on their bench. Don’t be surprised if Ronald Torreyes cracks the roster as a bench option in the infield.
Catcher Rafael Marchan has also been optioned to the minors, which was expected given the fact that JT Realmuto and Andrew Knapp are both on the roster.
We got somewhat of a surprise today as LHP JoJo Romero was also optioned to Triple-A. He pitched well this Spring and I fully expected him to make the Opening Roster. Romero held a 1.04 ERA this Spring over eight games and 8.2 innings pitched. He had two saves and struckout eight. This move clears a spot for Vincent Velasquez to slide into the bullpen and possibly David Hale to make the club as the last bullpen arm. This also means that the Phillies will start the season with just one left-handed arm in the bullpen.
As expected, catcher Christian Bethancourt, and outfielder Travis Jankowski have also been reassigned to minor-league camp.
Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY