Deeply mired in a prolonged offensive slide, the slumping Phillies relieved long-serving hitting instructor Milt Thompson of his duties. With the first-place Braves disappearing further and further into the distance, the Phillies hope to rejuvenate their struggling offense by bringing back former hitting coach Gregg Gross.
Much has been made of the Phillies offense during a trying 2010 season. Trade rumors swirl around the team, though the most discussed target is offensive cog Jayson Werth. While Werth's production is down of late, his 2010 lines look nearly identical to the numbers he put up in 2009. Very rich, very large man and baseball philosophy lightning rod Ryan Howard is putting up his usual huge numbers, better in some categories. Yet the Phillies aren't scoring, especially here in July. What gives?
Even if you throw out the differences defensively (which you shouldn't), Chase Utley is the most important player in the Phils lineup. Ryan Howard is really good at driving in runs, at driving the million or so baserunners set out before him safely home. But Chase drives the ship. His steadfast refusal to make outs does nothing but put his team in a position to win.
The Phillies, after so many years of health and good fortune, are going through a tough time. The desperation of this move and perceived desperation on the trade market show a GM unsure of how to proceed, despite the benevolent oversight of one Stand Pat Gillick. The Phillies don't have to time to wait for Chutley's adamantium to heal, despite that realistically being the only thing they actually need.