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Considering how much the Philadelphia Phillies can struggle to score runs, it figures they would dip into their farm system for one of the best prospects in baseball.
Yet, they have been unwilling to promote 22-year-old Domonic Brown(notes), who is batting .346/.390/.561 with five homers in 107 at-bats for Class AAA Lehigh Valley. His overall numbers — .980 OPS, 20 homers, 46 extra-base hits — get even better when you include his time at Class AA.
But they have a reason.
Thanks to Dave Huppert, manager of Lehigh Valley, we gained a little insight into how the Phillies major league front office feels about Brown.
"I don't think Domonic would be the guy if somebody went on the [disabled list]," Huppert said. "If it's only for a short period of time, I think it would be [John] Mayberry. I don't think they want to start the clock."
When Huppert refers to starting Brown's "clock," he meant the Phillies don't want to waste a moment when they control how much money Brown makes. The sooner Brown comes up, the sooner and more easily he qualifies for arbitration and free agency — statuses that escalate players salaries.
OK, Ruben, so order Charlie Manuel to start Brown instead of Raul Ibañez, who hasn't been productive in more than a year — Ibañez's contract and other factors be damned.
If Huppert is right, it's still all about money — though I doubt the Phillies' bigwigs appreciate him making that point so clearly by talking out of school.
Huppert has managed in the minors for 21 seasons, including the past five in the Phillies organization. I appreciate his honesty (and so does this man). But it's not the first time Huppert has been so blunt. Heck, it's not the first time in the past week.
After a recent victory, Huppert explained why he prefers managing young players — instead of the older player who just might be hanging on — at the Triple-A level.
Via the Morning Call:
"At this level you can get too many six-year free agents, and they're all looking for a job for next year, trying to put numbers up for themselves, not thinking about moving runners over and doing the little things it takes to win," Huppert said.
"For me, six-year free agents are a whore for hire. Sorry to use the word but that's what they are; guys that keep putting up numbers and move from team to team."
Sorry? Don't apologize, Dave! Makes sense to me. Hey, never say you're sorry (to the public, anyway) simply for telling it like it is.
- Dave Huppert