PHILADELPHIA >> The
first formal indication of Matt Klentak's offseason disposition was revealed
Monday: He will be patient … to a point.
Confirming what sources
revealed Sunday, the Phillies have officially released Steve Henderson, who had
been their hitting coach since 2013. However, despite finishing 20 games below
.500, the rest of the staff will be retained, including Larry Bowa (bench),
Rick Kranitz (bullpen), Bob McClure (pitching), John McLaren (catching), Mickey
Morandini (first base) and Juan Samuel (third base).
Manager Pete Mackanin is
under contract through the 2017 season. The Phillies hold a club option to
extend that agreement through 2018.
Henderson, 65, played for
the Mets, Cubs, Mariners, A's and Astros and was a .280 major-league hitter in
16 major-league seasons. But the Phillies hit .240 this season, the
second-worst average in baseball. Their 1,376 strikeouts were the third most in
the National League.
Mackanin supported Henderson
throughout the struggle, often mentioning how he was teaching the proper things
around the batting cage. The message was not getting through, however, and the
manager also routinely lamented a poor team-wide approach at the plate,
particularly with two strikes.
“I think our group as a
whole has done a really nice job this year,” Klentak said in a recent
interview. “We talked a lot in spring training about the energy level, staying
positive, particularly with a young group. And we’ve had one of the youngest
rosters all year long. The effort level of this team and this staff has been
very good. I won’t say we’re going to commit to anything at this stage for next
year, but at the end of the year Pete and I will sit down and talk about it.
“Generally speaking, I’m
When asked if he alone would
make those decisions, the general manager replied, “Pete and I will talk about
The decision to part ways
with Henderson was made Sunday and confirmed by sources. Though coaching-staff
changes immediately after Game No. 162 are common in baseball, it's likely the
Phillies chose to wait a day rather than to allow any announcement to clutter
their tasteful tribute to Ryan Howard, who has played his last Phillies game.
Though Klentak appreciated
Henderson's effort, the results were too drastic to ignore.
“That’s a challenge in any
organization, separating process from results,” the general manager said. “The
effort level has been there, not only from Steve, but from the whole staff.
They can only play the players that are on the roster. Some players are going
to naturally be better at certain things than others. It’s just the reality of
business and the way things work. I agree with what Pete has said. It’s
certainly not for a lack of effort.”
Klentak remains supportive
“Our relationship has really
grown as the year has gone on, not surprisingly,” he said. “Our communication
has been very open. I think he’s done a pretty good job. It’s not easy to keep
a team that’s likely out of contention playing hard until the very end, but
this team continues to fight every day. That’s a very good sign as an