The one the Phillies let get away
This isn’t about a player the Phils drafted or signed as an amateur and then traded away, ie., Sixto Sanchez. It’s about a pitching coach who’s five wins away, as I write this, from a World Series ring.
That would be Rick Kranitz, the former Phillies pitching coach who was snapped up by Atlanta after the 2018 season as soon as Philadelphia let him go.
The most memorable part of the Phils’ 2018 campaign, unfortunately, was their September collapse. But it only becomes clearer with time that the team overachieved that year. They still ended the 162-game schedule with a much-improved record over the season before.
And Kranitz, who came onboard as pitching coach in Gabe Kapler’s first year as manager, was a big part of that. But when clubs starting to show interest in Kranitz’s assistant, Chris Young, the Phils acted. They didn’t want to lose Young, so they decided to promote him to Kranitz’s job and allow Kranitz to walk.
A fateful choice
It backfired badly. Young was such a poor fit that he was gone after one season, along with Kapler and other coaches. It didn’t help Young that his 2019 bullpen in Philly was a MASH unit.
In the meantime, Kranitz helped the Braves to 2019 and 2020 National League East crowns. And he’s developing some of the best young (that’s young without a capital “c”) starting arms in baseball, including Max Fried and Ian Anderson. Plus Mike Soroka, when he comes back from a torn ACL.
Meanwhile, the Phillies are miles behind Atlanta, it seems, in everything – except the top of the rotation. That even includes offense, if J.T. Realmuto and Didi Gregorius are gone without decent substitutes to replace them.