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Kapler on club: 'We're not where we want to be'

Left-handed-hitting veteran Morrison inks Minor League deal
@ToddZolecki
July 13, 2019

PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said that he understood president Andy MacPhail’s assessment that the team is more than one player away from winning a World Series, which will affect how the front office treats the July 31 Trade Deadline. If the Phillies felt that they were just one

PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said that he understood president Andy MacPhail’s assessment that the team is more than one player away from winning a World Series, which will affect how the front office treats the July 31 Trade Deadline.

If the Phillies felt that they were just one player away, they might be more willing to trade some of their top young talent. But at the moment, they are inclined to hold onto it. They could make a move that requires them to take on salary, or make multiple, smaller moves.

“We’re not where we want to be right now,” Kapler said before Saturday night’s game against the Nationals at Citizens Bank Park. “But we have the talent here in this room to get where we want to be. And so we keep making minor adjustments along the way, with full trust that the possibility that we get rolling where we want to be in the second half of this season is real. It’s realistic. There is real talent in our lineup.

“Whether we need one piece or multiple pieces is immaterial for me as the manager of this club. My job is not to evaluate what we need from the outside. My job is to work on the talent that we have on the inside, and use all of the resources that we have at our fingertips to make our group that we have currently better.”

Morrison signs Minor League deal

A source confirmed Saturday that the Phillies have signed first baseman and outfielder Logan Morrison to a Minor League contract. He had exercised an opt-out clause in his contract with the New York Yankees.

Morrison batted .246 with 38 home runs, 85 RBIs and an .868 OPS with the Rays in 2017, but just .186 with 15 homers, 39 RBIs and a .644 OPS last season with the Twins. In 164 plate appearances this season with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, the Yankees' Triple-A affiliate, Morrison batted .289 with 15 home runs, 37 RBIs and a .999 OPS.

The Phillies’ bench has been one of the least productive in baseball, so Morrison could be an option for them at some point. Phillies pinch-hitters entered Saturday batting just .170 with five home runs, 16 RBIs and a .543 OPS, which ranked 28th in baseball.

Extra bases

• The Phillies activated catcher J.T. Realmuto from the paternity list Saturday. On Thursday, his wife gave birth to their second daughter. Rob Brantly was designated for assignment to make room for Realmuto on the roster. Brantly had one plate appearance with the club, which came in a pinch-hitting appearance Friday. Kapler said that the Phillies did not consider optioning Andrew Knapp to Triple-A Lehigh Valley, where he might benefit from regular playing time. Knapp is batting .157 with one home run, two RBIs and a .518 OPS in 85 plate appearances.

When a player's contract is designated for assignment -- often abbreviated "DFA" -- that player is immediately removed from his club's 40-man roster, and 25-man roster if he was on that as well. Within seven days of the transaction (it was previously 10 days), the player must either be traded, released or placed on irrevocable outright waivers.

“Because of who he’s been in the clubhouse, who he’s been from the game-planning perspective, as a teammate and because we continue to think that the small sample size that we’ve seen at the Major League level is not indicative of Andrew Knapp’s true talent,” Kapler said.

• Left fielder Jay Bruce did not start Saturday because he has “some mild soreness in both Achilles tendons,” Kapler said.

“We don’t have any long-term concerns at all,” Kapler said. “We’ll likely see him back out there tomorrow.”

• Outfielder Roman Quinn is back to switch-hitting after giving it up earlier this season.

“What he’s learned since he’s been back is that it may limit his opportunities to get on the field from time to time,” Kapler said about Quinn hitting exclusively right-handed.

• Right-hander Seranthony Dominguez is on the IL with a UCL injury in his right elbow. He could begin throwing next week.

• The Phillies placed utility player Sean Rodriguez on the 10-day injured list with a right abdominal strain. He will have an MRI before the end of the weekend. The club recalled outfielder Adam Haseley from Triple-A to take his place on the roster.

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook .