Gabe Kapler must bench Jean Segura

Jack Fritz
June 20, 2019 - 11:42 am

Jean Segura is making Gabe Kapler look like a fool for defending him tooth-and-nail with Angelo two weeks ago.

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Related: Segura under fire for lack of hustle (again)

And now, the manager has a choice. 

Bench Segura tonight against the Washington Nationals, send a message and show some control over the clubhouse. Or, Kapler can continue to let Segura play because he’s too integral to what they do as a team and they desperately need a win.

The decision should be to bench Segura.

Normally, I’m of the opinion that benching a guy for not hustling is moronic and hurts the team that given day, but this scenario is different.

McCutchen’s injury literally happened two weeks ago and Kapler essentially let it fly. He yelled about it with Angelo in the morning and now how does Segura show that he has the managers back? By not being on second base in the first inning when you’re going up against Max Scherzer. That’s making your manager look bad.

The Phillies should be playing like a desperate baseball team, but instances like Segura last night show that this team hasn’t learned from it’s September of 2018 collapse. The Phillies needed a “tone-setter” after a debilitating loss in game 1 of the double-header. Unfortunately, their “tone-setter” was Segura not being on second base with no outs, trying to scratch-and-claw their way to victory against the best pitcher in the world.

Does it hurt the team for this one game? Sure. Even though Segura is mired in a 7 for 44 slump at the plate in his last 11 games, him being out of the lineup would make this team worse for one game but then again, what’s a game when the clubhouse needs a bit of an attitude adjustment.

Kapler tried the “back him up in the media and hopefully he gets the hint” approach but that obviously didn’t work. Now it’s time to take it a step further.

Really, this is a big moment in the Kapler era. I would bet you players in that locker room feel like Segura should be benched for what he pulled last night. Baseball players know. They also know when their manager lets things slide.

He can’t let this Segura moment slide.

You can be a players manager and still hold guys accountable. Obviously, Charlie Manuel did this with Jimmy Rollins, but even Doug Pederson did this after the Cincinnati loss in his first season when he said that not everyone played hard today. That moment made guys look in the mirror in that locker room, and for the guys that did play hard, made them respect Pederson even more.

Through one and a half seasons, there hasn’t been a moment when Kapler has shown that he can be a players manager but also prove that he’s the dominant figure in that clubhouse. This is a chance to prove that.

So sure, would the Phillies be making their team worse tonight by not having Segura in the lineup? Yes.

But this is about so much more than just one game in Washington in June.

This is about sending a message to rest of your clubhouse that you’re playing time is going to be affected by your actions on the field. Saying this is “unacceptable” to the media can only work for so long, eventually actions have to speak louder than words.

This is a pivotal moment in the Gabe Kapler era, and one that could shape the rest of his tenure here.