(Photo Courtesy of nbcsports.com)
Yesterday, the Philadelphia Phillies officially announced their first move of the offseason, in hiring their new hitting coach with Kevin Long. Long was most recently the hitting coach for the Washington Nationals, and he is likely to be the first of many offseason moves made by Dave Dombrowski and the entire Phillies organization. The 54 year-old will be replacing former hitting coach Joe Dillon, who was fired on the last day of the season, before the Phillies matchup against the Miami Marlins.
The hiring of Long will reunite the coach with both Phillies manager Joe Girardi and star player Bryce Harper. Long was the hitting coach with the New York Yankees from 2007 to 2014, while Girardi was the manager of the Yankees from 2008 to 2017. Girardi had some praise to say about the new hitting coach for the Phillies, as he compared him to Alabama head coach Nick Saban. In a press conference on Zoom yesterday, Girardi said the following, “There’s a lot of proteges, but only one Nick Saban. There’s one Kevin Long.” As stated previously, Long will also be reunited with Bryce Harper. He was with the Washington Nationals organization from 2018 to 2021, while Bryce Harper left for Philly in the offseason after that.
Overall, I am personally a huge fan of this hire by the Phillies. They brought in a guy who has worked with their current manager in Girardi, and their top player in Bryce Harper. Long has also provided a solid resume as a hitting coach, and should be a massive improvement over Joe Dillon. As Joe Girardi said, “There’s one Kevin Long,” and the Phillies now have him as their new hitting coach.