The Philadelphia Phillies recently hired Steve Henderson to be their hitting coach and Bart Braun as a special assistant to the General Manager. What is interesting about those to moves is that both men were formerly in the Rays organization. And according to Ken Rosenthal, some think the moves were made to help land free agent BJ Upton.
Two rival executives smell a rat in the Phillies’ pursuit of free-agent center fielder B.J. Upton…Well, maybe not a rat, but a pair of embedded ex-Raysofficials who know Upton quite well recently assumed prominent positions with the Phils…The moves did not go unnoticed by the Upton camp, and in the words of one player agent, “there are no coincidences in baseball.”
Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. acknowledged that the Phillies are interested in Upton, but said hiring Hendu and Braun had nothing to do with Upton.
On the surface, it does seem like too much to be a coincidence. On the other hand, it is hard to believe that the Phillies would hire a hitting coach with the main purpose of just hoping it will entice Upton to sign there.
Then again, it is quite possible that Upton’s agents had already made it clear to the Phillies that if all-else were equal, Upton would favor the Phillies if Henderson is the hitting coach. And if Hendu was already on their short-list of candidates, Upton could be enough to push him over the top.