Gabe Kapler's non-answer on Nick Williams' future speaks volumes


ATLANTA — Nick Williams has become a forgotten man on this Phillies roster. He was brought back from Triple A when rosters expanded in September, but entered Tuesday night with just one at-bat in 13 games since his return.

Williams was a key piece in the big rebuild trade that sent Cole Hamels to the Rangers in July 2015.

But time seems to be running out on the 26-year-old outfielder and manager Gabe Kapler’s response to a question on Tuesday about Williams’ future seemed to confirm that idea.

The question went like this:

Do you think Nick Williams has a future in this organization?

Kapler’s answer went like this:

“Um, I think he has the talent. He’s a gifted athlete from every perspective.”

That was it.

Kapler did not answer the question directly and that was telling. Williams will probably be on the move this winter, along with Maikel Franco and others.

Williams was in a tough spot from the get-go this season. The team is not comfortable playing him in center field and the acquisitions of Bryce Harper and Andrew McCutchen, both former NL MVPs, left him with no corner spot to get at-bats. Williams was sent to Triple A four times during the season. He .316 with 10 homers, 25 RBIs and a .955 OPS in 190 at-bats at Triple A, but struggled in sporadic action in the majors. Entering Tuesday night, he was hitting .157 with a .459 OPS in 102 at-bats at the big-league level.

“I think he’s put in a lot of work and people have put in a lot of work thinking about him,” Kapler said. “I don’t know. I think he’s struggled with some things this season.”

Williams, at times, has looked beaten and worn down this season. He seems to be the epitome of someone who’d benefit from a change of scenery. His name has come up in trade discussions before and he likely will be shopped this winter. Like Kapler said, Williams has talent. Maybe a different team can unlock it.

For now, don’t look for Williams to get a bunch of playing time over the final two weeks of the Phillies season.

Kapler said Williams was “behind a few guys on our roster.” He mentioned Brad Miller and Jay Bruce as two of them.

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