Samuel Is Favorite to Replace Lopes

samuel.jpgThere is no arguing Davey Lopes meant plenty to the Phillies.

Shane Victorino is a perfect example. He stole just four of seven bases in 153 games in 2006, then stole 37 bases in 41 attempts in 131 games in 2007, when Lopes joined the Phillies as their first base coach. Victorino stole 132 bases in 161 attempts the past four seasons to rank 12th in baseball.

We know Lopes will not be back next season. Juan Samuel is expected to replace Lopes, and an announcement could come with the next couple days. Samuel was close to returning to the Baltimore Orioles as their third base coach, but sources in Baltimore said they also expect Samuel to join the Phillies.

The Phillies also are trying to fill vacancies on their Minor League coaching staff. Ryne Sandberg is a candidate to manage Triple-A Lehigh Valley. A source said Mickey Morandini is a candidate for a job somewhere on their player development staff.

The Phillies also have a managerial vacancy at Double-A Reading. Class A Lakewood manager Mark Parent, who is well respected in the organization, could move to a higher level to fill one of those jobs.

But Lopes will be missed.

“It’s unfortunate,” said Victorino, who won his third consecutive Gold Glove on Wednesday. “It’s a business decision. It’s something that happens. Would I have loved to have Davey back? Absolutely. Is he going to be missed? I think so. But I hear speculation that a guy like Juan Samuel might be coming in.

“The organization has done a wonderful job in past years, bringing in guys like Sam (Perlozzo) and Pete (Mackanin) after Jimy Williams and Steve Smith left after he won the World Series (in 2008). They find a way to get it done and keep it going. We’ve got to move forward, learn what Davey taught us and carry it into next year.”

The Phillies set a Major League Baseball record in 2007, successfully stealing 87.9 percent (138 for 157) of their bases. They also led the Majors in stolen base percentage in 2008 (84.5 percent), 2009 (81.0 percent) and 2010 (83.7 percent). The Phillies successfully stole 84.3 percent (501 of 594) of their bases from 2007-10. The Boston Red Sox finished second in that span, successfully stealing 78.1 percent.

The Phillies’ 501 stolen bases ranked fourth in the Majors during Lopes’ tenure. The Tampa Bay Rays (639), New York Mets (590) and Los Angeles Angels (520) stole more, but they were thrown out 206, 170 and 218 times, respectively.

“Hopefully it doesn’t affect us too much,” Victorino said of Lopes’ departure. “Hopefully we can stay proficient like we have been. Myself, Jimmy (Rollins) and others have learned from him. We’ll work on it and try to keep doing what he taught us.”

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The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. My Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” is available online, and at Delaware Valley bookstores!

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