The Phillies are enduring a painful and forgettable rebuilding season, and perhaps that frustration has gotten to franchise legend and part-time broadcaster Mike Schmidt.
Schmidt, a Hall of Famer who spent his entire 18-season major-league career with the Phillies, had a few not-so-complimentary things and one controversial thing to say about Phillies center fielder Odubel Herrera. After signing a five-year, $30.5 million extension this offseason, Herrera is struggling (.243/.283/.403). But thats not what concerns Schmidt most about the 25-year-old.
Speaking to WIP Radio in Philadelphia on Tuesday, Schmidt expressed his doubts that Herrera could become a team leader but not because of his on-field performance or even the flair with which he plays. From the Philadelphia Inquirer:
My honest answer to that would be no, Schmidt said. First of all, its a language barrier. Because of that, I think he cant be a guy that would sort of sit in a circle with four, five American players and talk about the game; or try and learn about the game or discuss the inner workings of the game; or come over to a guy and say, Man, you gotta run that ball out.
Schmidt then reiterated his doubts about Herrera, a Venezuela native, becoming a team leader. [He] just cant be because of the language barrier that kind of a player.
Not surprisingly, that opinion didnt sit well among those around the sport.
Despite a three-game winning streak, the Phillies are an MLB-worst 20-35 and now have this distraction to deal with in the near future.