Friday, July 22, 2005

Spare Us

That 12 – 1 home stand is not only a distant memory at this stage, it has entered into the nether reaches of aberrations and mirages.

The Phils simply cannot string together a series of games that include good pitching and good hitting on the same day.

There is no point in a recap of yesterday’s effort other than to say you know you are in big trouble when Endy Chavez gets half the team’s hits.

So the Phils drop two of three to a Dodgers team that came into the Bank six games under .500 and sporting a lineup that included a fellow who had been in the Mexican League a month before and a few others who had called Las Vegas home until recently. Hardly the stuff of legends.

* * * * * * * * *

I am not here to bury Tim Worrell, who has enough problems without my piling on, but it is a little strange the Diamondbacks wanted a guy with his recent history on and off the field. Not as surprising, however, as the Phillies interest in the player they received in exchange for the 38-year old reliever. Here is the scouting report on the newest Phil, Matt Kata, from Stats Inc.:

"Kata has somewhat of a gliding swing, making it hard for him to adjust to off-speed pitches. He does have some power. Kata has above-average speed and is an intelligent baserunner. He is a very good second baseman, with above-average range. Kata has experience playing shortstop and third base, although his arm is not really suited to much action on the left side of the diamond.”

You want more? Here is Ed Wade on the newest Phillie:

“We thought that Kata was a good fit for us. Our scouts have always liked him. He opened the season with Arizona last season before he dislocated his shoulder. We just think with his versatility that he has a chance to help this season, and going forward, also.”

Wade is really priceless. We sure are going to miss him.

“A good fit for us.” Where? Spelling Chase Utley? The Phillies already know Kata can’t play on the other side. Half a utility infielder.

“With his versatility…he has a chance to help….” Watch out Tomas and Ramon, there’s a new guy in town and his has at least one good arm.

Finally, you want piling on? Try this on for size: the Phillies also sent cash to Arizona in this deal.

Maybe the Phillies do have a plan and I just can’t see it. Let’s call it the Shawn Wooten Plan.

1. First, acquire a player whose career has been marked by modest accomplishments (to be generous) at his previous known addresses.
2. Next, tell the press your scouts have long coveted him.
3. Further, tell the press he brings versatility to the club.
4. Make sure he doesn’t have one specific position at which he excels.
5. Rarely play him.
6. Release him within six months or designate him for assignment he won’t accept.
7. Feign ignorance when the subject is brought up.


Jeff said...

It's so sad when something that brought such joy to a fan base - and earned a proper name from me ("The Homestand") - can now be seen as an aberration.

George S said...

Trying to help Worrell by trading closer to home is ok by me.

But first Worrell and then Lidle took time off for personal problems. I do not want to dismiss the importance of their problems, but I do have to ask about what's going on with the Phillies manager/coaching staff. Why did the team have to lose games in order to find this out?

In both cases, Manuel/Dubee explained AFTER the fact that they noticed both pitchers were distracted and that was the reason they were getting shelled. Several games were lost as a result. If they knew about this, why did they keep using them? And if they didn't notice something was wrong (and several players had publicly commented that they noticed changes in the two players' moods), why didn't they?

And then the other night, after Tejeda got knocked around in a 10-2 loss, Dubee explained that Tejeda had cut his finger at home earlier that day and couldn't properly grip the ball. Yet he was sent out there anyway. Did Dubee know about it or didn't he? Did the bullpen coach notice anything during warmups?

The Manuel team has probably been directly responsible for a half dozen Phillies losses this year, in my opinion.
They repeatedly used players that were not ready, physically or emotionally (Worrell, Padilla, Lidle, Thome).
They continued to use players in key situations when it was clear these players were not getting it done (Adams, Worrell, Offerman, Bell).
They have made and continue to make numerous baserunning blunders that cost runs and killed rallies. And they have failed to address the appalling lack of fundamental execution by veteran players on the field (plate discipline, moving runners, poor baserunning, getting a bunt down..)

If Wade goes and a savvy GM follows, I wouldn't be surprised at all if the new GM cleaned house. These guys seem to be in over their heads.

Tom Goodman said...

George: The whole Cory Lidle thing came out of nowhere and was indeed mysterious and poorly handled. I realize one must approach such things ("personal i ssues") with delicacy and discretion, but as you point out, why were we told after two disastrous outings that something other than baseball may have been at work here?

It isn't a matter of the Phillies being inept at PR, though they are. It is more a question of being inept at handling things internally. I intend to explore this issue at greater length some day, but for now suffice it to say the management, on field and off, is, as you put it "over their heads."