Monday, June 19, 2006

Great Minds (Or At Least Good Ones)....

Couldn’t have said it better myself (though I did say it as well):

Phil Sheridan in today’s Inquirer:

Manuel hasn't asked for any advice, but here's some anyway: If your job is on the line, and it most assuredly is, then make sure to fire every bullet you have. Do things your way, without worrying about some veteran player's feelings or some rookie's long-term development.

If that means sitting David Bell in favor of Abraham Nuñez, do it. If that means playing Shane Victorino every day, rotating days off for the other outfielders, do it.

What is there to lose? The Phillies are one game under .500, 91/2 behind the Mets. The Yankees are coming to town with Mike Mussina and Randy Johnson both scheduled to pitch. Then it's off to Boston for three against the Red Sox.

Tom Goodman in last week’s Swing And A Miss:

Next, start Shane Victorino at least twice a week. When he plays regularly, he hits. He is not the kind of guy who can come off the bench for one or two AB’s a week. Have him spell Burrell. Let’s find out if he is for real. If he doesn’t produce, then make a decision about him, but based on his lengthy fill-in for Aaron Rowand, he looks like a keeper.

Nunez? This is a tough one. I’d bite the bullet and let him start for a solid week. Let’s see which is the fluke, 2005 or 2006. What have they got to lose? One thing is clear: he can’t produce in his current role. Have him spell Chase once in a while, too. Chase is scuffling right now, his average down nearly 40 points. He could use a break.

It’s time for the Phillies to see who is a keeper and who isn’t. In that regard, I have no problem bringing up minor league players for auditions though I think this approach applies equally to veterans already on the roster. The risk, especially with rookie pitchers, is that their confidence as well as their ERA’s can take a beating if they aren’t quite ready for prime time. Gavin Floyd is clearly exhibit A in that regard. In the end, however, the Phillies might as well know what their players are made of on the inside, too.


Oisín/Wizlah said...

It's a good set of suggestions, but doesn't address my concern - that the players performance is being made worse because the manager has lost the players.

Sheridan notes that Manuel should be firing every bullet he's got, but he didn't manage to do that Saturday night in the 7th when the game was still salvagable. Yesterday he makes the tough decisions - e.g. putting in gordon for five outs - but one game earlier and we could have got two out of three against the devil rays.

Of course, a new manager wouldn't solve everything. but a smarter manager might get better results out of the players - clearly, right now, they need keeping on their toes (and no, that doesn't reflect well on them), and I don't think manuel is the man to do that.

Maybe he proves us wrong. I doubt it though.

Tom Goodman said...

Oisin: I am persuaded Gillick will do nothing regarding the manager until after this season. There are simply too many other problems to solve right now and, frankly, Manuel is not this team's biggest one. Is he a good strategist? Absolutely not. Does he know how to handle a pitching staff? No. Has he assembled the kind of coaches who can work on the fundamentals? Hard to say anyone can these days, but it is fairly clear Charlie has not been successful in this department either. But an intermim manager, which is what we would probably get if Gillick made a move right now, will not solve the bigger problems: pitching, catching, third base, fielding, base-running. Though I said the other day I wouldn't mind seeing such a move, upon reflection I do not believe it will be effective in the short run. In the long run, they need to bring in someone who is better than CM in all the departments in which the Phils are deficient, but even Casey Stengel, Earl Weaver, Sparky Anderson or Abner Doubleday couldn't fix this team right now.

RickSchuBlues said...

Even though Victorino and Dellucci are lesser players than Burrell and Abreu, the Phillies put on enough of a different face when they're in there to actually seem refreshing. I wonder if it's actually a coincidence that they come to life a little more with a different set of faces in the lineup. All the statmongers will tell me it is, but somehow I don't think this team would miss a beat if either corner outfielder got on the wrong plane and wound up in Singapore.

Tom Goodman said...

I like the idea of Victorino playing regularly, spelling one of the three outfielders. And I like the idea of seeing Dellucci get more playing time, too. Would his 29 home runs from last year be a decent substitute for Burrell's output? They sure would. And as much as people want to spout off about Nunez, a solid week of starting is going to do wonders for his bat as well. I have little doubt he is the answer at third base, but the guy who has been there for three plus years hasn't been either!! Where things get dicey is on the mound. There is nowhere to hide when you don't have pitching experience to say nothing of a second or third pitch.

RickSchuBlues said...

After I submitted my last post, I actually considered my assertion than Dellucci was a 'lesser' player than Burrell. I'm with you: he isn't. The only problem is, he's a left-handed bat on a team already loaded with them. Otherwise, I'd say Dellucci would be at least a short-term solution as the left fielder when Burrell bows out.

Rev. Smokin Steve said...

I'm with you. Start shaking up the foundation and give those guys more playing time.

Who knows... maybe the changes will spark some winning and put them back in the hunt. I will admit that is a longshot.

Firing Charlie Manuel now is not the answer. However if he can't right this ship this season, I think we will be having a new manager next year. There's no one out there that can fix this season except him.