Friday, June 16, 2006

Time To Make Some Changes

There’s nothing to be gained by standing on ceremony; time to start cleaning house. Don’t wait another day.

Begin with the coaching staff. Can all of them. Seriously. Time to give four other organization lifers a shot. Bring ‘em up now so they can get the same on-the-job training as their predecessors. Then, say goodbye to Charlie and let John Vukovich take over as interim manager. That’s right, Vuke. The cycle says it’s time for a hard-ass (Francona, Bowa, Manuel, Vukovich) and, after all, it’s only temporary. If he’s smart, he’ll decline the job, but I am sure they can persuade him as an organization man if they assure him it’s only for three months. Whomever they chose, for god’s sake don’t discuss it with Dallas Green.

Next, call up Carlos Ruiz and to make room for him send down Chris Roberson (more on why later). Then, sit Sal Fasano, who cannot throw, can barely catch, cannot run and is inexplicably hitting well above the Mendoza line for now, but give him time. Here’s all you need to know about Sal: his fan club and moustache are his two biggest assets. If bouncing throws or delivering them high and wide to second base were a virtue, this guy would be a perennial All-Star. I’ve read where the Phillies thought Ruiz was overmatched at the plate. Thirty-five AB’s and they are ready to bury him. That’s the Philadelphia Phillies way!!

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.

As mentioned, when Ruiz arrives, send down Chris Roberson, not Chris Coste. Why, you ask? Because Pat Gillick has general-managed himself into a corner, leaving the club with one spare infielder besides Abrham Nunez.

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.

So could we.

Then, there is the pitching staff. Well, there ain’t much wiggle room here but there are a few options. One guy who’s act has grown old is Brett Myers. (Commenter RickSchuBlues had these astute observations of Myers’ character: Myers is such a putz. Really, I can't stand the guy. I'm willing to tolerate him when he's winning, but he just is so dislikeable. He's the kind of guy who makes his own problems and then wants to glare at the fielders and umpires. That's real class for you.)

Did you like his performance Tuesday night when he took two straight throws back from Chris Coste with his bare hand? The next time he shows up one of his teammates during a game, go out there and take the ball away from him. That might make an impression (though I doubt it.)

Trade Rheal Cormier, as Jason Weitzel among others has suggested numerous times. He isn’t coming back and for once I’d like to see the Phillies get something for a pitcher, even if it’s a bat boy or clubhouse attendant. His trade value is very high right now, too, which ought to turn on the light bulb for the alleged brain trust.

When Jon Lieber comes back from being out of shape, tell him he has dropped to number four on the depth chart, just ahead of Ryan Madson (for now), not even Cole Hamels. Note to Charlie: forget that nonsense about players not losing their spots or roles due to injury. In Lieber’s case, he lost it prior to his injury.

Here’s one from left field (actually, the bullpen is in right center): try Geoff Geary or Clay Condrey as a starter. Why not? What’s the worst that could happen, they only go three innings? The roster already includes four middle relievers in addition to either one of them plus Rhodes and Gordon. As it is, the alleged brain trust is either bringing up a guy from Reading who probably isn’t ready for the big leagues or considering two guys at Scranton who’ve been up to The Show and bombed.

Might as well think outside the old box because this season is rapidly turning into a disaster and it isn’t likely to get any better as the Phillies take on the entire AL East during the next few weeks.


J. Weitzel said...

"Try Geoff Geary or Clay Condrey as a starter."

Mayday! Goodman is bailing out!

kuff6 said...

"Losing is a disease. As contagious as polio."

Tom Goodman said...

Not to worry, Jason. Mayday will be when I suggest they re-sign Terry Adams.

Matt said...

Kuff, nice to see you're hitting all of the blogs to keep the lines going. Good stuff, man.

kuff6 said...

Seemed appropriate. I'm thinking the only way our Phils could have looked more amateurish over the past 3 days is if Bell got nailed in the jewels by a line drive, like the 3B in The Natural with the voice over "Imagine yourself on a boat, gently rocking, gently rocking..."

Pawnking said...

At least you're not suggesting anything drastic...

Tom Goodman said...

I really think some serious measures are called for. Let everyone know things are going to change. Did Gillick do that in the off-season? Trading Thome is seen by many as a bold move, but, frankly, it was the most obvious move Gillick had to make. They had Howard already and didn't want a healed Thome playing ahead of him. Other than that deal, which was a good one, what else has he done? Franklin? Santana? Gonzalez?

I should re-read my own posts, I guess. Prior to the start of the season I wrote that Gillick was giving up on 2006. Nothing has changed my mind, or his, I suspect. I guess he can take his time getting ready for 2007, but I don't see why he shouldn't start now.

As for the Geary/Condrey suggestion... Until he arrived here, Condrey had as many starts as relief appearances in his brief career in the bigs. Could he be worse than most of what we are throwing out there night after night?

Oisín/Wizlah said...

vuke is interesting. at least we know that the 3b coach would get the job done. No one would screw up sending on a runner under vuke.

manager and the coaches and ruiz. that'll do for now. Now that we don't have to deal with the bloody mets till august, it would be nice to put our house in order without constantly looking at what our east coast neighbours are doing.

Rev. Smokin Steve said...

I agree we do need to make the real changes happen for 2007.

And I completely agree on Ruiz. They are bailing on him too soon. He can't be that much worse at calling a game than Lieberthal.

Brett Myers has to cut that shit out.

John Salmon said...

They Ruiz situation is typical of the Phils' lack of a plan. If you think you can win this year, you make, uhh, moves. If you don't, among other things you see if Ruiz can hit. Give him 200 AB's, at least. Not sure if Gillick is afraid of going over his cellphone minutes ir what. If anyone has clear idea of what Gillick's thinking is, I'd love to hear it.

Anonymous said...

How can you leave Howard out of this mix? He belongs in the AL (designated hitter) and will likely bring front line pitching in return.

RickSchuBlues said...

I don't disagree with a single idea presented here, Tom, but you know and I know that nothing but nothing will happen. That's the saddest part, eh?

Yesterday, the Padres fired their hitting coach, Dave Magadan. I don't know anything about the situation there, or if Magadan was a scapegoat or what, but the idea is it at the very least communicates to your fan base that you're trying to do something to address the fact that what you've been doing isn't working, that you're at least going to go in a different direction even to some small degree. I think that's all we're looking for here, and justifiably. Accountability and a willingness to face reality. If it's not *something*! Anything, for Kruk's sake!

Tom Goodman said...

RSB: I don't really think Gillick is going to do anything drastic regarding the roster at this point, at least nothing external such as a major trade in or out. When the off-season begins and Lieberthal's and Bell's salaries are off the books, then we should see some movement.

That approach probably goes for the coaching staff and manager as well.

In the final analysis, Gillick probably thinks drastic measures are called for only if you think you have a chance and after all of his years in baseball, can he honestly look at this rotation and delude himself regarding their post-season prospects? He didn't give them that much of a chance before the wheels came off!!!

Tom G said...

Fire everyone.

George S said...

Re: starting Geary or Condrey.
Is that so outrageous? How many innings are the Phillies getting right now from their “starters”? 5 innings, maybe, and then trailing by 4-5 runs? Is that what you don’t want to put at trisk by letting people like Condrey pitch the first few innings (I don’t want to call it starting).
And who are our “starters”? Madson and Brito are relievers, no different than Condrey.

Don't get straight-jacketed by conventional thinking, like CM always does.