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.