As we await Pat Gillick’s second act, Bill Conlin took him to task in his column the other day for his first one:
Speaking of Gillick, he has caught deserved flak for some of his moves - Ryan Franklin, Sal Fasano and Abe Nunez are three. But he's not catching nearly enough hell for the Vicente Padilla blunder.
Yes, it's a blunder when your organization is too inept to deal with personality and social issues of the kind that come up in any disparate group of 25 young men and, consequently, lose a valuable starting pitcher.
It appears Gillick was sold a bill of goods on Padilla's off-field habits, his uncoachability and the large financial hit an arbitrator would surely inflict on them last winter. Pat himself tossed out the ubiquitous "sometimes you add by subtracting" line to explain not getting more from the Rangers than the worthless Ricardo Rodriguez they released during spring training.
The key here is that Conlin faults Gillick for buying the company line on Padilla. Blame that one on the rest of the organization but not on Gillick. Padilla was here for several years and rubbed everyone the wrong way primarily but not exclusively for his off-season habits including his refusal to refrain from pitching winter ball despite arm problems during the regular campaign. The Phillies also weren’t too happy about some of the company he kept in his native Nicaragua.
In light of this history, was one of Gillick's first moves going to be to tell everyone they didn't know what the hell they were talking about? Hardly a good foot to get off on with your new staff.
The loss of Padilla can be laid at the feet of Charlie Manuel, Rich Dubee, Mike Arbuckle, Ruben Amaro, Jr., and, I'd bet anything, on Dallas Green.
On the other hand, the fact that Gillick made two subsequent trades with the Rangers, for David Dellucci and Fabio Castro respectively, suggests at the very least that Texas GM Jon Daniels may have more than Pat’s ear, he also seems to have his number.