Pat Gillick is a creature of habit. In that respect he differs little from most of us. When he was GM in Toronto, he hit the jackpot with George Bell, originally signed by the Phillies, but later a Rule 5 draft pick. Bell had a very respectable career with the Blue Jays. That pickup may have ruined Gillick forever. Ever since then he has deemed it a worthwhile gamble to take a flyer on Rule 5 and other marginal players, always looking for the exception to the rule. His two years in Philadelphia underscore that approach. Anyone who can give Randle Simon two chances to make his club is a risk-taker if nothing else. Throw in the odd position player or three who have spent more time on the injury list than in the dugout over the last few years and hurlers who have struggled mightily at their last known addresses and you have a motley assortment of human lottery tickets at best.
I don't disagree with the strategy provided the costs in time and salary commitments are within reason, but I wonder how much the resources expended to find these diamonds in the rough could be better expended elsewhere in player development. Of course, if Shane Victorino has another fine season, that will clinch it. Gillick can be expected to spend even more time on the margins.