White Sox GM Kenny Williams is generally considered an astute judge of talent and where the Phillies are concerned he might be even more so. When he traded Aaron Rowand for Jim Thome and salary considerations he correctly determined that the former might be a fearless defender but a mediocre hitter while the latter still had lots of pop in his bat and would revert to form.
Having made one beneficial trade with the Phillies, Williams came back for more an off-season later, dealing starter Freddy Garcia, who was one year from free agency, for prospects Gavin Floyd and Gio Gonzalez. Word out of the American League toward the end of last season was that Garcia had lost something on his fastball. Now comes word out of Florida, with caveats from the Phillies of course, that Garcia's fastball is still lost in action, or, as one scout is quoted by Jim Salisbury after watching the big right-hander throw, "right about where he was at the end of last year."
Pitchers are brought along slowly and carefully during Spring Training, or so the thought goes, so it may indeed be too early to judge exactly where Garcia's mssing fastball is supposed to be at this date in early March, but it cannot be an encouraging sign.
* * * * * * * *
Bill Giles, receding partner in the Phillies' constellation of owners, has apparently co-authored an autobiography which has just been published. Entitled Pouring Six Beers At A Time (I am going to resist buying or reading Giles' collaborative effort in order to learn exactly what that means), it is apparently filled with accounts of his nearly four decades in baseball.
As Inquirer columnist Don McKee points out this morning, among other tidbits Giles notes his genuine surprise upon learning former Texas Rangers general partner George W. Bush was elected governor of Texas. "Frankly," Giles writes, "when this occurred I was shocked. I could not picture George Bush as a governor let along President of the United States. I pictured Bush more as the perennial social chairman of a college fraternity."
McKee further cites Giles' prediction that Bush will one day be Commissioner of Baseball. So, there you have it. If Giles is correct, Bush can fail utterly and with tragic consequences at the most important job in the world and land on his feet as Commissioner of Baseball.