Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Where's Freddy & Why Is His GM Still Here?

Has anyone seen or heard from Freddy Garcia lately?

Pat Gillick's biggest off-season move has yet to take the field let alone pay off for the Phillies. His rehabilitation start in Clearwater was scheduled for last night but the game was rained out. There hasn't been any word out of the parent club when we can expect Freddy to take his spot in the rotation.

Meanwhile, it wouldn't be exaggerating to say the guy who brought him here accepted his own job under somewhat false pretenses. Gillick has sent all sorts of signals he was looking forward to retirement before his seat was even warm here. Nowhere is that more obvious than a review to date of his tenure in Philadelphia, which has been marked by his incessant dwelling on the past. The problem with Gillick's nostalgia has been that he's allowed it to influence the present as he reacquires player after player from his previous stops along the way.

The death watch alluded in the post below should also include Gillick but it won't because there are too many senior fellows on the list. Charlie Manuel is clearly over his head. He hasn't a clue about pitching staffs, is a terrible in-game strategist and apparently cannot motivate players. That last point may been seen as overvalued in some quarters (professional athletes shouldn't need motivation according to one camp), but the best managers like Jim Leyland know how to mix in game management with management of human nature. Pro athletes don't need a friend, which by all accounts Charlie is; they need someone who is in control, which by all appearances Charlie isn't!!

I cannot figure out what David Montgomery et al want from their senior management team but this much seems clear: their choices remain out of step with the prevailing approaches of the more successful GM's and field managers in baseball for reasons only they can provide. Come to think of it, this franchise has always been out of step. The spate of Jackie Robinson articles appearing everywhere again make it abundantly clear Philadelphia has resisted change at every turn, socially and professionally. The venom spewed at Robinson during his first encounters with the Phillies, in Brooklyn as well as the City of Brotherly Love, remain a legendary stain on the Phillies' history. People also forget the owners who preceded the current group, the Carpenters, weren't exactly liberals either. Ruly Carpenter got out of the game when he saw management could no longer bind players to teams like the serfs and indentured servants they had been. He looked free agency in the eye and blinked it away. Under their ownership, racial quotas remained institutionalized here as well.

The Phillies have always been slow to look at foreign players. They have eschewed money ball and sabremetrics. They have botched nearly every important public relations opportunity. And last but hardly least, this year they had an opportunity that comes along once in a generation if that, to capture the hearts and minds of the sporting public in their home town, and they are blowing it. The players aren't performing well right now and share significant responsibility for the profoundly disappointing start to the 2007 season, but let's get something straight: the real fault lies at the top of the organization and it's going to be difficult to correct those mistakes in one or two transactions.


8 Comments:

Blogger Ben said...

At this rate, the season will be over before Garcia even gets to pitch his first game,

12:35 PM  
Anonymous RickSchuBlues said...

It's almost enough to make you want to become an Orioles fan ;)

3:12 PM  
Blogger Tom Goodman said...

Almost.

3:30 PM  
Blogger Gary said...

A significantly accurate perspective on the sad state of current affairs.
If only we could organize a one game protest wherein no one showed up for a home game. Perhaps this would get ownership attention.

5:09 PM  
Blogger gr said...

tom, garcia is scheduled to start with the big club on the 15th and rejoined the team yesterday at shea. its in today's inky.

9:59 AM  
Blogger Tom Goodman said...

gr: thanks. I saw that, too. I guess the Reverse Curse for 2007 begins with this post and announcement. Also saw in today's Inky that Phil Sheridan believes the players not the GM and manager are responsible for the lousy start. He's right...and wrong! They all share in the blame.

10:07 AM  
Blogger gr said...

this team has two major problems: the bullpen and situational hitting. to his credit, manuel is doign the opposite with the bullpen of what he likes to do -- he's operating out of necessity now instead by defined roles, which is a no-brainer at this point. however, on situational hitting, i'm not sure that's his forte. he's alwys been a guy that can work with difficult types and power hitters, or in albert belle's case, difficult power hitters. so, here's my qyestion: why is milt thompson getting a pass through all this poor RiSP performance by his team. he's thehitting instructor, he has been for a few years and this continues to be a problem. can he do anything about or not?

11:54 AM  
Blogger klkatz said...

This is not Gillick's fault. He's done his job to spend some money and get us some starting pitching. They've struggled... additionally, we're yet to get the production from Howard and Utley...

hold off on Gillick's head...

9:28 PM  

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