Friday, April 06, 2007

Who Lost The Phillies?

The party line is to put the opening series sweep behind them and concentrate on winning in Miami this weekend. Frankly, I'm waiting for the inevitable comments about the pressures of playing in Philadelphia. When they come, I'll turn a deaf ear. The good citizenry of Philadelphia, more than eager to embrace this Phillies team, was very excited about the coming season. If that's too much pressure for some of the players, they are in the wrong business, not the wrong city.

If we choose to point fingers at this early juncture, let's put the right folks on the target range. Pat Gillick has done a miserable job of preparing this team for 2007. Looking back over his comments from last year, we should have known this was coming. Gillick wrote off 2007 in public utterances in 2006 but most people chose not to believe him. The Phillies' surprising stretch run after the July trade deadline must have further convinced us if not him the Phils were close to being a playoff team. Yet, fully aware of the team's major weaknesses, Gillick did nothing to correct them in the six months that followed. Why? One possible explanation is that Gillick's heart isn't in the job. The near-absentee GM spends more time away from town than in it. From the day he was hired he made it clear to those paying attention he wasn't going to be in the job that long. He seems resistant to the more modern aspects of the business -- sabremetrics -- and at the same time very bound up by ties to old teams and personnel. It wouldn't be unfair to say the game has begun to pass him by.

The help they need is not around the corner. It isn't in the farm system. It's unlikely it will come in a trade with some other team. Don't count on the waiver wire. And it most definitely doesn't reside on the 40-man roster.

Gillick built it. The fans came. The team went nowhere.


egrissom said...

Yikes! You are downtrodden. I don't think it's nearly that bad. The first two games were painful to watch, but I still think the team is well put together and will be fine. I agree that the Phillies have had the same problems for a long time now. I'm not so clear about what they should have done differently. The starting rotation and offense are still very strong. The pen is bad, but I don't know what they should have done. I don't think Rowand and Lieber have a lot of trade value right now and the Phils don't have a lot else to trade. I would have liked to see the Phils try to keep Fultz and Dellucci, but it's hard to know what the factors were that have them in Cleveland. Also not to be forgotten is the possibility that Howard's glove at first carries the Philes to 80 wins alone.

Anonymous said...

It's obvious now that it doesn't matter who manages this team or who steps out on the field day after day and year after year. The Phillies organization breeds a negative losing mentality. What the team needs is a gung ho outsider who will become the new owner and instill a winning attitude just as Jeffrey Lurie did for the Eagles. David Montgomery and his guys are just part of the same old Phillies fraternity that has caused them to be the losingest franchise in MLB history. Until they go things will always be the same .

Walter said...

Well, if you had 9 drafts (1993-2001) and only have 1 starter out of those drafts in the rotation, maybe that guy needs to be gone

McD said...

I couldn't agree more about the need to change ownership. What has been the one constant over the past 25 years of bad baseball? The ownership, with particular emphasis on David Montgomery. Yet, Montgomery has an attitude that he knows how to win and that the fans have no clue. Guess what Dave, when you make the playoffs once in a quarter century, then obviously you do not know how to win. The owners of this team seem more concerned about turning a profit rather than winning the World Series.

Pat Gillick is part of the problem, but I blame David Montgomery and his pals. The analogy to Lurie and the Eagles is excellent. The Phillies need an outsider with deep pockets and a drive to win. Look at what it did for the Red Sox with John Henry et al.

As long as David Montgomery is running this team, it will never win the World Series.

Great Blog! Let me know if you would like to exchange links:

Tom Goodman said...

Erik: I read your comment while in Boston for the weekend and almost replied then. Clearly I did post while in a particularly glum mood. What bothers me the most is that the problems had been identified and nothing concrete save signing Alfonseca (wet concrete if there ever was any) to rectify things. Worse, Gillick's heart just doesn't seem to be in the right place to be the GM of a franchise that has had more than its share of woes. Is he happy to be here? Is he in fact even here all that often? Given a chance to bring in a good senior management, Phillies ownership invariably makes the wrong choices. Why is that? I don't really have a clue.