Friday, May 11, 2007

A Sphinx Without A Secret?

Pat Gillick has spoken as only Pat Gillick speaks these days, that is to say, with tempered, measured words that barely reveal what he might really be thinking rather than the famously scalding rhetoric of former GM Dallas Green, whose thoughts and feelings were always an open book. From Gillick's perspective, players aren't "killing" the Phillies; they are simply failing to perform their day-to-day jobs up to the level expected. Who's to say which is the better approach when it comes to results on the field? One thing is clear, however; Gillick expresses little passion on the subject. He is "disappointed" while the legions of fans who entered this season with great expectations are depressed. In a lengthy piece in today's Inquirer by Jim Salisbury, Gillick gave himself a "C" (the word he used was "average") for his performance. Everything about the man smacks of "average" with the exception of his taste in shirts.

Gillick's first state of the union, mid-season division, sees problems in the middle of the batting order and in the bullpen, or precisely the same spots he warned needed fixing prior to the start of festivities. Are we to assume Gillick tried to fix these spots and failed to find adequate value or are we to assume he spent too much time nibbling around the edges with players from his past stops in Baltimore and Seattle? Probably both and something else.

As I've written in the past, Gillick appears to be one helluva detached GM who is coasting on past successes in a game that appears to have passed him by. The "game" in question is not the one played on the field; there's little doubt he knows that aspect of his job. When it comes to negotiations, trades, free agent, waiver and Rule 5 signings, however, Gillick no longer appears to be able to keep pace with his younger, more savvy brethren. Nor does he appear to have much interest in rebuilding an organization from the top down to remedy things. As was pointed out by a commenter over at Beerleaguer, the personnel manning the top posts in this organization have changed very little over the years and the results reflect that lack of imagination and fresh ideas. Need we remind ourselves the assistant GM as well as the directors of player development, scouting, et al serve at the pleasure of the GM?

In the end, it's hard to define what precisely that pleasure might be for Gillick. By all accounts including his own broadly dropped hints this stop will be his last hurrah. When that day finally comes the cheering will have long-since ceased.


Oisín/Wizlah said...

It's an interesting take tom. I felt the interview was more whiny in tone, myself - blaming multiple factors for why the team weren't doing well (middle of the order (including his own guy)/lousy market for relief/unpredictability of free agent relievers), but not including himself in it, saying only 'I've been average.'

But I can see how it could be the monologue of an old man who doesn't care any more. Either way it is deeply unimpressive, and I don't see what point there is to the utterances.

david said...

Good point, Oisin. If you've been 'average', and the team has been about the same, then is there really no correlation? The last thing I need to hear out of Gillick's mouth is these kinds of whiny excuses. If that's all you have to say for yourself, you're better off keeping your mouth shut. Don't point the fingers at people like Helms. Point the finger at yourself for pretending Helms was some kind of solution in the lineup.