October 10, 2005

Ed's Dead, Baby, Ed's Dead

This afternoon, the Philadelphia Phillies finally made their legions of fans happy after 8 years, announcing the firing of general manager Ed Wade. A few thoughts:

- A guy on WIP this afternoon actually said, "this is one of the best days of my life." He probably hasn't had much of a life.

- It's a move the organization probably had to make, especially after 8 years of no playoff appearances, and the team's fan base practically beating ownership's door down to make a change. But the fact was, Wade didn't do nearly as bad a job as most say, and got better as his tenure went along- he built the team's current young core, turned down numerous opportunities to trade Ryan Howard and Chase Utley, and stole Billy Wagner from the Astros.

- The new GM will be given the authority to hire a new manager and coaching staff if necessary. Now, I maintain that in judging Wade's 8 years as GM, his firing is justifiable. But Charlie Manuel? He managed one year and won 88 games, and kept the team in the race until 5 PM on the last day of the season. Double-switch ability or not, he's earned the right to manage a second season. He can always be fired after a slow start, of course, and considering his age and history of poor health, he's not likely to manage them long-term anyway.

-As for potential replacements, Brian Cashman (should he quit the Yankees) certainly merits consideration, as does former Astros boss Gerry Hunsicker. Jim Duquette, considering he's responsible for Scott Kazmir-for-Victor Zambrano, probably wouldn't work. Lots of assistant GMs could work- Ned Colletti of the Giants, Wayne Krivsky of the Twins, David Forst of the A's, the Phils' own Mike Arbuckle- but I like the idea of Josh Byrnes, assistant GM for the Red Sox. As a Boston guy Byrnes likely knows what it's like to work in a sports-mad town, and since the Phils are a high-OBP team anyway, they seem a particularly good candidate for a sabermetric GM.

- I look at Wade's firing much like Dan Duquette's dismissal from the Red Sox prior to the 2003 season. Duquette had made some outstanding moves- including the acquisitions of Pedro Martinez and Manny Ramirez- but quite a few screw-ups as well, and he was horrible at handling the media- leading to his becoming extremely hated among the fan base, even though the team was far from horrible at the time of his sacking. Will the Phils manage a similar outcome? Perhaps we'll find out this time next year.

Posted by Stephen Silver at October 10, 2005 09:52 PM
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