November 02, 2005

It's Pat

The Phillies today named Pat Gillick as their new general manager, handing the keys of the team to a proven winner who has led his teams to two world championships and eight playoff appearances.

Yes, everyone in town is way too preoccupied with the Eagles' woes to even acknowledge the Phillies, and the report today that TO will probably miss two games will likely dominant all local conversation. But regardless, I can already hear the coming Phillie-hater spin: At 68, Gillick is "too old." He'll form an "old guy tandem" with manager Charlie Manuel, who he of course won't fire. And worst of all, he's just "keeping the seat warm" for holdover assistant GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. And since Gillick was once known as "Stand Pat," he'll be just as squeamish about making trades as Ed Wade was, and nothing will really change- depriving the team of the wholesale housecleaning it very much needs.

To which I say, to all of the above, bullshit, bullshit, and bullshit. Gillick has, unlike any other GM I can think of, walked into three separate situations and succeeded in all of them. The "Stand Pat" thing was a reference to his failure to make trades early in his tenure with the Blue Jays- but then he made the Roberto Alomar/Joe Carter and David Cone deals, and they won two rings as a result. Gillick vastly improved all three of the teams where he worked as GM- the Blue Jays, Orioles, and Mariners- and it can't be a coincidence that all three clubs fell into utter disarray shortly after he stepped down. As for Amaro eventually taking over, there's no indication that he's as incompetent as Wade- and if he's going to do an apprenticeship for 2 to 3 years, I can imagine worse mentors than Gillick.

And read my lips, as I'm going to say this very slowly: The Phillies don't NEED a wholesale housecleaning. They finished one game behind the pennant-winning Astros, and are no less than one or two pieces away from being a championship contender. I know this comes as a huge shock to those fans who are so delusional that they treat the Phils like a last-place team when they win 88 games, but don't the Phillies look better now than the White Sox did at this point a year ago?

The Phils didn't need a sweeper, they needed a tweaker. And Gillick can tweak with the best of them.

Gillick's first priorities: Get another starting pitcher, figure out what's going on at catcher, third base, and center field, solve the whole Ryan Howard/Jim Thome controversy, and try to wrap up extension negotiations with Billy Wagner and his agent, Bean Stringfellow. Yes, that really is his name.

Pitchers and catchers, just three months away...

Posted by Stephen Silver at November 2, 2005 12:38 PM

Hey; nice site.

I concur with your Phillies thoughts. Starting pitching wasn't horrible, and Wolfie being hurt certainly didn't help, but the middle relief sucked. That's the biggest hole. Thome's got to sit or go, unless you can totally revamp the roster for Ryan. It'd be tough for me to pull the trigger on trading him.

I hope Wagner stays. I know he had some bad feeling for fans here.

See ya!

Posted by: lutton at November 2, 2005 01:44 PM

the phillies may not need a housecleaning, but the eagles sure do!

Posted by: middle_guy at November 2, 2005 11:57 PM
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