Friday, August 31, 2007

Rating Pat Gillick as GM

i'd like to explore this fairly popular notion that pat gillick hasn't done a good job as GM of the phils. i hear it all the time on the radio (of course that moron in the morning angelo cataldi is leading the way with his nonsensical bleating and whining) and our own bumble has weighed in with his opinion -- "sad to say that Pat Gillick makes Ed Wade look like a genius. Gillick is a fraud."

i believe people have come to this conclusion primarily on two factors:

1) this is still head wade's "team" because the best players -- rollins, utley, howard, myers, burrell, and hamels -- all joined the team when wade was GM

2) pat gillick wasn't able to "fix" the pitching problem last offseason therefore he stinks as GM

on the surface, it seems both of these notions have some basis in fact, but with some deeper thought, i don't know that they're fair or accurate.

regarding point 1, while it is true that the core of the phillies current team were all drafted under the head's watch, i'm not sure he should get any credit for that, just like i don't think gillick should get any credit should kyle drabek, adrian cardenas, or joe savery turn out to be stars. everyone knows that mike arbuckle runs the show when it comes to the draft and scouting amateur players. i don't think the fact that the phils have drafted some "high ceiling" players who panned out should be a factor in grading either of the phils' recent GMs.

regarding point 2, i think this is as much grandstanding as anything else. could gillick have done more to fix the pitching situation? sure, i'd agree with that. i can't name any particular thing he should have done that he didn't do, but there probably is something. was adam eaton a terrible signing? yes, i thought it would be before it happened, i thought it was when it happened, and i think so now that eaton has flopped. still, looking at it realistically, who else was available? i'm not sure who else i would have signed. gil meche turned out to be arguably the best of last year's free agent pitchers, but the royals were ridiculed when they signed him. barry zito? should the phils be stuck with his 7 year contract instead of the giants? the fact is that 90% of the teams in the majors are looking for pitching help. there simply is not enough pitching to go around. i'm not saying this to defend pat gillick on this point, because i do believe he could have signed better relievers, but i don't believe this is a strong enough point to be the basis of earning a negative performance assessment. remember also that gillick was getting criticized for going into the season with a *surplus* of starting pitchers.

i'm in the minority, but i submit that pat gillick has actually done a *good* job as GM of the phillies -- not great but better than we've seen on the phils in 20+ years. while i was certainly skeptical when they first hired him, he's won me over. i'll explain why below.

the single biggest reason why i think he's done a good job is that he seems to understand how to build a team. this is not rotisserie baseball. it's not as simple as putting a bunch of numbers together, which is how mr. "if the team would just play to it's potential" approached it. i love the statistics of baseball, but there is more to putting a team together than that. personalities matter. attitude matters. mental makeup matters. head never got that.

this is a *likeable* team. for me as a once rabid, but now casual fan of baseball. i can't emphasize enough how much this impacts my enjoyment of baseball. i found virtually all of the teams built by head to be unlikeable. full of dour, sour, or mean-spirited guys who cared little about winning and cared less about the fans. in less than two seasons, gillick has completely changed the persona of the team. this is invaluable to me. this team *loves* to play baseball. this team is starting to build a relationship with it's fans. except for the guy who beats his wife and attacks reporters, there's not a bad guy among them. i like this team and just as importantly, this team likes itself. compared to where we came from just two seasons ago, how can you not give gillick some credit for that?

has he been perfect? heck no. has he made more quality moves than bad moves? i say absolutely yes.

- dumping david bell - good move and one that head wade would not have made

- dumping bobby abreu - good move, even though he took some heat for the move, especially from our own "ed wade" who took pat to task for not getting phil hughes. as it turns out, it really does look like the yankees would not have traded phil hughes. this move paid immediate karmic benefits.

- strengthening the bench - good move - would a team GM'd by head wade have been able to survive the injuries? little chance since we'd likely still have tomas perez as our top bench player. gillick should get credit for guys like dobbs and werth.

- wes helms and rod barajas - definitely not a good move - however, would head wade have been able to admit his own mistake and then stash a 3 million dollar player on the DL? almost certainly not. should rod have been dumped faster? probably, but gillick should get some credit for fixing the problem.

- kyle kendrick - good move - would head wade have trusted an unproven AA guy like kendrick?

- freddy garcia - good move at the time - hindsight may tell you there were warning signs, but garcia had been a steady workhorse for a long time and the phils gave up very little for him.

- not selling pat burrell for pennies on the dollar - as it turns out, a good move - even his sour demeanor has changed recently. did you see the little hops he was taking toward first on his almost grand slam? last time i saw excitement like that from him was his rookie season.

- jamie moyer - good move - for nothing

- tadahito iguchi - good move - for nothing

i'm sure i'm missing a ton of moves gillick has made, but i guess overall my impression of him is positive -- and this is what i think is the important point -- regardless of whether the phils make the playoffs or not. i like what pat has done because he's brought the joy of baseball back into my life, and i was not expecting it to happen prior to getting new ownership.

thank you pat gillick.

edit - forgot about turning the untradeable contract of jim thome into aaron roward

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2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps the best way to explore the “popular notion” that Pat Gillick hasn’t done a good job as GM of the Phils is to take a look at the moves he’s made (and hasn’t made) during his tenure. A big part of a GM’s job is to assemble a roster of players that can compete effectively on the field. A less obvious piece of the puzzle, however, and one that is harder to evaluate, is to assemble a management team, create a climate that allows success, delegate authority, and monitor results.

First, let’s look at the moves and non-moves.

Jim Thome and substantial cash concessions to the White Sox for Aaron Rowand, Dan Haigwood and Gio Gonzalez.

We all know why Gillick made this trade. The post-steroid Jim Thome appeared injury prone and was an obvious impediment to the progression of Ryan Howard. Gillick deserves a ton of credit for getting something/anything in return for Thome, even though his trade amounted to an enormous budget hit for a budget conscious team, and Thome was surprisingly productive for the White Sox. Ryan Howard won the 2006 MVP. Aaron Rowand has proved to be a great pickup, overcoming serious offensive limitations. The career year he’s enjoyed has been a pleasant and welcomed surprise, and a key to the success of the Phillies this year. Most fair minded people will admit, however, that the “value” Pat received in the trade was the young pitchers. Haigwood looks like a washout, struggling to keep his ERA near 5.00 at AA. Gio Gonzalez is still a prospect with potential, but still works at the AA level (he’s 8-7 this year with a 3.27 ERA). I like Gonzalez, having seen him pitch in person last year. He’s a gritty kid and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him find moderate success in the majors down the line. I think Gillick deserves praise for this trade.

Signed free agent Abraham Nunez

I liked this move at the time. Nunez had shown some ability filling in capably for an injured Scott Rolen in 2005, hitting .285 and fielding rather well. After watching Abraham play for awhile, however, I reached a conclusion that a good GM should have before making the trade. Nunez has no pop in his bat whatsoever, and isn’t qualified to be an every day third baseman. He’s a darn good fielder, but that isn’t enough unless you catch or play shortstop. He swings at every first pitch and seldom drives the ball. I’m a little sympathetic to Gillick here because he had to cover for an obvious blunder from his predecessor, who for reasons unknown traded Placido Polonco (since a two time all-star) for Ugueth Urbina (who is best known as the crazy pitcher who tried to set a few people on fire), just so David Bell could continue as the third baseman. It would have been tough to trade David Bell, but not impossible in my opinion. Still, Abraham Nunez is Abraham Nunez. I’m not thrilled when he comes to bat in a key situation, primarily because he has no sense of “situation.”

Signed free agent Julio Santana

He pitched in 7 games for the Phillies, a total of 8.3 innings. Given that he collected $800K for the effort, I’d say his 7.56 ERA was somewhat disappointing. As best I can tell, he’s out of baseball.

Signed free agent Sal Fasano

Bumble loved his fu-manchoo. Okay. I thought he sucked both offensively and defensively. So did the Yankees. I bet Toronto does too. Too bad Pat Gillick didn’t see that Carlos Ruiz had a little talent. Pat still thinks Chris Coste can’t play. At least Pat has something in common with Howard Eskin an the mythical “baseball people” Eskin speaks with. It’s a good thing Charlie Manual still has some influence on the roster.

Signed free agent Tom Gordon

Gordon looked great for a couple of months after the signing. He looks like an old man with a big contract right now. In any event, this goes down as one of the worst moves made by Pat Gillick for number of reasons. Gillick signed Gordon as “plan B’ when his effort to resign Billie Wagner (his “top priority” upon assuming control) . Gillick didn’t sign Wagner because he reportedly wanted a 4 year contract for a little more money than Gordon, who agreed to a 3-year deal. TMG likes to take things on face value (we’ll talk about Phil Hughes later). To this day (earlier this week, actually), Billy Wagner said he was willing to sign a three year deal with the Phillies. His four year deal with the Mets includes a CLUB option for the fourth year. Gillick cited concerns with Wagner’s age. Gordon is critically older, and relies on a pitch that threatens to tear his shoulder to pieces). If there is anyone in the house who doesn’t think that the Phillies would be in first place right now if Gillick had re-signed Billie Wagner (and thus kept Brett Meyers in the starting rotation), please raise your hand to identify yourself as a baseball imbecile.

Acquired Chris Booker from the Tigers for cash

Surprisingly, Chris Booker is still in baseball. His lifetime major league ERA is over 14. Cash well spent.

Traded Vicente Padilla to Texas for Ricardo Rodriquez

TMG likes the addition by subtraction angle. Okay, I’ll buy that because Padilla was a head case, but Padilla won 15 games for Texas in 2006. The Phillies less-than-stellar starting pitching “might” have cost them a playoff spot last year. Ricardo Rodriquez didn’t make the team, and is currently out of baseball.

Signed free agent Ryan Franklin

His results sucked last year, but I thought his stuff looked terrific. I’ll never forget the perfect pitch he threw that Jose Reyes golfed out of the park. Defending him earned me scorn from the lunchroom box score readers. Relief pitching is really hard to evaluate because the statistical sample is so slim. Gillick traded Franklin just in time (more on this later) to see him put up terrific numbers with St Louis this year (55 games, 65 innings, 1.92 ERA). Nice job, Pat.

Claimed Josh Kroeger off waivers from the Diamondbacks

Last I checked, Josh was toiling in the minors. He’s had an impressive year, however, finally advancing from AA to AAA. I kind of wish he was still in our system, but he isn’t. Our minor leagues are so crowded with prospects right now that there’s no way we could have found a spot for a 25 year-old that hit .382 in AA this year.

Traded Jason Michaels to Cleveland for Arthur Rhodes

I know we needed bullpen help, and I admit that Gillick needed to get Jay-Mike away from alcohol-prone Brett Myers and Pat Burrell, but it’s still hard to find a silver lining in this trade.

Signed free agent Alex Gonzalez

If memory serves, Gillick thought Gonzalez would provide maturity and professionalism in back-up role. Alex retired a couple of days later, so he didn‘t. TMG likes to point out that Pat Gillick understands that there is more to putting together a team than putting a bunch of numbers together and that personalities matter, attitudes matters, etc. The Gonzalez signing is just one of many pieces of evidence that Gillick isn’t as far inside the heads of his players as TMG thinks, but we’ll take this topic up later as well.

Traded Robinson Tejeda and Jake Blalock to Texas for David Delucci

No one could confuse Tajeda for Sandy Koufax, but he is still pitching for Texas and has won 10 games for them since the trade. Delucci provided a little pop for the Phillies last year, even though Pat elected not to resign him for the 2007 campaign. He hasn’t dome too much for Cleveland this year, and he would have cost a bunch of dollars to retain. Tejeda for Delucci was a decent deal, but in the grand scheme of things not a very significant one.

Claimed Rick White off waivers from the Reds

Bumble liked his beard, so I’ll rate this a good move.

Traded Dan Haigwood to Texas for Fabio Castro

I think Castro has a better upside than Haigwood, and I like this trade.

Traded Sal Fasano to the Yankees for Hector Made

Who cares that Hector Made hit .225 for Clearwater (single A) this year. At least he isn’t Sal Fasano.

Traded David Bell to the Brewers for Wilfredo Laureano

I think Laureano plays in the Brewers system to this day. David Bell takes HGH to improve the capacity of his rectum for willing pile drivers (not that there is anything wrong with that). Who cares?

Traded Bobby Abreu and Cory Lidle to the Yankees for four guys who what to fuck Lindsay Lohan

According to TMG, the Yankees simply wouldn’t give up future stud Phil Hughes for an established star in the midst of a playoff drive because they continue to say so. I still doubt this as a practical matter, but I’ll stipulate that he’s right just because I’m sick of arguing about it. That said, does anybody else but me think there’s a chance that Gillick might have extracted ANY pitcher of consequence in return for Abreu? I won’t bore you with details, but I will instead point you to the websites of the Trenton Thunder (www.trentonthunder.com) and the Scranton-Wilkes Yankees (www.redbarons.com) to let you draw your own conclusions. Let’s just say that the Yankees have an abundance of pitching prospects that will never see the bright lights of Yankee stadium as long as George is writing big checks to land established studs (more on the importance of developing starting pitching in-house later). Trading Bobby Abreu for nothing (other than salary relief) is perhaps the laziest move to date in Pat Gillick’s mediocre tenure. TMG loves to talk about Pat’s willingness to excise “dour, sour, or mean-spirited guys who cared little about winning.” It’s a big theme in his “personalities matter” argument. I’m not dismissing his premise outright, even if I think he overstates Gillick‘s ability to rate personalities. Was Abreu a bad guy? I don’t think so. It’s interesting that none of the current team members has a single negative thing to say about Abreu (they actually love the guy). A few players (Jimmy Rollins in particular) have mentioned that in the past everybody waited for Bobby to make something happen. Fine. Let’s say the Phillies needed to move on. But to simply give Bobby Abreu to the prospect rich Yankees, and throw in Cory Lidle, who was better than Jamie Moyer (see TMG’s argument that pitching is an impossibility rich commodity chased by 90% of teams) was emphatically stupid.

Traded Rheal Cormier to the Reds for Justin Germano

Unfortunately, Justin Germano doesn’t pitch for the Phillies anymore. He works for San Diego. He’s thrown over 100 innings for a team that the Phillies look up to in the standings. And let’s face it, Gillick made this move because he thought his own team was out of the playoff hunt in 2006 (and couldn’t compete this year, either). Nice demonstration of the power of positive thinking, and good insight into his team. One of the things I like best about Pat Gillick is his continued willingness to set low expectations (“splitting the home stand would be acceptable“). As TMG points out, “attitude matters, mental makeup matters.” Unless Pat Gillick is a bit of a psychologist or far more clever than he comes across, it seems fair to me to say he sets the wrong tone at the top.

Traded Ryan Franklin for Zac Scott

I think Zac plays softball in a beer league, but I may be wrong. Ryan Franklin is having a pretty nice year for the Cardinals (see above).

Traded Andrew Baldwin and Andrew Barb to Seattle for Jamie Moyer

The players Pat traded are low enough in the minors that their statistics aren’t worth mentioning (including Barb’s 1.96 ERA). Jamie Moyer takes the ball every 5 days and eats innings. Was he an upgrade from Cory Lidle? His statistics say no. I love old man Moyer as much as anyone, but the need to trade for him was created by Gillick’s misreading the potential of his own team last year. When I watch Jamie pitch right now I see a 44-year old geezer who is a 3-run rally waiting to happen. Would you trust this guy with a playoff start? I wouldn’t.

Acquired Jose Hernandez from the Pirates for cash

He played 18 games and collected 8 hits. Not a significant deal, but maybe he had an agreeable personality. Honestly, I don’t even remember the guy.

Traded Angel Chavez the Orioles for Jeff Conine

I can’t tell a lie. I loved this trade. A part of me wishes Gillick resigned Conine for 2007, but based on the way Jason Werth and Greg Dobbs have played of late, I’ll lay low.

Acquired Randall Simon from the Rangers for cash

We needed a bat. Wait a second, that’s not it, Gillick was masterfully crafting a roster of character guys that are “likeable” and not “dour or sour.” In the back of his mind he was probably thinking that the Phils could use a guy who had been convicted for attacking a girl dressed up like a sausage with a baseball bat earlier in the year (more on this alarming trend later).

Signed Adam Eaton to a fat free agent contract

TMG was prescient enough to predict that Eaton would flop with the Phillies. Pat Gillick wasn’t, and neither was I. When I look back at the available free agent pitchers (Jason Schmidt, Barry Zito, Gil Meche, etc.) and the money it took to sign them, I can’t fault Gillick for signing Eaton to the pitching desperate Phillies. At the time they signed him, it looked like a bargain to me. A skeptic would point out that Eaton had never thrown 200 innings in the big leagues and had been injury prone throughout his career, but I’m firmly in the camp that believes 90% of teams are chasing after the same commodity and it is nearly impossible to land an established, front-line starting pitcher without breaking the bank. The economics of the game being what they are, teams like the Phillies need to take chances sometimes, and Gillick did. More important, teams like the Phillies (as opposed to the Yankees) need to go a different route. They need to make drafting and developing pitching their top priority. They also need to stockpile pitching prospects whenever making deals with other clubs. Why do I digress? You guessed it, Pat Gillick traded Bobby Abreu, an incredibly tradable commodity no matter what Mr. Gillick and TMG want you to believe, to a team with more pitching prospects than any in baseball, and got none in return. Why would the Yankees have been willing to give up pitching prospects? Because they had a shitload of them, because they were in the midst of a playoff race with their chief rival, because their owner was anticipating death, and because they have the financial wherewithal to pluck established pitchers from other teams whenever they feel the need. Not anymore, you say? Roger Clemons.

Traded Gio Gonzalez and Gavin Floyd to the White sox for Freddy Garcia

Pat Gillick likes to remind people that it’s a common practice in baseball to accept the medical evaluations given by teams looking to dump salary by trading damaged goods. He likes to remind people that Freddy Garcia was incredibly effective pitching down the stretch for the Sox in 2006, and that he pitched over 200 innings nearly every year. What he doesn’t like to remind people is that everyone watching Mr. Garcia in 2006 realized he’d lost 6-7 miles per hour off his fastball all of a sudden. Would it have been so unreasonable for Gillick to ask the Sox permission to conduct their own medical evaluation before committing 10% of their 2007 budget to a single player? I understand that this isn’t normal baseball etiquette, but under the circumstances it wouldn’t have seemed unreasonable. The fascinating element of this deal to me was the subsequent de facto acknowledgment by the Sox that they traded damaged goods to Mr. Gillick (more on this later).

Signed free agent Jason Werth

Gillick signed damaged goods on the cheap, but by gosh this one worked out for him. Kudos. Werth looks like a fabulous athlete.

Signed free agent Wes Helms

This was a signature Pat Gillick bad move on a couple of different levels. Wes Helms was a career .957 fielder at third base before actually lowering it with the Phillies. For the football fans out there, there is no easy way to describe how bad this is. Imagine a quarterback completing 35-40% of his passes. I haven’t done any math to support this analogy, but I’m betting it’s pretty apt. The thing that really frosts me about this move, however, isn’t the horrible reality that Wes Helms has become. For reasons that I still can’t understand, Pat Gillick pursued free agent Alfonso Soriano with the passion of a teenager groping for his first feel. He was willing to pay far north of $100 million for his services. Soriano plays (kind of) left field, the same position as Pat the Bat. I love the Bat for non-baseball reasons, but Gillick was certainly justified in trying to replace him after last season. The problem was no one wanted him. Gillick couldn’t give away his contract even though he tried (forget TMG’s argument that Gillick did something smart by retaining Burrell - it’s not something he tried to do) for months. Gillick hates the Bat. He shit all over him at the annual season ticket holder’s meeting.

Why didn’t Pat Gillick try to sign 3B Aramis Ramirez instead LF Soriano? When the Cubs inked Ramirez for $85 million I lost a lot of faith in Gillick. A-Ram is a better player than Soriano in my opinion, and is was exactly the type of player the team needed. Can you imagine how good the Phillies’ infield would be with A-Ram, Rollins, Utley, and Howard?

Signed free agent Rod Barajas

This move was so idiotic I’m not going to talk about it much. The Phillies were fine with Ruiz and Coste, despite Howard Eskin’s unshared concerns about defensive liability.

Traded Jeff Conine to the Reds for Brad Key and Javon Moran

Brad Key is 24. He was hitting .121 at single A Lakewood earlier this year. He plays third base, but he will never even sniff the major leagues. I think the Phillies cut him, but I’m not positive. Javon Moran plays OF and is also 24. He played well enough at Reading to earn a promotion to AAA. He isn’t likely to replace Shane Victorino, Michael Borne, or Chris Roberson on the depth chart any time soon.

Conine landed on the Mets’ roster which scares me. I can see that son of a gun beating us with an ill-timed long ball later this month. Dumping him was fine with me, but can we please get PITCHING prospects in return?

Claimed Greg Dobbs off waivers from Seattle

Nice move. Let’s give Gillick credit for this one.

Signed free agent Antonio Alfonseco

Serviceable fat guy. His acquisition didn’t particularly inspire me, but I’m realistic when it comes to acquiring established pitching.

Claimed Anderson Garcia off waivers from Baltimore

He pitched once with the big club this year and departed with a 13.5 ERA. The books still out on him.

Signed Karim Garcia to a minor league contract

I think Karim plays in Japan now. The only reason I even bring this signing up is to demonstrate that Gillick isn’t really trying to build a “likeable” team. He’s really trying to build a team on which everyone shares the surname Garcia. I think Gillick is trying to create a family-oriented team rather than build for the rotisserie league (more on creating a caring and sharing team later).

Claimed J.D. Durbin from the Red Sox

This is the best move Pat Gillick ever made. I’ll never tire of hearing the Sarge refer to J.D. as the Real Deal. It makes me happy every time.

Acquired Francisco Rosario from Toronto for cash

His 6+ ERA to date isn’t all that impressive, but he is a warm body.

Signed J.C. Romero

The Red Sox cut this fellow because he couldn’t throw enough strikes. He’s throwing enough of them now to make Pat Gillick look pretty good. I’m surprised the Red Sox gave up on this guy considering the nasty stuff he throws. Let’s hold our breathe a little on this one.

Traded Matt Maloney to the Reds for Kyle Lohse

I love this trade. I’ve heard the knocks on Lohse (one really bad inning every game), but I love his arm and think he can be effective on a team that swings the bats as well as the Phillies.

Traded Michael Dubee to the White Sox for Tadahito Iguchi

The Pollyanna in me wants to scream: This is the trade I’ve been waiting for. Pat Gillick saved the season!! It might even be true. There is no denying that when Chase Utley went down the Phillies were walking right on the whirlpool’s edge. Gillick found a serviceable replacement, pronto. The cynic in me sees something lurking under the surface, however, and I want to make sure everyone else sees the same thing. The Sox didn’t plan to sign Iguchi next year and were out of the playoff race, so it made sense to sever payroll. What better way to kill two birds with one stone than by repaying Kenny William’s (Chicago GM) fuck buddy Pat Gillick for the dirty dealing done previously by shipping injured Freddy Garcia and his $10 million contract? This type of thing happens all the time when one GM (Williams) wants to preserve a (favorable) trading relationship with a less astute rival GM (Gillick). The perceived value of this trade for the White Sox is the anticipation of dealing with Sloe Gin Pat in the future.

Believe it or not, there are other transactions of even less consequence that I’ve left off in the interest of saving time and space.

In 2001, Baseball America named Pat Gillick “executive of the last 20 years.” It’s easy to see why. He enjoyed spectacular success in Baltimore, Toronto and Seattle. But based on Pat’s body of work with the Phillies, it’s hard to see anything “great.” He’s made some decent moves to be sure. He’s also squandered a ton of money on questionable acquisitions and botched an opportunity to build for the team’s future by giving away Bobby Abreu.

Based on the personnel moves I’ve seen so far, Pat’s performance looks “mediocre” to me.

“I love the statistics of baseball, but there is more to putting a team together than that. Personalities matter. Attitude matters. Mental makeup matters. Head never got that.”

I’m not going to get into defending Head too much. I’ll stick to evaluating Pat’s ability to put together a team that is “likeable.” First, do I like this team? I think anybody reading this knows the answer is an emphatic yes. I’m skeptical, however, that the team’s obvious chemistry is the result of Gillick’s special, magical ability to look beneath statistics and divine grit and character (see Alex Gonzalez trade above). I think TMG is completely out to lunch in this respect. Here’s a couple of incidents that illustrate why:

Gillick allowed Brett Myers to pitch the day after he beat the shit out of his wife. He did this because God blessed Brett’s right arm. Gillick was perfectly willing to overlook the fact the Myers is (or at least was, since I believe in redemption) a bad guy. Letting Myers pitch sure looked like a “rotisserie” move to me. You know the rotisserie guys, the ones that cheer who would cheer for TO if he caught a touchdown to beat the Eagles, so long as TO was on their rotisserie roster?

Gillick traded Jesus Mercan to Seattle for Julio Mateo a year after the Myers incident. Just in case anyone doesn’t know who Julio Mateo is, he’s a guy who served a 10-day suspension earlier this year for missing a Mariners game. Why did he miss the game? He was busy that day, busting up his wife’s face and filling out paperwork related to the third-degree assault charges filed against him. The Mariner’s were so disgusted by his (lack of) character that they kept him in AAA all year despite the fact that he was throwing the ball extremely well. Pat Gillick seemed genuinely surprised that Phillies’ fans questioned his sensibilities regarding this trade. He referred to Mateo as “inventory.”

I’m sorry TMG, but given the circumstance surrounding this team, trading a guy named Jesus for wife-beating inventory doesn’t suggest to me that Gillick has a particular ability or desire to add or remove players from the roster based on character issues. The 2007 edition has character to be sure, and they are a fun team to watch and root for, but Pat Gillick may be less responsible for this than you think.

Anybody else besides me think Charlie Manual has something to do with the “good vibrations” we see on the bench? Has anyone else noticed that while Charlie may come off as a redneck county hick he makes a point to talk to and encourage EVERY player on the team?

TMG suggests Ed Wade deserves no credit whatsoever for the emergence of Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Brett Myers, Cole Hamels, Ryan Howard, etc. because a GM doesn’t actually decide which players to draft or have a significant inpact on their development. He reached this conclusion after “some deeper thought” designed to convince himself that his pathological distaste for all things Head was completely logical. I started this post by writing that a big part of the GM job is to evaluate and assemble a management team, create a climate that allows success, delegate authority, and monitor results. It seems like a pretty specious argument to say that a GM deserves no credit when the operation he oversees produces quality results. When Toyota reports its quarterly profit, few sensible people line up to say the CEO deserves no credit because he didn’t actually design or build the cars.

Again, I’m not here to defend Head, but to amplify a TMG theme I will say that when I watch Jimmy, Chase, Ryan and the rest, I still say “Thank you, Ed Wade.”

Moving away from Pat the track record to Pat the man, let me say just this. I’ve met the man. He’s a fraud. I’ve explained this in previous posts, so I won’t indulge myself any longer.

Who cares anyway? I’m just glad TMG is watching and enjoying baseball again. Let’s go Phillies!

Ed Wade

5:27 PM EDT  
Blogger The Mean Guy said...

first, let me admit that i threw that together hastily and with no research. second, thanks for the comprehensive response, i knew this would get a rise out of you. third, i won't pretend to know more about the details of the working of the team than you do, but i'd like to discuss a few of your rebuttal points further.

Gillick didn’t sign Wagner because he reportedly wanted a 4 year contract for a little more money than Gordon, who agreed to a 3-year deal. TMG likes to take things on face value (we’ll talk about Phil Hughes later). To this day (earlier this week, actually), Billy Wagner said he was willing to sign a three year deal with the Phillies.

gordon signed a 3-year, $18 million dollar contract. wagner signed a 4-year, $43 million dollar contract (with a club option for the fourth year). the phillies offered him $30 million over 3 years. i may be 100% wrong about this, but i never believed wagner had any intention of resigning here -- he hated some of his teammates and hated the fans. i thought he was just using the phillies as leverage against the mets.

That said, does anybody else but me think there’s a chance that Gillick might have extracted ANY pitcher of consequence in return for Abreu?

this may be a stupid question because i'm too lazy right now to research it, but have the yankees traded any pitching prospects between the time of the abreu trade and today? i'll admit to only casually following baseball moves, so i can't say it with any certainty, but i don't recall any.

if the yankees were willing to part with their pitching prospects, would they have traded some of it to get major league pitching back instead of waiting for clemens?

maybe i'm taking things at face value too much, like you say, but i believed cashman when he said early last season (way before any of the abreu discussions and after he won the power struggle in the yankees front office) that the yankees were done making panic moves and mortgaging the future for short-term deals.

Was Abreu a bad guy? I don’t think so. It’s interesting that none of the current team members has a single negative thing to say about Abreu (they actually love the guy).

the phillies went on a tear right after this trade was made. it probably was coincidental, but it's possible it wasn't. very few baseball players say anything bad about any other player. it's part of the "unwritten rules of baseball".

aaron rowand hated bobby abreu.

Unless Pat Gillick is a bit of a psychologist or far more clever than he comes across, it seems fair to me to say he sets the wrong tone at the top.

i haven't met him like you have, but is it out of the realm of possibility that he is artificially lowering expectations to take the pressure on himself?

i don't think you have to be a psychologist to do this. i use this to keep pressure off the people who work for me all the time.

TMG was prescient enough to predict that Eaton would flop with the Phillies. Pat Gillick wasn’t, and neither was I.

i won't pretend to know more about player evaluation than you or pat. all i know is that eaton sucked in his first go with the phillies (and at a time when i followed baseball much more closely than i have the capacity for today).

Why didn’t Pat Gillick try to sign 3B Aramis Ramirez instead LF Soriano? When the Cubs inked Ramirez for $85 million I lost a lot of faith in Gillick. A-Ram is a better player than Soriano in my opinion, and is was exactly the type of player the team needed.

has this ever been addressed? i was hoping the phillies would sign him as well, yet it seemed like they had zero interest. did anyone in the phillies organization ever comment on their lack on interest?

The problem was no one wanted him. Gillick couldn’t give away his contract even though he tried (forget TMG’s argument that Gillick did something smart by retaining Burrell - it’s not something he tried to do) for months. Gillick hates the Bat. He shit all over him at the annual season ticket holder’s meeting.

if pat hates burrell then i give him some small credit for not getting rid of him just to get rid of him.

The cynic in me sees something lurking under the surface, however, and I want to make sure everyone else sees the same thing. The Sox didn’t plan to sign Iguchi next year and were out of the playoff race, so it made sense to sever payroll. What better way to kill two birds with one stone than by repaying Kenny William’s (Chicago GM) fuck buddy Pat Gillick for the dirty dealing done previously by shipping injured Freddy Garcia and his $10 million contract? This type of thing happens all the time when one GM (Williams) wants to preserve a (favorable) trading relationship with a less astute rival GM (Gillick). The perceived value of this trade for the White Sox is the anticipation of dealing with Sloe Gin Pat in the future.

are you basing the notion that williams is the more astute GM based on these two moves or are there other data points? just curious, because that's giving williams a lot of credit.

TMG suggests Ed Wade deserves no credit whatsoever for the emergence of Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Brett Myers, Cole Hamels, Ryan Howard, etc. because a GM doesn’t actually decide which players to draft or have a significant inpact on their development. He reached this conclusion after “some deeper thought” designed to convince himself that his pathological distaste for all things Head was completely logical. I started this post by writing that a big part of the GM job is to evaluate and assemble a management team, create a climate that allows success, delegate authority, and monitor results. It seems like a pretty specious argument to say that a GM deserves no credit when the operation he oversees produces quality results. When Toyota reports its quarterly profit, few sensible people line up to say the CEO deserves no credit because he didn’t actually design or build the cars.

mike arbuckle (i believe) was running the draft before ed wade was hired as GM. should wade get credit for not replacing arbuckle with one of his own guys? i suppose, but no more than gillick should get for doing the same thing.

i don't quite get your toyota analogy. CEO's don't get praised for the design of a specific car, they get judged on the bottom line. for me, the bottom line on head wade's reign -- major league team performance -- is not that good. sure there were some great players drafted, but i guess my point is that they would likely have been drafted whether head was the GM or not.

Again, I’m not here to defend Head, but to amplify a TMG theme I will say that when I watch Jimmy, Chase, Ryan and the rest, I still say “Thank you, Ed Wade.”

we'll have to agree to disagree. i say "thank you mike arbuckle."

if kyle drabek and joe savery turn out to be stars, i'm not going to say "thank you pat gillick", i'm still going to say "thank you mike arbuckle."

Anybody else besides me think Charlie Manual has something to do with the “good vibrations” we see on the bench? Has anyone else noticed that while Charlie may come off as a redneck county hick he makes a point to talk to and encourage EVERY player on the team?

if manuel is the reason, kudos to chollie. should gillick get the same credit for not dumping chollie that you give wade for not dumping mike arbuckle?

Moving away from Pat the track record to Pat the man, let me say just this. I’ve met the man. He’s a fraud. I’ve explained this in previous posts, so I won’t indulge myself any longer.

i don't have that luxury. i can only judge pat on his track record and how the phillies look right now (the bottom line). i'm glad you've given me a more comprehensive (and balanced) view of his moves. maybe you're right about him, i can't say one way or the other. if you're right though, the question i'm left with is: "was it all luck then?". gillick has been successful with every team. how is that possible? ken williams' team is languishing in last place. i don't think gillick has ever had a team perform so poorly. if williams can manipulate gillick so easily, how has gillick been so successful?

Who cares anyway? I’m just glad TMG is watching and enjoying baseball again. Let’s go Phillies!

amen. i'm enjoying every minute, win or lose.

8:12 AM EDT  

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