Pat Gillick spoke to John Clark today and was shockingly realistic — though maybe still a bit optomistic — when considering the Phillies’ potential for future success. Said Gillick:
“I think where we are right now, it’s probably a couple years,. I wouldn’t think  or [2016,] ’15 or ’16 I don’t think is in the cards. I think somewhere around 2017 or 2018.”
It’s a welcome change of pace from Ruben’s (and the team’s) former stance of “this core still has some success left in them.” Gillick then told Clark, kind of against what Ruben and Dave Montgomery said during the season, that the near-future will be more of a “rebuild”:
“I think we’re more toward rebuilding than reloading. That’s my opinion. I think it’s hard to ask the fans, it’s hard to ask the media, it’s hard to ask, you know, anyone, to be patient. Patience is kind of thin these days. But I think this is going to be more of a rebuilding, more of a restructuring than a reloading.”
It’s still not the full-rebuild that Rube and Dave said wasn’t in the cards, but it’s at least more of an admission that something has to be done. 2017 or 2018 might still be a bit on the early side to turn a 73-win team into a major contender, but the first step to rebuilding is admitting you have a problem. Or something like that.
Move over, Susan Finkelstein. Kansas City radio host Dave O (@daveo933) has dug up a Facebook post from a Royals fan who is offering to trade some, well, favors for Game 6 tickets: Continue reading
Photo Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports
It may be surprising to the casual viewer, but Chase Utley has never won a Gold Glove award. That may change this year, however, as Utley is one of three finalists for the NL Gold Glove award at second base. He’s up for the award along with Brandon Phillips and the Rockies’ DJ LeMahieu. As Todd Zolecki points out, Utley has the lowest fielding percentage of the finalists (.985 to LeMahieu’s .991 and Phillips’ .996), but Chase fares a bit better from a SABR perspective.
The SABR statistic UZR is supposed to quantify how many runs were saved by a fielder’s fielding throughout a season. It includes the metrics of outfield arm runs saved, double-play runs saved, range runs saved, and error runs saved. In general, according to FanGraphs, the UZR of a Gold Glove caliber player would be 15+, while a great fielder would have a 10+ UZR, an above average player have 5+, and so on. Phillips’ UZR in 2014 was 8.1, Utley’s was 8.2, and LeMahieu’s was 10.7. That would seem to indicate a trophy for LeMahieu, but it’s worth pointing out that Phillips’ 2008 Gold Glove campaign had him with a UZR of 12.2 while Utley turned in a 18.3.
Gold Glove winners will be announced next month.
Over the past few months, a Delco couple achieved a certain level of internet fame for their “Bucket List Baby.” They wanted to do something for their yet-to-be-born son, Shane, who was set to be born with a rare birth defect that would cause the baby to die soon after birth. They decided to complete a bucket list of sorts for their son and chronicle it on their Facebook page. It even got some national attention. Baby Shane died just hours after being born last week, but the family is still receiving the well wishes of others, including another Shane– Shane Victorino.
Victornio was in Philly this weekend and visited the Drexel Hill couple, gifting them an autographed #8 Phillies jersey with “Shane” on the back to keep in the baby’s memory. It’s a really nice gesture by Victornio, and a really nice thing for the family, who would not have received a jersey if they had decided to name their son “Hunter” or “Erik Kratz,” because those dudes are busy, like Shane was last year around this time.
Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
I am surprised Bowa made it through a full season without saying something inflammatory about one of his players. Wait… what’s that? He called Domonic Brown a lazy POS on the radio? Never mind then. That makes this the second Bowa’s second public gaff.
Speaking to the WIP Morning Show today, Bowa was asked if he thinks Ryan Howard – who, mind you, is currently the Phillies’ starting first baseman – is an American League player at this point in his career. Mr. Bowa?
“Yeah, I think he is,” Phillies bench coach Larry Bowa candidly told Howard Eskin Friday on the 94WIP Morning Show. “I mean, in all fairness to him [Howard], when a big guy like that does something to his Achilles and then you’re out on the field for nine innings and you’re making plays, you’re going to your right, going to your left, that takes a wear and tear on your body. I mean, if you look at just numbers, I would be shocked if an American League wouldn’t say you know what, ‘I’ll take 25 [home runs] and 100 [runs batted in] and he’ll be my DH [designed hitter].’
“But again, I think personally, it would help him just to get off his feet and not being able to have to stand out there for nine innings every night,” Bowa continued. “But there’s also talk that this is really going to be—last year was his first full year since that [Achilles] injury [he suffered in 2011] and he thinks he’s gonna get stronger and better, so again, we’re going to have to wait and see. But I think an America League team—I think he can help an American League team.”
He’s not wrong. But this should make for a fun conversation in spring training when Ruben Amaro fails to trade Howard (or anyone else) this winter.
To his credit, lofty dairy product David Murphy goes gloves-off when it comes to the Phillies and their antiquated, backwards, misguided, confusing, nonsensical, really pretty terrible retooling slash rebuilding strategy. He continued that trend today, writing about how the Phillies are taking a backseat to virtually every other club in baseball:
Yesterday, the Dodgers showed themselves to be the latest team with a firm understanding of the new world order, luring Rays wunderkind Andrew Friedman* from Tampa Bay to reshape their organization despite back-to-back playoff berths.
You can talk about Yasmani Thomas and the recent amateur drafts all you want, but this is the kind of move that a true big market, big revenue organization makes when it feels itself slipping behind the rest of its brethren. There are proactive franchises, and there are reactive franchises, and there are whatever you’d consider the Phillies to be as they sit on their front porch, watching Main Street become an Interstate, yelling at the traffic.
This is the weirdest thing about what’s going on with the Phillies right now. They say they’re dabbling in analytics, but there’s almost nothing about their current strategy that bears that out. They’re stuck in a perpetual limbo, it seems, between being good enough to contend (in their minds) and positively awful (in the real world). They don’t have to become the Sixers to rebuild, but they need to start acknowledging that their current situation is a bad one and that you can’t just add talent to this roster. There has to be addition by subtraction. And now that the Dodgers are the latest team – the biggest money team, too – to embrace analytics, it’s something the Phillies need to do, and in a big, real way before they fall even further behind. You can’t hire an analytics guy and then turn around and say that you’re still going to be a “scouting organization” and then cite said scouts’ use of a stat sheet(!) as evidence that you’re really doing analytics. The problem is way deeper than Ruben Amaro, but firing him would be a good start. Who replaces him? Honestly, a sabermetrics blogger or a Wall Street guy who’s a big baseball fan. I’m not joking about that. Hire someone from outside the old boys network, someone who doesn’t use phrases like good clubhouse guy and glue guy in baseball conversations.
*Friedman is a progressive former finance guy credited with turning the Rays into contenders. And now he has actual money to spend!
The vortex of Phillies past opened last night. The Nationals, who’ve yet to figure out this whole Postseason thing, were eliminated by the Giants, and in the process, Hunter Pence completely and utterly robbed Jayson Werth of a probable triple with this insane, tongue-wagging catch. I’m not sure if I was thrilled to see Pence help Werth on his way to a 1-for-17 series, or if I was in a blind rage watching Pence yet again have Postseason success after the Phillies replaced him with a hybrid grab-bag of outfielders such as Delmon Young, Domonic Brown and Marlon Byrd. What’s certain, however, is that I would’ve had this on a t-shirt before the inning was over with the caption Champion Blood, referencing Pence’s post-clinching speech:
I don’t know how San Francisco fans treat this sort of thing, but in Philly, we celebrate these individuals moments. Hell, Milt Thompson’s regular season catch lives on in lore. Had this sort of thing happened in Philly in a Postseason clinching game – off of Werth, no less! – we’d be talking about it for decades. No joke– decades. Anyway, I’m mad I can’t put this on a t-shirt, but mostly I just miss Postseason baseball. Four years ago today, the Phillies beat the Reds in Game 2 of the NLDS. Hashtag frownyface.
Bill Campbell, who called every professional team in Philadelphia (minus the Flyers) over the span of almost 40 years, has passed away. Campbell’s most famous call may be that of Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point game (above), but he also called play-by-play for the ’60 Eagles, the collapse of the ’64 Phillies, and the ’80 76ers.
Campbell was a local boy through and through, having gone to Roman Catholic High School and Saint Joseph’s University. Along with the late Andy Musser, Campbell was the only man to do play-by-play for the Eagles, Phillies and Sixers. Baseball was his favorite sport, however, and when he was dismissed by the Phillies in 1971 (and replaced by a 35-year-old Harry Kalas, possibly because of Schmidt’s Beer), it hurt. Campbell told the Daily News last year, “it took me a generation to get over it, it broke my heart. Baseball is my favorite sport, and I put everything I had into it.”
Campbell’s accolades over his career include four Broadcaster of the Year awards from the National Sports Broadcasters Association, a Philadelphia Sportswriters Award, a spot in the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame and the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame, and the Curt Gowdy Broadcaster Award from the Basketball Hall of Fame. Though before my time (likely the case for some of you as well), Campbell represented an era when play-by-play announcers were the only way to take in the game. And if that wasn’t enough, Campbell also ran teams’ entire broadcasting departments and doubled as a beer pitchman. The praise has already come in from so many of the people who followed in Campbell’s footsteps, and if you want to learn more about the man, Sam Carchidi’s biography is probably a good place to start.