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!