The Phillies have fired Ed Wade after eight years as general manager. A press conference is set for 4 p.m. this afternoon.
Today's news represents the most significant Phillies shake-up in years, as the team has decided to take the organization in a drastically new direction. Fans starving for a change can look forward to a major overhaul from top to bottom.
Under Wade, the Phils had the longest playoff drought under the same GM in baseball, and a farm system that currently ranks last according to Baseball America. In addition, attendance and revenue have fallen off significantly in only the second season at Citizen's Bank Park.
Justified, overdue and smart, the Phillies have taken the first step in mending a broken relationship with fans by finding a new captain for this ship. Though the team made progress under Wade, including an 88-74 record this season - the best record since 1993 - his record is shadowed by no playoff appearances in eight seasons at the helm.
In terms of placating fans, the move couldn't be better PR, as season ticket holders and casual fans alike have been grumbling for his head for years.
In terms of baseball, Wade will be remembered by some as an overmatched GM who squandered resources and alienated fans. To others, he'll be the man responsible for making them competitive, and for building a nucleus of home-grown talent.
To me, he just wasn't good enough, and the decision to replace him should have come sooner. I'll remember Wade for his over-reaching,
overly-loyal contracts that made the team too inflexible, and for being too passive with offseason free agency and at the deadline.
Today's announcement means the job is only half over for team president David Montgomery, charged with finding the right person capable of making Philadelphia an elite baseball town. Meanwhile, Phillies nation will wait to see who stays and who goes.
Just as the next GM must be aggressive, Montgomery must be uncompromising in his pursuit of Wade's replacement. The fans are starved and will settle for nothing less than the best. A replacement within the organization means drawing from a losing organization, and that will not fly.
Preferably, the next GM will have a proven history of running a successful franchise, past or present. A first-time GM, should Montgomery go that direction, should be well-versed in the new science of baseball management.
But no matter which school they hail from, they must come in with a plan. The replacement will inheret a team on the cusp of being a playoff contender, put together entirely by Wade.
Until then, the announcement comes as a sign that the ownership is open to change and tired of the past. It also means our Phillies could look very different next season.