Experience won out as the Phillies gave the nod to Pat Gillick, a veteran candidate from the old school.
Criticized for an alleged contempt for modern statistical thinking, Gillick counters by bringing two championships and nine postseason births to the table, earning credit for his salt of the earth talent evaluation.
During his time in Toronto, Baltimore and Seattle, Gillick sketched an intuitive blueprint to get his teams over the hump and into the postseason, which is where the Phillies find themselves stuck today and virtually every day throughout the history of the franchise.
Most notably, Gillick is credited with fixing a floundering Blue Jays organization and turning it into a world champion twice over, something we know all too well in Philadelphia. But that was 13 years ago.
At 68-years-old, the truth rings clear: This is a temporary change to avoid widespread restructuring and to further groom Ruben Amaro Jr. as the next GM.
The Phillies are known around the league for rewarding loyalty. To the Phils’ brass, installing Gillick, derided as “Stand Pat” for not executing deadline deals in Seattle during the 2002-2003 seasons, represents the best of both worlds. He’s an outsider with some hardware, which is what the fans want, but he won’t ruffle feathers, which is perfect for the front office.
Common complaints voiced on the blog front include his age, a fear that the game has passed him by, his disconnect with the area (he still lives in Toronto), and leaving teams in pretty bad shape once he decides to slog off into the sunset.
Montgomery realized Ed Wade’s time had expired, but was also aware of something else: the Phils aren’t far from the postseason. It's very close. Most of the pieces are in place, and the new GM, no matter who it would be or how he takes his coffee, would have little flexibility due to the long-term contracts, no-trade clauses, and the rest of the residue from the Ed Wade era.
Still, trades can be made, free agents can be signed and ties can be cut. Years of experience have outfitted Gillick with all the right connections to shuffle the cards and deal. He engineered a world champion in Toronto. He oversaw a 116-game-winner in Seattle, something many believed could never happen after losing Unit, Griffey and A-Rod.
Perhaps he can conjure the same magic here in Philadelphia.