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Sunday, June 25, 2006

Comments

I'm aware my subjective take on the situation is prone to criticism, but to me the crux of the problem is that the Phillies organization has become a Culture of Losing, pure and simple - and no one is immune to it, despite best efforts to demonstrate tendencies to the contrary. It's clear as daylight as far as I'm concerned; some organizations have a habit of winning, no matter the personnel, and others have an unshakable habit of losing, of doing what it takes to lose, of playing utterly without confidence. How do you fix something like that?

The good news, at least, is that there is precedent for this state of affairs. This was an equally moribund franchise in the late '80s/early '90s, and out of nowhere came the 1993 team - the sharpest possible antithesis of everything the Phillies have otherwise been since I began following them. The unpredictablity of that season remains evidence enough to keep my hopes alive (if only faintly) even through this bleakest of stretches.

I agree with you, RSB. Being only 16 years old, I have not experienced the Phillies being good. All I ask for every year is to make the playoffs. I don't care if 11 teams in the N.L. get contracted and that's how they make it. I just want them to make it. I can only watch DVDs of that 93 club and think about how magical and amazing that year must have been especially with the blue collar players that I would have loved.

The stink of losing has abounded in this Franchise as long as I can remember. Although there has been occasional glimpses of sunlight for brief periods (late 70s thru early 80s, the 1993 aberration) the tradition has been a losing one for most of my 51 years. I believe they are very close to being the first pro sport franchise on the cusp of losing 10000 games, quite an accomplishment, albeit on the negative side.

I am hoping that Gillick will do something to straighten the ship. Anything!! Please!!

Wait a minute...I thought this was a playoff team heading to the World Series, and that Lidle and Bell were to get one year contracts to come back for next season, and that during that 13 out of 14 games won streak Manuel was manager of the year. I was accused of throwing in the towel and being a drama queen for pointing out this kind of stuff over a month ago, but people on here put their blinders on. Next time you go telling someone to shut up and trying to defy their opinions (albeit correct opinions), you need to check yourself!!! So I am going to get pompous and say I told you so, because I did just that.

RSB-How do you square your comments with the Braves' record this year? No team has more of a "winning environment" than they do.

Enough pop psychology-let's talk baseball. This team simply isn't very good. The '93 team won the pennant because Lee Thoams made a great string of trades: Dykstra, Kruk, Mulhollnad, etc. were brought in. Pat Gillick has been unwilling or unable to imitate his predecessor.

In Gillick's defense, I think we all thought this team was much better than it clearly is. Now that we see how bad they are (a sub-.500 record under unbalanced schedule rules, in a division where only the Mets have a winning record), maybe Pat can begin to put together a team for the future. I remain convinced they need to get younger, fast.

Book, I bow down before your genius.

I still want to start by firing Manuel. He will continue to run the same damn line-up out there and continue to mishandle his bullpen and bench. I don't care if it is a AAA staff/roster, if you mishandle it, you mishandle it. He has more than wore out his welcome. No one wanted him here other than Jim Thome and the Phillies brass. He is Ed Wade's last slap in the face of Phillies fans. Ed probably laughs at everyone of Uncle Charlie's post-game conferences. Pat, rid our team of him! If anything, replace him if you are not going to make any radical moves before the end of the season. Show the fans that you at least give some what of a damn, cause Rick White sure as hell isn't doing anything for us (same for Sal Fasano, David Bell, Abraham Nunez, Ryan Franklin, Chris Coste, and Chris Roberson). Ugh, need I say more...

being a religious person, i do believe in maricles and the phillies have about 5 weeks to make some miracles in the trade market, so there is a small glimmer of hope.
if i were a gambling man though i wouldn't put a single penny on this team

I agree with Jon. This team needs to get young, fast. We should be the team have the firesale, not the Marlins.

Let us not forget that Florida won a world series 5 years after their last firesale.

Dump Abreau, Burrell, Rowand, Myers (beats his wife). Get young talent. At least make it look like their is a strategy in place to win this division.

When does Howards contract expire? I've got a $1 saying he wants to have no part of this organization when it does..

John, better organizations have losing seasons as well. What they usually avoid, however, is protracted droughts like the Phillies have experienced. Look at the Dodgers - they lose 90 games one year, and bounce right back and contend the next. That's happened to them several times in the past couple of decades alone.

Organizations win in baseball, and organizations lose. There is, of course, al kinds of objective evidence which could be rehashed about the poor decisions and management the Phillies have engineered in their recent history, but I look at that as the cause. What we have now is the effect, and that's what needs to be dealt with.

Dismiss it as 'pop psychology' all you like, but my take is that there's a reason why the team perenially underachieves, besides the handicapping of an inadequate front office. It plays tight, it plays with a loser's mentality, always looking uphill, always striving only to not fail. As I've stated any number of times on this site, the mental aspect of baseball is vast, and it shows in the Phillies' case.

If others do not perceive this to be a relevant issue, that is their prerogative, but I would appreciate that respect be accorded to the extent that I am not pulling 'mystical' treatises out of my butt here. This is a reasoned opinion. I don't state it as fact. Those who want to stick exclusively to facts can go on all day about Bobby Abreu or Chris Coste's OPS and reject any thoughts that veer into the abstract to their heart's content.

RSB- not asking you to bow before me. I simply did not appreciate being told I was wrong all the time since I've started visiting this site. I love this site because it's about the only place to chat Phillies baseball, but some on here are blind to the fact that the Phillies suck. They want to make excuses for the players, GM, and manager. They want to hold onto the "only missed the playoffs by 1 game" thing and that "13 out of 14 hot streak" to begin May, rather than seeing the big picture that this team just isn't good. They want to praise Bell for hitting a single or making a routine play. They want a tatoo of "J-Roll" on their arms because of the amazing hitting streak...it's a joke man! I love the Phillies, and I love baseball, but it really pisses me off when people are dead on in their assessment of a team but get told that they're wrong and are a drama queen or are throwing in the towel and crap like that. I'm just flat out bitter right now because the kind of stuff that is being posted on here during the past 2 weeks I've been saying all along!

Nice article. I think the Phils have plenty to hope for the future partly, in fact, due to the current losing streak. We have a proven GM, and while not immune from second guessing, has to be trusted to a certain extent. Most people on this blog have stated the "moronic" off-season moves he has made. Consider this: Gillick is given a set amount of money to work with: approx. $90million. Also consider that Wade loved to backlog his contracts, trying to win now (to keep his job). Accordingly, Pat Burrell and Abreu's contracts next year, will be $28 million, combined, in '07 it's 30M combined. That's a third of your payroll locked up in 2 players for the next two. Those are hard contracts to get rid of.

Hopefully we can move one, without paying part of their salary (someone who really needs production from the outfield, like the Astros). Of course they both were given full no-trades clauses.

The point is that the Phils are a mess finacially, and the list goes on. What I've noticed is that gillick is doing his best to unravel it, but it will take time. His only free agent contract was to Gordon and that was not backlogged, meaning he's looking for consistency, not win now. I'll take a bad year now if it means consistent winning in the future.

The comments on this site stem from alot of recent frustration. Uncle Charlie was not Gillick's hire and he will be fired at the end of the season unlikey something very unlikely happens.

This team does not need to be "blown up" (aka Marlins style) but the next year will be criticial for Gillick to remold this team. Unfortunately, Phils' fan just have to accept that this is a lost year but important stones need to be laid for this team to succeed next year.

His most important move will be to figure out how to assemble a decent starting rotation next year. Right now, the Phils only have two reliable starters in Myers and Hamels. Due to Myers' personality issues and Hamels' injury problems, neither is a lock for next year. Gillick also has to figure out if he will get anything out of Lieber. Two other veteran wild cards are Lidle and Wolf. I would be willing to bet Phils sign one of these to a 1 or 2 yr deal with alot of upside potential.

Biggest question mark though for the rotation is where do the Phils get another capable starter or two? One answer is that either Burrell or Abreu needs to be traded. Their contracts take up too much room and either is an MVP-type player. Abreu is a very good player but ideally he is on a team like the Yanks or Sox where he is the 4th or 5th best player. Additionally, a team with bunch of strong personalities would allow Abreu to avoid alot of contact/pressure from the fans & media.

Another issue is what young pitcher will develop for the Phils' farm system? I have no confidence in Floyd and Madson has shown he isn't capable of being a starter. Unless Mathieson develops another offspeed pitch, he looks best suited for the bullpen. Maybe Daigwood or Gonzalez will be ready by early next year but it is unlikely.

As I see it now, the Phils' rotation for nex t year looks something like this

1. Myers
2. Hamels
3. Lieber
4. Starting pitcher in Abreu/Burrell trade
5. Lidle/Wolf/2nd tier veteran starter

Looks ok but there are alot of questions. The starting pitcher free agent market looks bleak next offseason and I am skeptical that the Phils' will spend alot of money on a Zito-type pitcher.

Good post MG

I'd put Wolf a little higher on the rotation, probably a #2, with Hamels being #4, (really #3, but lieber's being paid too much to be #4). I'd hope Lidle and Wolf get re-signed with Myers leaving to make room for the big Ace. I would like Myer's to go this season around trade time, but who knows. Gio definitely won't be ready, Haigwood, maybe.

In gillick we trust

Dear Stand Pat,

We didn't come up with this name for you. So don't be mad at us for calling you a fool. You're moves this year have been great. Let me just go through them all. I know I posted this yesterday but I think much of the posts were about my rip of Coste. Well I'm not exactly ripping him but just stating the obvious. To the Stark Coste Defender whomever you are...you're probably Chris Coste himself because no one else would know so much information about a "fringe" minor league player let alone major leaguer.

Mr. 33 Yr old Rookie, Chris Coste please retire you're using a roster spot which can be used for someone else who might actually be part of this team in the future. You've had your shot and even got a hit or maybe two so do the right thing and pull a A-Gone and just say bye! I've heard enough of the jokes on the XM baseball shows about how the Phillies bench consists of a 33 yr old rookie hitting about .150, nunez hitting under .200 and name your other Scubs hitting a combined .175. Jeez even pitchers on the opposition are batting better against us then as are our pinch-hitters. Thats just plain pathetic. Mr. Coste defender - May I ask you one question, What the hell has the guy done to deserve to start a few games a week as you ask? Nothing thats right so you have nothing to stand on.

1. Hell you traded the current AL MVP away for a guy that runs into walls and throws balls to the backstop. (Great trade as someone posted) Nope I don't think so all it did was open up a spot for Howard. Thome should've been traded the year before when he was still coming off a decent year and could've gotten us more than a human Fed Ex Plane - "AIR MAIL Deliveries only"

2. And you traded for a power bat in Delucci. Oh well he'll hit 5 hr's this year in backup role. Great move can't wait until he fails his steroids test or when the HGH crap comes out and his name is involved. Kind of weird how he never hit for power before the last 2 seasons.

3. Oh yes wait you did get a box of donuts for Padilla and those donuts went stale before the season started so you dumped them in the trash.

4. Sal Fasano was brought in and he's unbelievable if you're looking for a late '70's pornstar but not an athlete.

5 & 6. Nunez and Gonzalez yes thats our all everything infield backups hitting .150 and .100 and only one of them has retired yet!

7. Coste a 33 yr old rookie - Good story if this was KC but not a contender as this team was billed. Oh by the way he's hitting .125 an actual improvement from his predessor Gonzalez.

8. Arthur Rhodes the guy can't throw strikes but he fits in well with the likes of Madson and Floyd.

9 & 10. Ryan Franklin and Santana their great if you have outfield tickets and looking to get a souvenor ball well for Santana folks you'll just have to wait until next year since he's done for the year.

11. Ok wait, you signed Rick White he'll be great i mean barely serviceable.

12. Tom Gordon, I guess even a MORON like you can get one out of 12 correct. He only feel into your lap because the Yankees know that his arm will blow up come August.

Your predessor had his own page now yours is coming soon - www.firepatgillick.com its currently under construction

Sincerely,
Your friend (Short Leash)

Hey MG. Adding more fuel to your fire about the pitching staff and free agency, remember Gillick does not like to offer more than three year contracts (also without no-trade clauses), so the chances of big name starters coming here are remote when they can get longer contracts for more money elsewhere. He will have to overwhelm them with money to get them to sign here for minimal years. Sadly, pitching is what we need most (unless you count new ownership). We should do what they said on 610 and somehow contact Mark Cuban to buy the Phils instead of the Pirates (yes, I know its a pipe dream). All he wants to do is buy championships and you can still buy a playoff team capable of a championship in baseball.

I think it's fair to say that unless a) Pat Gillick turns out to be a miracle worker, or b) the farm system suddenly becomes ripe with prospects, this franchise will not enjoy a sustained period of winning until a new ownership group is in place.

It is depressing to think that next year 4 out of the 5 starting pitchers may back again including Lieber and Lidle.

I hate to belabor the obvious, but it all comes down to the rotation on this team. The offense is there if they all perform to their career averages. But you cannot make the playoffs with that rotation. You just can't.
And if their rotation is Myers, Hamels, Leiber, Wolf, Lidle next season, as MG predicts, they won't make the playoffs then either. Myers & Hamels are the only 2 worth keeping and I'd slot them 3-4. Wolf is a total crapshoot due to the surgery.

Lieber is definitely back next year. There is no way the Phils will be able to trade his contract ($8 million) unless they eat a good portion of it. Just hope it shows something in the 2nd half this season.

I shouldn't focus this much on next season but it really looks kind of hopeless this season. By the way, if the Phils played the Red Sox 100 times this year how many games would the Phils win? I say between 35 or 40 games.

Dang, MG, I'm feeling kinda hopeless about next season. too. Going into this year, I thought the Phillies should be OK and if their starting pitching turned out to be a little better than expected (i.e., the Gavin Floyd Experiment), they might actually contend. In that scenario then, after the Bell and Lieberthal contracts expired, they'd go out and get decent players for those positions and, with a maturing pitching staff, be bona fide contenders in 2007.

That dream has been shattered by the first half of this year. The Floyd Experiment failed, the starting pitching turned out to be worse than expected and the one good starter now looks questionable for off-field reasons.

Add to that the minor league system has been exposed as void of talent -- 33-year-old rookies, calling up AA pitchers because evidently there's no one at AAA (except the tested and failed Floyd and Brito).

So now looking ahead to next year the Phillies not only have to find a catcher and third baseman, they need loads of pitching and to restock the farm system so there is somebody to call up or trade to fill the inevitable injuries. You may have also noticed that they are a bit weak on the bench, save Victorino, who might be a starter next year, which leaves the bench even weaker.

I am just about in the "blow it up camp" now. They can't fix this in a year or even two, not at least running the kind of payroll they seem to want to operate under. Even if they were to open up the checkbook, the list of free-agents to be at 3rd and catcher aren't that impressive for next year.

I'm probably just talking out of frustration and disappointment now and maybe over the next few months I'll see some things to change my outlook. But at the moment I just see a dark cloud with no silver lining.

Trust me on this (because I have helped several major corporations turn themselves around), Pat Gillick's job is way bigger than finding reliable starting pitching, trading Bobby Abreu, firing Charlie Manuel, or getting younger. Yes, those things need to be done, but turning an organization around almost never happens in a year. What I notice about Gillick is that most of the players that he has brought in and kept are really tough hard-nosed guys. I'm talking about Gordon, Rhodes, Fasano, Rowand. Guys who, whatever else you might think of them, just don't quit. Ever. That bodes really well for the future.

Oh, yeah... one other thing that's got me bummed. It's not directly related to the Phillies, but as long as I'm cryin' in my beer...

What's happened to the National League? Why is it so inferior to the American League? I know it has been trending that way for several years but it's ridiculous now, to the point that there seems to be only one real "Major League." I can't ever remember a time there was so much disparity between the two leagues in baseball. As a life-long NL fan, I remember deriding the AL as the "junior circuit," snickering at their funny uniforms and the scoffing at their designated hitters. No more.

RSB, I’m with you 100% on the idea that some franchises have a losing culture and some a winning culture. A winning culture doesn’t mean that you win the pennant every year. But it does mean that even when you are losing, you know it is temporary. You know that you will be back on top shortly. You TRUST that ownership and management will do what it takes.

On the other hand, a losing culture accepts victimhood. Even when they are winning, they are just waiting for that one bad break, that one injury that will provide them the excuse they need to fold. It is inevitable. Winning cultures are always moving forward, moving on. Losing cultures tend to dwell on their misfortunes. Teams from winning cultures are always trying to get better. Teams from losing cultures tend to think they can win if they could finally get a few breaks.

What needs to be pointed out is that the fans also create and support that winning and losing culture. Unfortunately, we Phillies fans help keep the losing culture alive. (I would argue that the Phillies created us, we didn’t create the Phillies)
We turn on the players and the team at the first sign of weakness. Our support is passionate like those people who attended the massacre of Christians at the Coliseum in Roman times. Only in brief spurts have we had the chance to learn how to cheer excellence and support a winning attitude. If we could see the future, and see that we were going to win the World Series in 2008, would we be as critical of the 2006 and 2007 teams? I think not. Well, that’s how Yankee fans think, and fans from other ‘winning’ teams. They ‘see’ a championship just around the corner every season. They don’t see a collapse. They do not blindly cheer their teams. They criticize when the situation warrants. But they know that setbacks are temporary and they keep things in perspective.

I think Pat Gillick is trying to turn it around. First, by being honest about what he has to work with, and saying flat out it isn’t good enough, and it won’t be good enough this year. A lot of people just don’t want to hear that, including players. Second, by not reacting impulsively and making bad deals that cripple him in the future. It takes time to turn it around, but not that long. Look at the Tigers. We have young talent to work with. Can we give Gillick as much time as Detroit fans gave the Tigers?

I think dumping on ownership is too easy. Many franchises have “invisible” owners, usually faceless corporations like newspapers or cable networks with a spokesman or point man. They are not your traditional baseball people, and they do not usually share the passion for the game that oldtime owners do. They set spending limits and wait to see the bottom line. It’s up to the designated ‘baseball people’ to do the work. The Phillies owners might be pulling strings behind some curtain, but no one can accuse them of raping the franchise as some other owners have done. They have put the money out there. Could they be more visible, more openly supportive? Sure, but it’s not necessary to create a winning atmosphere.

I have stated before that as far as CM goes, he should be fired. He just doesn’t seem to care if he’s winning or losing. He’s more concerned about the players, and that just helps those players that are not getting it done from taking a long look in the mirror. CM can always provide them with a reassuring excuse for why things didn’t work out. It wasn’t their fault. It’ll be better tomorrow. That is the true essence of a losing culture.

As for Ed Wade, I do not think he could tell the difference between a winner and a loser. And so players who didn’t like losing were sent packing (Schilling, Rolen to name two), while players who didn’t care were rewarded (Burrell, Abreu to name two). Gillick seems to want to address that issue as well, and I sense that these type of players will be gone sooner than later. I actually think he tried this past offseason and he might yet this trade deadline. It’s not just about the money or the talent. Acquiring players like Gordon and Rowand was as much about winning attitude as anything else.

All hope is not lost. I don't want to make it sound like the Phillies are the Royals. Phillies do have some young good talent (Utley, Howard, etc) but I do think it will take Gillick at least 2 years to turn this thing around. People have to remember that this year's draft picks will take at least 2-3 years to have an impact at the major league level.

I do think that the next 6-9 months are going to determine the directon of this franchise for the next 3-5 years at least. Their will be a new manager in town next season. Additionally, the core of this team will be pretty different next year. Lieberthal, Cormier, and a few other guys who have been around for a while won't be back next year. All in all it should make for an interesting time for Phils' fans.

Wow, George, a lot there to respond to. I agree that Phillies fans poison the atmosphere and exacerbate the losing culture - yet I find it impossible to blame them. There is every justification for their disgust and thensome. It would seem to be an unresolvable, miserable paradox.

I don't agree that Manuel doesn't care. If you read the postgame comments, it's clear he's every bit as frustrated as evryone else, and also adamant in his refusal to make excuses. Recently he's all but implied that the players are making excuses and he's furious about it. However, there is no question that he's proven to be ineffectual. When the team was on a roll in early May, it seemed like vindication for Manuel, as at the time it looked like there was no stopping the team. They appeared ever so briefly to have turned a corner and looked sure to contend the rest of the way, finally playing to their potential. That's why Manuel was brought in; the higher-ups had the idea that he would be the kind of manager who could loosen things up and be positive and bring the team to its full potential. Not only has that not proven to not be the case, but it appears that the team has actually quit on him. Or on each other. When you don't just lose, but play flat for two weeks, it's hard to conclude otherwise. A stronger presence might have been able to step in and take charge, get some kind of response. But it's slipped out of control, and a manager has to be held accountable for that. The bottom line is that the Phillies have not responded to Manuel any more that they did for Bowa. Does that mean it's the players' fault? It could, but since the entire can't be gutted, the organization instead needs to again try to find someone who *can* elicit a response. At this point, good luck. Maybe it's just another unresolvable, miserable paradox.

Perhaps I could put it another way. The manager (not just a baseball manager) needs to be be consistent, both in what he expects and demands of his players, and in how he treats them. He also needs to establish the fact that he will not accept less than what he demands. CM set too low a bar, too low to generate winning baseball, and it's too late to raise it now. Even when the team was winning, too many mental mistakes and breakdowns in fundamentals were permitted to take place. There were no negative consequences to the players at fault. Now CM is expressing frustration and calling the players to task. Too late.

I think he felt that he would create a positive, supportive atmosphere and the team would respond and discipline itself. He would offer advice and be available if needed. That approach can be successful with some teams. Unfortunately, this team has never had the clubhouse leadership needed for that approach to work, especially when confronted with a losing streak, injuries or other challenges.

Short Leash,
Your post only makes sense, if the phillies were close last year and only needed a few pieces to make the leap to consistent contender. HA! Nobody can ever believe that was true. Let me go through your points one by one.

1) He moved Thome to get make a spot for Howard. Plus, noone can say Howard didn't make up for THome in the lineup. SHould we have traded him a year earlier? Probably, but that's not Gillick's fault, it's Wade's. Thome wouldn't be anywhere near his production if he had to play the field everyday. Pretty sure everyone knows that too, except you.

2) He traded for the most power he could get while remaining within his payroll. And then, smartly, chose a guy whose contract runs out this year.

3) Padilla started out great, and is now falling into his crazy fits on the mound again, as his record and ERA

4-11) Yes all of these guys would've better to be replaced by guys who're better. But they would've cost more money, and all, yes all, are at the end of their contracts after this year. Those guys who are better cost more, and are therefore not realistically feasible with the layover Wade salaries. (Exception Nunez he has an '07 contract).

12) Yes he gave Gordon a nice contract. He needed to. He's the one piece that may last more than 2 years. But he's good. As far as his arm blowing up, that may happen, but unlike Wade, Gillick didn't make the last year far and away the most expensive, so Gordon may be able to be shopped to somewhere in the last year of that 3-yr deal. Or simply released, without the organization losing ridiculous amount of money.

This was a rebuilding year, Wade Mortgaged the future for the present, now Gillick is paying the piper. I would want no one else guiding us through this.

This morning there is a report that the Tigers really want Abreu and are willing to part with pitching prospects and take on 100% of his salary. Gillick's comment "Not interested"

I HOPE/PRAY that is just a negotiating ploy.

Burrell looked scared against Papelbon saturday. 3 straight fastballs...Good morning, good afternoon, goodnight. He was so far behind them he should have went up there with a fungo. Burrell is the ultimate NAM, or "Non Adjustment Maker". The guy swings in the same spot at the same speed every swing whether the pitch is there or not, which is why he can't hit anythign to the opposite field, and he can't hit off speed pitches. He looked like a deer in headlights... RISP... 2outs... Fenway... national TV... TOO MUCH PRESSURE!!!!!

By the way he's 2 for 36 with 2 outs and RISP this year.

Where did you hear or read that report Dude?

People are begging for Bobby or Burrell to be traded (like Thome). When they are, they'll start to realize what they are missing (like Thome). We do this every year, every team. Go after our best players, run them out and watch them win championships elsewhere.

I also love this concept Burrell and Abreu don't want to win. When did they say that? Was there a quote attributed to them somewhere? I would venture to guess that any athlete who has made it to the major league level and achieves at the level that they do wants to win. Last year Kenny Lofton said he didn't want to run into the wall, guy's been a winner in a lot of places. People in Philly wanted to run him out. Well, now he's winning in LA.

When the Phans learn you can't judge a person's heart by watching games with a prejudice generated by listening to a moron on the radio who is manipulating their emotions to generate phone calls, we'll all be better off. The only true indicator in this game is statistics and both of these guys produce.

If you want to complain, look toward the bench, toward the pitching staff and toward the other position players (3rd, Catcher) that truely stink.

By the way, how about looking into the "heart" of a guy who knocks his wife around and run him out of town instead...How anyone can list him as their #1 next year after that episode is ridiculous. Is that the desire to win you're after?

Papelbon has a .25 ERA. A 97 MPH fastball and lights out split. I'm sure Burrell's the only one to fail in that spot against him.

Can't believe I'm defending Burrell, but there it is.

I wrote about two weeks ago, only slightly kidding, that Burrell does not come to the plate ready to swing because he's got such a big wad in his mouth, it must be hard for him to focus on anything but his dip. I'm serious. As a cleanup hitter, you can't take ABs off and stand there the way he does, and it's not just against Papelbon. He'll do it against situational left-handers brought in to face Abreu/Howard.

OnlyOne?,

.207 with RISP. It's obviously not just Papelbon.

That rumor is ridiculous if only the fact that no one salivates that publicly about trade talks.

Besides, it's not trade time. Nobody gives up on a season when it isn't even the all-star break. Nobody. The phils could go 14 of 15 again and be 9 games over .500. No one really thinks this is going to happen, but the fact is that it could and you dont give up until you're under .500 around trade time, or you're the Pirates.

And noone ever said Burrell and Abreu don't want to win. They have said that burrell is an injury liability and strikes out a lot. And that Abreu is lazy in the field and has the same type of "for who, for what" mentality that got Lofton run out of town. Abreu also refuses to bat in the part of the order that he would be most effective in.

Will, you are in dreamland.

Any trades with the Tigers start with Humberto Sanchez.

I never said that I thought they'd go 14 of 15, only that the possibility exists, they have done it before. Quite the opposite, in fact I'm kind of hoping they fall out of it completely so that those Abreu/Burrell trades might actually happen. And payroll is freed up for next year.

But a streak is possible. We play Boston today, then play Baltimore (35-42), Toronto (41-34), SD (39-36) and Pitt (36-51) before the break. There's 9 completely winnable games in there for the phillies as presently constructed. If they went 8-5 or 9-4, they'd be right around .500 going into the break. After the break they play SF, SD, Atl, Arizona, and Florida in July.

In other words, they play some pretty bad teams, and although the phils are playing some pretty bad baseball right now, if they get on a roll, none of these teams really have the stuff to knock them off. This may be for the worst in the long-term since they may hang on to debilitating contracts like Burrells and Abreus.

Conversely, if the phils continue their funk, these teams aren't bad enough to lose those series.

What will happen? Probably a mix of the two, and Gillick will have to decide whether to sell or buy.

JW,
Having met Burrell years ago during his stint in Reading (I was down on the field to throw out a first pitch), I can attest first hand that your "dip theory" holds water. As we were standing on the field, waiting for the paratroopers to hit the ground, PB walks out of the dugout, up to one of his coaches who was staning next to me, stares blankly into the sky and says "Skip, what's going on?" Now, having been to several ball games (by no means anywhere near as many as Burrell has played in), I've seen the paratrooper bit a few times. To say that Pat looked a little "lost" would be an understatement. Let's just say that since then, I've never expected that Burrell would be called in to do any emergency brain surgery.

I doubt the dip has anything to do with it. Sheffield, Alou, Bonds, Shilling, Wags, Utley, and Rowand are just a few that all play with huge lippers in. It's as much baseball as hot dogs and beer. I have no problem with it.

That Dude - its good if there's early interest, but I don't want to trade abreu now. I'd rather trade him close to the deadline when we can as sellers (which I finally believe we'll be by then) take the pick of our buyers and what they have to offer. But if someone offered us something decent for cormier tomorrow . . .

I've been reading all these comments in the last two threads. We seem to have lost some civility with each outher. We're all Phillies fans. We can disagree with each other without comments like "you are in dreamland", or "Pretty sure everyone knows that too, except you." Book seemed a little pissed earlier and everyone seems to jump on RSB from time to time.

We can disagree with each other on what is the main problem with this team, but we can all admit that there are a lot of problems with this team. My personal preference is to fault the weak starting rotation, but if you want to fire Gillick or Foghorn or trade Abreu, Burrell, Bell and Lieberthal, that's fine with me. There is no perfect ball player, they all strike out, make errors, hit into double plays, etc.

We should have a rule on this site that you can criticize Phillies management and players, but we should not critize each other. If you disagree with someone's opinion, merely start off your comment with: "I disagree with so and so and here's why..."

Something else that you can "bet the house" on. At some point (and maybe it has already happened) Gillick will do something or want to do something that will tick someone in the organization off. Maybe fire a front-office crony and tick off an owner. Maybe trade a fan favorite and tick off the marketing people. Then Monty will be the man in the middle, really understanding what it means to "be careful what you ask for." When this moment comes, the future of the franchise will be in the balance because I'll bet that Gillick will say something like, "You hired me to do a job. Let me do it or let's part ways."

MG writes "People have to remember that this year's draft picks will take at least 2-3 years to have an impact at the major league level." Normal progression would be 3 years in the minors, so you don't see impact till year 4. Who is the last Philly draft pick to have an impact in his second year ? I believe it was Burrell, who was the first overall selection in the draft. The Phils core players (Howard, Utley, Rollins, Abreu, Burrell, Myers) are all in their primes now and in the case of Abreu slightly beyond his prime. If we need to wait till draft picks like Drabek are ready for the majors, this is possibly 2010 -- assuming they even make it. I think a team with a $90 M payroll with a talented core should be able to be a playoff team sooner than 2010 through shrewd trades and free agent signings. Again this is not the Pirates or Royals with a $30M payroll.

To: "Phillies Suck Part Deux, a/k/a/ "Short Leash" (is that all?): I just read your post of yesterday afternoon (listed at 4:53 p.m.). Firstly, other readers of this current "string" on this blog should be aware that your persistent, poorly-informed rant against Chris Coste rests in a context, wherein you were exposed, by me on this subject, on another blog a few days ago. I'll be more than happy to post that exchange on this blog, and I will do so, if the situation warrants. Get something straight. Chris Coste doesn't need any "Stark Defender." Coste gave a solid indication that he can hit good major league pitching last Saturday (in the only at bat he was given in eight days time) with his sharp single to center field off Papelbon, who was throwing 97 mph gas at the time. Coste now has three (3)hits in his last five (5) at bats, after having had several "hard hit" outs before that. Additionally, Coste has thrown out two of three basestealing attempts against him, with the third having been a pitch which was bounced in the dirt, where there was no play to be made at second base. Included within Coste's "caught stealings" was a strike to nail the Mets' Reyes, the National League's leading base stealer, which Coste threw *from his knees*. You ask: "Mr. Coste defender - May I ask you one question, What the hell has the guy done to deserve to start a few games a week as you ask? Nothing thats right so you have nothing to stand on." My answer: (1) Coste is three-for-his-last-five, has shown that he can hit against top level 97 mph pitching, has shown that he can throw out the National league's top base stealers *from his knees*, has shown that he can hit against a guy like 97 mph Papelbon, after sitting all game, and after not having had a single at bat in eight (8) days; (2)Coste has not been given a legitimate chance to play, since being brought up on May 21st, having been given, even as of today, only nine games, and only 17 at bats, not counting 1 walk and 1 HBP; (3) As others have correctly noted on this blog, that comparative snapshot of time on the field in no way constitutes a fair or legitimate shot, upon which any real assessment of Coste's major league capabilities could be based; and (5) the Phillies' current situation is about "righting the ship", now, and as far as I am concerned, where you already have a guy on your roster who has demonstrated repeatedly that he can hit at AAA All Star team quality, where the guy can catch, and play third base, first base, second base, and two outfield positions, when you need every roster slot for pitchers you can find, those are reasons enough to give Chris Coste a couple of starts a week, for the next few weeks at least. Finally, as to your absurd suggestion that,"you're probably Chris Coste himself because no one else would know so much information about a "fringe" minor league player", you apparently are not aware that many baseball fans follow minor league baseball, in depth, and I have been one of those people, for a number of years. For the record, I am not Chris Coste, and, contrary to your prior mindless suggestion on another blog, the number "73" in my posting name refers to my college football number, not Coste's birth year.

*chuckle*

davthom73, where did you play college football and what position?

University of Maine, Division IAA football at offensive tackle.

"University of Maine, Division IAA football at offensive tackle."

... Then you are in violation of our strict non-athlete policy. Only accountants, audiologists and newspaper editors here.

Just kidding, davthom. Welcome to the fray.

Well, do zero varsity letters, no varsity traveling squads, and a law degree later on count? Actually, it has been fun to participate on the excellent blog you run, Jay.

davthom73 I played for Bucknell, alos Division IAA, and started at Center...4 varsity letters, but who's counting?

Obviously, Book, you were a lot better player than I was. We played Lafayette and Lehigh in the years I was at Maine, but never Bucknell at that time, although Maine has played Bucknell since. Maine had losing teams my four years there. I believe a guy from my high school team, Skip Wadell, played fullback at Bucknell. Take care.

I knew Wadell, he was a senior when I was a freshman I believe. I wasn't great or anything, because I'd be in the NFL if I were, but college football was fun.

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