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Thursday, June 29, 2006

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Wow, just when you thought it couldn't get more depressing.

Lower salary, crappier GM. The gonna let the Phanatic manage?

Well, I wouldn't doubt that the notion has crossed his mind. Gillick is looking at his biggest challenge since the Blue Jays were an expansion team, and in an overwhelmingly hostile and critical environment. Things obviously haven't gone as he expected when he took the job. If it happens, Beerleaguer will have scooped the world.

It at least appeared to a lot of us that Gillick's presence signaled the end of the Phillies' business as usual, but today that is hardly the feeling. Gillick is just as enigmatic and circumspect, if not moreso, than any other member of the team's brass, past or present. A lot of people trust that he has a 'plan', but it seems to be their own plans projected onto his reputed acumen. No one can say with any certainty what he's thinking, and that's almost as frustrating as watching the team itself.

"The defeatism shows more than ever after one of the worst weeks in Phillies history."
Agreed. This stuff is painful to watch, write, and think about.

These are indeed sad times to be a baseball fan in the Philadelphia area. Just think, we could have had both Hunsicker (a younger GM with local ties, along with a proven track record) and Leyland (a consistant winner and good evaluator of talent), but Phillies brass wanted someone to bridge the gap to their holier-than-thou-GM-in-training, Ruben Amaro, and their favorite submissive manager in Manuel. Heaven forbid executives tell Phillies ownership like it is... What world to they live in?? You can't fix something until you realize that there is a problem. They never have to take accountability for anything. No one knows who the hell they are. Do they even exist?? I have heard rumors that they do, but have yet to see any kind of proof. Ugh...

This, my friends, is the losingest team in professional sports. Why do we continue to torment ourselves? Hope? Not even sure that there is any. I've lived through some pretty bad Phillies teams in my short lifetime. I'm not saying that this one is among the worst, but factoring in the expectations, its arguably the most disappointing.

To be 100% honest, I'd rather be a Cubs fan.

Who are the owners? It's amazing really when you think about it. They sit behind the curtain and collect the profits and let Monty, Gillick, and Manuel take all the heat.

TRADE!!!!!

Haigwood to Texas for RHP Fabio Castro.

5'7" lefty reliever.

What is with all the trades to Texas?

Basically we picked up a rule V pick for someone who was top 5 in the White Sox organization.

Where are you getting this tony?

That makes me want to drink heavily.

I think your scenario is certainly plausible, but I'm not convinced yet. The next month will tell. If Gillick is aggressive as a seller and can cobble together usable pieces and payroll flexibility for '07, I could see him sticking around, hiring Pinella or some other established manager, and going after it again next year.

If it's Amaro who replaces him, though, I'll seriously consider becoming a Mets fan.

it is berth, not birth.

Zing!!! This is brutal stuff, man.

Can we wait until the season is over before conducting the post-mortem? Last I heard, there was still a lot of baseball to be played.

The trade is official, it's on the Rangers website. TERRIBLE TRADE. The rangers have the young sabermetric GM. We have a FRIGGIN DISASTER TOP TO BOTTOM.

All I can think of here is young replacement for the situational left-hander position. Perhaps positioning to deal Cormier, who might fetch someone like Haigwood straight up. Don't get it, either. Around in circles. Are we finished dealing with Texas yet?

WE HAVE NO STARTERS and we send a SP prospect for a RP who barely has pitched in the majors when the BP is not our problem. TERRIBLE. I literally hate this team.

The Rangers got from us Padilla, Tejada, and now Haigwood for Nobody, Delucci (who will be gone after the season), and Castro.

What is going on?

Maybe Gillick is planning on being the GM of Texas next year, so he is sticking up.

Pretty sneaky.

Here is the article from the Rangers homepage:

The Rangers have traded pitcher Fabio Castro to the Philadelphia Phillies for left-handed pitcher Dan Haigwood.
The Phillies acquired Haigwood in the offseason from the Chicago White Sox along with outfielder Aaron Rowand for first baseman Jim Thome.

Haigwood, 22, a former 18th-round draft pick out of Midland (Ark.) High, was pitching at Double-A Reading where he was 2-5 with a 3.54 ERA in 15 starts. In 84 innings he had allowed 72 hits and 42 walks while striking out 85.

Sorry, "stocking up" that should say.

The only thing I can think of is that maybe another team really wanted him and in order for the Phillies to trade with that team, they needed to have Castro. Maybe something bigger is on the way. It better be...

When I first saw this trade I was left a bit perplexed . . . don't know much about Castro and need to read up on him some more. Still, this is definitely doesn't seem to fill an immediate need (starting pitcher) or a longer term need.

If Weitzel's column is correct (really nice piece of blogging), and company-yes man Ruben Amaro becomes the GM while the Phils reduce their payroll to $60-$65 million range next year, I will refuse to give any of my money to the Phils until they post a winner again.

One thing to rebuild, quite another to take fans money, put a crappy product on the field, and expect fans to be ho-hum about it.

Would Amaro try to put a positive spin on the Titanic sinking . . . something along the lies of commenting on how many lives were saved or something like that?

I don't know what is worse. The name Fabio or the name Castro. Here are his minor league numbers from last year while pitching A ball.

2005 - 5W - 5 L - 2.28 ERA - 79 IP - 73 K - 37 BB

"Maybe something bigger is on the way. It better be..."

That sounds like how a battered wife rationalizes her husband's behavior....oops

We have too many typo commentors. There's no spell checker in this little box I type in. Usually the blood pressure is high and I'm seeing red, while typing furiously. I try to proofread, but the mistakes still get through.

Maybe he did mean "stick up", like "this is a stick up." with the gun aimed at the Phillies. You'd think the Phillies would want to keep a prospect starter with 85 strikeouts in 84 innings.

Wolf was also placed on the 60-day DL, so much for the late July comeback.

Myer's was optioned to A Clearwater as well, not sure why.

They better have one heck of a trading season in July.

i don't think gillick will go out as a quitter. we're all jumping to some pretty lengthy conclusions based on the last 3 weeks of ball. the trade, that's something else. i don't get it either.

castro:
in AA - 0-1 1.98 5 games (4 starts) 13.2 IP (~3 IP per start?) 14 hits, 10K, 8BB .259OBA
in AAA - 0-0 4.91 1 start 3.2 IP 2ER 5K 1BB
in MLB - 0-0 4.32 4games 8.1IP 5K 7BB

Oops! I see that YT was correcting his own post.

The Myers option to single A was a holding place for him while on administrative leave. It opens up a spot on the 25 man roster for the Royals cast off, our newest dog starter, Benero (I don't know how to spell it. If it's wrong it's a typo!).

I sure hope that the Phils don't reduce payroll. That would be a slap in the face. This whole time I've been able to rationalize the phillie's ownership as having the desire to win, but have placed too much faith in the wrong GMs.

The 90million payroll was nice. It's right in the upper middle payrolls. With proper management, a championship was possible. Say it ain't so. We'll see.

I guess Fabio will start this weekend for the Phillies.

Jason, your well written insightful post sure is a downer. Losing streak and now Ruben Amaro, Jr. It's going to be a long summer.

Will, you starting to see why I made the correlation with the Royals yesterday? Don't let a year or two with an "upper middle" payroll fool you into thinking that the mystery owners place an emphasis on winning. They're still making $$ at $90 million and will make even more at $60 million.

"Maybe something bigger is on the way. It better be..."

That sounds like how a battered wife rationalizes her husband's behavior....oops

Maybe I need to smack around Phillies management. Just kidding! Haha!

Seriously though, it seems like a high price to pay for a starter. I cannot believe there were not any other options out there other than this. I hope this is not Eude Brito Part 2, because handing over Haigwood for that does not make sense. Guess we will find out this weekend...

Couldn't Gillick have gotten this Fabio character thrown in the Padilla trade if he was so big on him? Haigwood's numbers weren't bad at all. The best we can take from this is that Gillick is at least beginning to get active on the phones and that this tiny move will usher in others to come.

this is ridiculous! now, i know haigwood was only a prospect, but his numbers have been decent and he's 22...but we trade him to the rangers for a scrub. this is so stupid, this pisses me off. i wish i weren't a phillies fan right now! not only can't they play to save their lives at the major league level, but not gillick is stripping the already crappy minors too...what the hell?!

There's got to be more to it than this ... I will find out and post.

Jason, that's a geat piece of writing - a prime example of what the internet allows you to do. I don't know whether a regular sports network would allow that kind of statement, simply because too much gloom and doom probably doesn't sell.

A big shout out to you from the Edinburgh (not so) massive for putting a brave prediction up on the site, in really firm, authoritative tones, based on all the evidence you have to hand.

Thanks, Oisin. Always trying to generate some good fodder for conversation.

and we gave them cash...
---
Philadelphia Phillies
Acquired LHP Fabio Castro in exchange for LHP Daniel Haigwood from the Texas Rangers and cash; Transferred RHP Randy Wolf from the 15-day to the 60-day disabled list.
Texas Rangers
Acquired LHP Daniel Haigwood and cash considerations from the Philadelphia Phillies for LHP Fabio Castro; Reinstated RHP Josh Rupe from the 60-day disabled list and optioned him to Triple-A Oklahoma; Released INF Marshall McDougall from Triple-A Oklahoma.
Acquired LHP Daniel Haigwood and cash considerations from Philadelphia for LHP Fabio Castro; Reinstated RHP Josh Rupe from the 60-day disabled list and optioned him to Triple-A Oklahoma; Released INF Marshall McDougall.

Jason,

Any statistics on how many unique visitors you get here? I'm curious how far our voices reach from here..

The good news - Gillick found the phone in his office.

The bad news - Only the redial button works and he's using it to sabotage the Phils through the Rangers before he leaves town.

"Fabio is someone we've had our eye on since before the Rule 5 draft approached last December," Phillies assistant general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "He has a quality arm, is young and someone we are pleased to have in our organization. We feel that he has a chance to develop into a set-up type reliever which has become more and more valuable over the years."

I hate the Phillies. I wish Mark Cuban would save us.

Well, if Captain Next-In-Line is giving it to us straight, then there's you're plan for the scrub. Set-up man. Let's just hope he can stay out of the Venezualan prison system.

So, let me get this straight. On Phillies.com directly above the link about how the Phils are looking for some starting arms, we can now read about how they traded away a SP prospect for a set-up guy (who will be lucky to pitch once a week, at this rate)? On the bright side, at least we have Madson going to try to stop a 7-game slide.

It's a great day to be a Phillies fan. Only 65 more days until Penn State football.

If Gillick really is a temp, maybe the thome trade points the way for what he's here to do - trade away big contracts for youth? 'Course, the haigwood trade suggests otherwise.

On Castro - first off, anyone called fabio gets my vote, but that's only because Fabio and Grooverider were a seminal drum n' bass duo. If Stubborn & Blind's research is right, anyone else surprised that he moved so quickly through the minors and arrives in the majors at 22? John Sickels brief thoughts on him:

http://www.minorleagueball.com/story/2005/12/8/115823/024

thank you, williard, you have reminded me how much i love college football.

Sorry, "stocking up" that should say.

Here's the text from the link provided by Oisin about Fabio. This was written on 12-8-05 by John Sickels.

"Kansas City: Fabio Castro, LHP, from White Sox
Reportedly traded to Texas for Esteban German. Castro will be given a chance to earn a role in the bullpen. 2.28 ERA in 79 innings for Class A Winston-Salem, 75/37 K/BB. Good numbers, looks like he could be an effective LOOGY. Stuff is slightly above average, but because he is short and skinny (5-8, 160) he wasn't considered a premium prospect. Only 20 years old."

Short and skinny? What a fine recommendation. What's a LOOGY? Is that something that comes out of your nose when you're a kid?

Lefty One Out Guy, Lake fred. As in (shortly departing?) Rheal Cormier . . . as for short and skinny, conventional wisdom has been turned on its head about short pitchers, principally by our favourite non-gm, Hunsicker, who made sure that the astros were stocked with good pitchers regardless of size. So I won't take that as a bad sign. (that astros-short pitchers thing highlighted and frequently referred to by Neyer in the good ol' days when he was free.)

I say it's past time to dismantle this team and start over, and the trade of a 22 year old AA pitching prospect was a step in the worng direction. Keep Hamels, Howard, Utley and Myers (despite his recent ugliness) and make everyone else on the big league roster available for young talent -- 1 -3 year major leaguers and near-ready minor league prospects at every position except 1st and 2nd. I thought about including Rollins and Rowand on the list, but Rollins will never be more than average as a leadoff hitter at the very best, and Rowand is replaceable. Sure, some of the contracts are going to be hard or impossible to move (David Bell, anyone?) but package them with more desirable players and/or eat a significant portion of their salaries, and they ought to bring at least something. I'll put up with a losing season or two or three while the kids mature, as long as there is a plan (other than continuing to overpay for middle relievers).

I don't know much about Haigwood, except that when the Thome deal was made, it wasn't just the Phillies who were excited about Haigwood and Gonzalez. The move was seen by a lot of baseball writers as a big step towards rebuilding the pitching in the farm system. So why get rid of him? It seems that he's a junk-baller, and the Phils don't like those. They'd rather have airhead wife beaters who throw hard.

Is there any serious sense among the die-hard Phillies fans who post here that this organization wants to win? Sometimes, to win you may have to make some moves that cost you enough money over the short run that you may have an unprofitable year or two-but a playoff berth raises revenues for years.

Are they willing to invest in winning? Or are they happy to let the team slide till they get revenue sharing money again, which more or less guarantees profitability?

Will wrote "Wolf was also placed on the 60-day DL, so much for the late July comeback.
Myer's was optioned to A Clearwater as well, not sure why."

Will, these were just moves to clear room on their active and 40 man roster so they could place Bernaro on their active roster. Wolf 60-day DL is retroactive. He is still on the same time table ; just pushed back 10 days or so due to the hand injury.

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EST. 2005

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