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Monday, September 11, 2006


Considering the current state of the National League, and in light of the progress of Cole Hamels, along with the record-setting season by Ryan Howard, are you still advising Phillies fans that the team will not contend for a playoff spot next season?

As JW wrote, Gillick is supposed to answer questions for 30 minutes from the ticket holders. If you have anything you want me to ask, I'll do my best. Just post here or email me.

If the payroll is below this years level (95 mil?), will there be a corresponding reduction in season ticket prices?

In this upcoming offseason, how do you see the Phillies' organization upgrading their farm system? Will this involve exploring markets (e.g., Japan) that the Phillies have not traditionally paid much attention too?

Greg - Never get a straight answer on that question but a franchise never reduces tickets unless they are desperate to get back fans.

Major decisions remain to be made this offseason in regards to the roster. Are you looking to bring Wolf back? Are the Phillies looking at upgrades at catcher and 3rd? What's the status with Aaron Rowand? Which players currently in the bullpen look to be locks for next season?

*I know you can't ask all those questions, but maybe one. Thanks!

Good questions so far. Some of mine run along the same themes. Here they are in no particular order:

1. Are you still satisfied with Tom Gordon as the closer going into next season? If so, is that wise given his age and injury history?

2. If you do not win the wild card, will Charlie Manuel be the manager next season?

3. Are you satisfied with the job Rich Dubee has done this year?

4. Will Abraham Nunez be the starting third baseman next season (I hope not!)?

5. Do you envision Shane Victorino as a starter next season?

6. Will ticket prices continue to rise if your payrole continues to be cut?

7. Will you be able to bring someone in who can legitimately hit behind Ryan Howard?

8. Will you insist that Pat Burrell has foot surgery this off-season (unlike past seasons)?

9. When will the Phillies address potential long-term deals concerning Chase Utley and Ryan Howard?

10. Do you intend to bring Randy Wolf back? If not, will you be able to sign a pitcher (or pitchers) since you don't like to do long-term contracts?

Where did you get those shoes?

Have a couple more:

Which minor league players do you see making an impact next season?

How much were you counting on Scott Mathieson going into next season since you have stated that you want to rely on pitching from within the organization?

Mathieson might not be ready for next season. He seems hurt bad...hopefully a full recovery is in his future though.

yeh, arms going "pop" is a reason to always be suspicious of young slider pitchers. i've seen it suggested that pitchers don't throw one before age 21.

(and splitters, forkballs, and the ever popular: screwball)

Will Aaron Rowand be playing for the Phillies Next Year?

What are the phillies plans for the next three years?

Any truth to the rumor that the Phils will rehire Ed Wade as a special scout of middle aged middle relievers?

Thanks Drama. I knew it was bad. Perhaps I should have phrased it differently. How about this: Given Scott Mathieson's injury, how do you plan to fill his void since you have stated that you like to build a pitching staff from within an organization?

What minor league pitchers in AA and AAA do you see having a chance to jump to the majors during 2007? And what roles do you see them in?

If pinch hitting will be as big a part of next season's offensive strategy as it has been this season, how does the organization plan to address the lack of bench production? Does the bench get speedier, more powerful, more patient, something else? We pinch hit more than any other NL team and are near the bottom in pinch hit batting average.

Well, we all know Gillick isn't going to answer any questions directly related to personnel, including Manuel. But the attendance issue is interesting, since I'm pretty sure the Phillies are outdrawing last year's team by a decent margin. How will that affect the payroll for next season, if at all - and if it doesn't, why not?

Here's another one, that doesn't require him to name names: what do you feel would constitute adequate protection in the lineup for Ryan Howard and do you feel there is anyone on the roster presently equipped to fill that role?

A friend of mine argues that it wouldn't necessarily even have to be a power hitter, but a clutch, contact-type player like (sigh) Placido Polanco - or taking it a step further, a solid hitter with *speed* who wouldn't be a double-play candidate. Along these lines, putting Utley behind Howard is not such a bad idea at all - but it would still require suitable protection for Chase. Jimmy Rollins' name has been mentioned for this role, and again I also feel this isn't a bad idea. I wonder if they will opt to go with Bourn in CF next year instead of Rowand, and if so, if they project him as a leadoff hitter; if *that* is the case, they could finally feel free to divorce themselves from the idea of Rollins at leadoff. Victorino is an unselective hitter, so I don't agree with those who think he can lead off. So that leads to yet another potential question, albeit one which Gillick won't answer on account of Rowand: does Bourn get a shot to make this team out of spring training next year?

And one final question: can we please get the goddamn Phanatic off the dugout roof in the seventh inning?

RSB- what's wrong...does the Phanactic give you a bitter taste?

*I'm telling everyone on here that Aramis Ramirez is going to be a Phillie next no worries about protection for Howard. Gillick spoke to me directly...ha!

although it might be nice to ask since it would definitely get some attention, I doubt Gillick would be able to answer the season ticket question. He probably knows the salary situation for next year, but I doubt he has anythng to do with the season ticket price setting.

Although asking the question would let the ownership know that it is an important corollary.

I think questions that would get answered would be:

Could you give an assessment of your minor league pitchers that will may have a shot at helping the big club next year? You could ask the same question about position players.

Could you talk about Pat Burrrell's injuries and future role with the club?

What's your vision for third base and catcher next year? Same question for outfielders.

Do you have plans to lock up Utley and Howard to long term contracts in the near future?

Do you think your payroll will be similar to current levels?

Can you get the league to schedule teams better? This heavy September Marlins diet is not good for either team.

Do you think we can get baseball to reduce or eliminate interleague play? It didn't help the Phillies record this year.

Will you take a hard look at the managerial and coaching staff after the season is over?

Do you think a Coste/Ruiz tandem will be your catcher corps next season?

What's your vision for next years starting rotation?

Earlier in the season PG stated that team payroll in 2007 will remain in "the same range" as 2006, but there has been some recent hedging by Gillick & Amaro when asked about 2007 on the "Ask The GM" pre-game show.

Q: Do you still stand by your statement that '07 payroll will remain "in range" of 2006 payroll?

Some good questions. Hopefully I can get a few in. Will report back tomorrow.

A few others I may try to get in depending on what else is asked.

1. Can you describe the day to day responsibilities of Dallas Green ?

2. How would you evaluate your performance as GM over this year on a A through F scale and why ?

3. The assistant GMs, managerial and coaching staffs, and scouts were nearly all inherited from your predecessor. Do you forsee changes in 2007 ?

Why did Dave Montgomery take so long to fire Ed Wade?

Exactly who does Abraham Nunez have photos of and in what types of compromising positions?

I will be there tomorrow as well and here are the questions I will ask.

1) I have been a season ticket holder since 1992 and have not seen a playoff game since my first full season as a ticket holder. Can you give me a few reasons to feel hopeful that I will see a playoff game IF (emphasis on IF) I renew my season tickets.

2) You had a budget going into to this season that, thanks to the trades of Abreau and others, you should be well under this year. If the right opportunities presented themselves, would you be able to spend some of the money saved in 2006 on players in 2007 or is that money now gone from the payroll.

3) What did you think of my swings? I used to play college ball you know. (part of the event is to take some cuts in the cage.

Any chance that this could be an hour long Q&A session next year?

Here's what Gillick had to say.

Question -- Any plans to offer a long term contract to Ryan Howard ?
Gillick -- Unlikely this year. No need to.

Question -- 3rd base & catcher situation in 2007 ?
Gillick -- Plan on giving Ruiz a chance to play. Need to go outside the organization for 3rd base.

Question -- Does CBP being a hitter's park affect the organization's ability to acquire free agent pitching ?
Gillick -- Thinks park has played fair this year and is not a factor.

Question -- Plans in 2007 to acquire free agent pitching and resign Randy Wolf
Gillick -- Pitching is critical, yada, yada (didn't answer either question). Happy with Moyer, Myers, Hamels, and Lieber.

Questions -- A couple of questions regarding Burrell and his status
Gilick -- Burrell is not performing. We are trying to figure out what's wrong. 24 home runs is still significant. Can't answer question if he will back next year.

Question -- Status of Charlie Manuel ?
Gillick -- He's under contract next season and likely will be coming back.

Question/comment -- Lineup strikes out too much and what's being done to address it ?
Gillick -- Need more contact hitters and lineup is especially weak 6 through 8 now.

Question -- Minor league / farm ?
Gillick -- Ranked 30th last year by Baseball America. Mentioned improvement based on records of minor league clubs in 2006 versus 2005. Does not hold scouts accountable since the organization had traded away draft choices.

Question -- I asked Bob D's question about which minor league pitchers we could expect to see in majors in 2007
Gillick -- Matt Smith, Brian Sanches, Germano, Mazzone (Gillick said he expected at least 1 of those 4 -- maybe 2) along with Brito.

Question -- How about Victorino in CF and Rowand in RF ?
Gillick -- Not bad idea since Rowand played corner outfield in college and was converted to CF by ChiSox

Question -- Are you surprised by Abreu's success in NY ?
Gillick -- Abreu good player with good supporting cast. Need to change mix in Philly.

Question -- Can Phils contend in 2007 ?
Gillick -- Phils should be able to take a step forward in 2007 and be in wild card race. Will not contend with Mets.

Question -- What are the plans to improve the bench ?
Gillick -- Some of the recent acquisitions may play that role next year. Looking for players that play a few positions for versatility. Not interested in just "professional hitters." Questioner specifically asked about free agent Matt Stairs and Gillick said he was the type of player they would consider.

A few other nonsensical question regarding trades involving Ryan Zimmerman, Dontrelle Willis, Miguel Cabrera, and Mark Mulder (questioner didn't know he likely will miss most of next year with shoulder surgery)

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