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Tuesday, October 10, 2006

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This is a great topic. Two things: First, they kept the hitting coach, a former player (imagine that), despite their situational hitting being a big achilles heal. Does not bunting fall under the umbrella of hitting coach? Second, if you had to name the single worst thing about the Phillies organization, what would it be? I'd say minor league player development. Seems to me, unless the player is a first rounder, it so rarely happens, that your point "My theory is those tools are lost somewhere in the farm system" unintentionally reads like the understatement of all understatements.

Excellent post JW! The Phillies pitchers need to worry first and foremost about pitching, but improvement at the plate would go along way to generating more runs. Sure pitchers getting hits would be nice, but how about just successful bunts!

I'm really hoping the 3 new coaches being brought in help sure up the "basics" of this club and help Manuel with some strategy. Defense was a problem this season, and that hasn't been the case in the past. As much as I hate to say this, we need to go back to "doing all the little things right" that's a Chris Wheeler-ism!

I agree with you Weitzel but I think this is really nibbling around the edges. Even the Phils' improved all of the areas you mentioned (bunting, pitchers' hitting, pickoffs), I just don't see how results in maybe more than 1 or 2 wins.

Besides upgrading the pitching on this team, I think Manuel's in-game strategy is a bigger issue. Manuel is not as bad as some suggest on this site but some of his moves (especially his double-switches) really do leave my perplexed at times. Hopefully, the GM gives Manuel a better bench to start the season than last year.

Besides Dellucci, this bench was awful for the first 2+ months of the season. Fasano, Nunez, and Gonzalez just gave away a number of pinch-hit ABs. It was only late in the season that Manuel actually had a few decent options off the bench.

Nice one Jason. All year I wrote and said, "the Phils play hard--but they play dumb." Baserunning, bunting, situational hitting, defensive positioning--these are all areas where we need improvement, and Dancy had considerable responsibilities in all these areas. Though I kind of can't stand the guy, perhaps Vukovich would be worth putting back in uniform after all.

The bunting thing drove me insane all year. Overall, I am optimistic about the Phils in '07, but I am not optimistic many of these things will change. As Jason said, it's an organizational problem at all levels.

Perfect, "play smart but play dumb." I couldn't agree more. Very well put.

Watching Detroit I am made sick as I see a team that plays hard AND smart. What could have been...

It's obviously true that the Phillies are a fundamentally unsound team, but I can hardly recall a time when this *wasn't* the case. I don't see what good it would do to bring Vuke back.

As I see it, a team that plays 'dumb' and lacks fundamentals is almost always reflective of the quality of the organization as a whole. The Phillies do not run their organization with a strong sense of direction, philosophy, or purpose, and it shows up on the field. These kinds of things never get corrected because the Phillies don't see fit to put the personnel in place who can a) instruct at a higher level, and b) be less tolerant of mistakes. Some organizations are driven and determined to win, no matter what their payroll is; players come and go, and yet they still win mjore often than not. The Phillies are the inverse of this. If you want to really acknowledge the deep-rooted problem - that's how deeply it runs.

RSB- months ago when I was blaming Manuel for yet more "dumb baseball", you pointed out this theory about the organization being at fault. You gave an example of successful organization in the Braves and said that they have a "strong sense of direction, philosophy, or purpose". I now agree with you. That doesn't mean I'll let Charlie skate by without criticism, because he deserves it.

The pitchers don't practice bunting, or at least I haven't seen it. I go early to many games each year. Is there any wonder when called on to put a bunt down, they fail ? They never had infield practice the entire season. Changing the bench coach and base coaches won't change any of this. But hey, the team was comfortable. Isn't that what is most important ?

In the offseason 2002-03 (pre-Moneyball) I went to a season-ticket fans session at the Vet. It included a session with Ed Wade, one in the clubhouse with a couple players (Myers & Burrell as I recall) and one with the guys in charge of the farm system.
The one thing I remember is asking the farm guys what they did with prospects who had poor OB skills. The answer: Nothing. Some guys are just free swingers, they said. Post-Moneyball I doubt they'd give that same answer, but it struck me as positively neanderthal.

Have to agree this is an organizational issue. Ask yourselves this: When is the last time you heard someone say "The Phillies Way" when referring to an organization approach to the game, unless of course, you limit yourselves to foot-in-mouth disease when handling public relations?

The ironic part about watching the playoffs last night is that Leyland single-handedly made this team better simply by not accepting "that's the way it's always been around here" as an answer. I think that the fundamentals concept needs to come from the manager on down and obviously by keeping Charlie around, the new coaches could be marginalized. Do we even know who is going to fill these empty spots yet? Call me skeptical, but I just don't see where management has enough of a desire to win a pennant to put guys in there who will make a real difference, especially if it means that they'll cost more money than what they had.

Anyone have any idea why the change in perception of Lastings Milledge by the Mets?:

"Speaking with WFAN, the station’s beat reporter, Ed Coleman, essentially said that if Willie Randolph had to fill out his roster card today Cliff Floyd would be on it. However, the team will wait until the absolute last minute, says Coleman, at which point many suspect Floyd will not make it…

If the team does not carry Floyd, Coleman sees them doing one of three things…

---->>1) The Mets may replace Floyd with another outfielder, who he feels will most likely be Ricky Ledee, not Lastings Milledge…"


Not long ago this kid was the future of the franchise with Wright and Reyes. They did put Floyd on the roster, but would they seriously have used Ledee before this kid if they didn't? If they're that down on him, they should have traded him away earlier this season when his value was through the roof. Now, I'd have to guess that everyone is a little weary of him. Just curious if anyone knew anything about why they're down on him.

Great off-season discussion and most of you guys have hit the nail on the head. It is personnel and their lack of installing proper fundamentals on the minor leaguers coming through the system. Far too many instructors come across as David Montgomery clones. Nice guys, but hardly the type who are there to install confidence and the proper way of doing things. From the recent major league coaching staff, to positions within the minors, there are entirely too many in-house candidates. Knowing that this is the worst franchise in the history of sports should make one go outside of the organization to address these issues. It hardly ever happens, or if it does happen, it tends to be a pushover type like Montgomery, or a little while back, Giles, himself. It's been at least 25 years since things were done the "Phillies way". That being said, it is far past time that this organization got some balls and thought outside of the box. Sadly, it probably won't happen anytime soon, but they can start with the newly open major league coaching positions. Funny how discussion around these positions already include former Phillies players (Russell and Samuel). I am not saying that those two wouldn't be an upgrade, I am just stating that isn't it convenient that they could bring in two more of their own to once again fill these positions.

Finally, Manuel is part of the problem and definitely should not be thought of as part of the solution. I don't think this team is going anywhere until he is gone. Where was this brilliant manager when it mattered most during the last week of the season? Maybe the stars have aligned with the Yankee job no longer on the table. The time is now for Pat to try his best at coaxing Pinella into taking a chance at mananging this young group of players and mould them the right way, instead of the Manuel way.

What a joy it was to see Michael Bourne drop three perfect bunts in the same game -- two sacs and a hit. I did wonder, "Where did he learn that?"

I believe that those wacky '93 Phils were successful because of three guys, Fregosi, Podres, and Lefevre. They laid out a consistent strong philosophy. To the hitters, "Make 'em throw strikes." To the pitchers, "Throw strikes." Lefevre is one of the Phil's all-time overlooked contributors. There is no sign that Milt Thompson learned anything from him.

While we're talking about fundamentals, it would be nice if someone would remind our pitchers how to get opposing pitchers out.

Gillick isn't going to coax anyone into this job. Manuel will play out his contract, and he'll be gone next year...every news report I've read seems to suggest exactly that. the Phils' actions this past season should make it (painfully) obvious that we are not going to pay Manuel $7 million (correct?) to not coach this team and pay Piniella/whoever another $10 million or so to coach them.

Early in the season I listened to Joe Theisman go off (as he loves to do) on how most major league batters don't know how to put down the simplest bunt.

To me, if the team has men on 1st and 2nd with no outs, unless they're down by more than 2 runs, it's a bunt situation no matter how who's up to bat. I don't care if it's Howard, Pujols, Bonds or whoever. I know that's my own opinion, but sometimes you have to put some faith in the guys behind the big bats too.

On the topic of pitchers bunting, I think it's a key. Usually once a season when the Phils face an ex-Braves pitcher (Glavine, Maddux), the announcers usually talk about how good those braves pitchers were at laying down a bunt and moving the runners along.

Obviously, Phillies pitchers need a wakeup call when it comes to the bottom of the order. It was clear that they wrote the 8 and 9 hitters off as automatic and it came back to bite them a lot.

Will, that's ridiculous. there are certain situations when a bunt is appropriate, or even mandatory. say, when no-hit Nunez or the a pitcher is at the plate. but bunting with a good (or great) hitter is shooting yourself in the foot. you will always have a better chance at scoring a runner with nobody out than with one out. if I ever see Howard bunting, I will probably break my TV.

Bunting with Howard or Utley with men on 1st and 2nd. That is a stupid move. Period.

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