The focal point of blame changes on a daily basis on Beerleaguer. Today, readers tied front office officials, including scouting and minor league directors, to the rack with one clear message: It's time for a change.
Here’s a dialogue between new reader bay_area_fan and long-time poster Billy Mac from earlier today, with follow-up commentary from Beerleaguer’s senior correspondent Martin Smith.
bay_area_fan: When (Pat) Gillick said they wouldn't compete until 2008, he was operating on the premise that the Phillies were going to go with a young pitchers like (Cole) Hamels and (Scott) Mathieson who would take a few years to develop. But, as it turns out, they've got 4 veteran pitchers in their rotation -- and a 5th one who they moved to the bullpen. And the one young guy on the staff happens to be the team's best pitcher.
Gillick may have said that the team wouldn't contend until 2008, but his actions show that he was trying to win this year. Therefore, he should be held accountable for the fact that it isn't happening. Besides, even if you take Gillick's words at face value, what exactly is that plan for 2008? Does anyone seriously think this looks like a team that is one year away from contention? They have been one year away from contention for about the last 5 years & they are getting worse, not better.
Billy Mac: Great point Bay Area Phan. In that memorable press conference where Gillick said the team wouldn't compete till 2008, he also said he preferred a younger starting staff and a veteran bullpen. Currently he has assembled the opposite. To those who said that Gillick would be a breath of fresh air and drive change. What changes to baseball adminstration? Take a look at the 2007 media guide and compare it to 2001. With the exception of Charlie Kerfeld, the names are the same: (Mike) Arbuckle, (Ruben) Amaro, (Dallas) Green, (Steve) Noworyta, (Marti) Wolever, straight down the line. The guy has 40 years of baseball experience and doesn't know of anyone who can be an upgrade in their front office or scouting?
Martin Smith (via e-mail): I saw the comment by billy mac on beerleaguer about the same basic group running the Phils. I thought of this lack of evaluating talent again the other day when Bradley Key was released by Lakewood. They got him in the Jeff Conine trade. He is 24 and can’t hit low-A ball. He never could hit, so why is he even involved in a trade? Why not get just couple dozen baseballs from the Reds?
(Editor note: Earlier in the day, Martin responded to an e-mail I sent to a handful of individuals entitled "Phillies Stink!")
Martin Smith (via e-mail): I was golfing yesterday, but yes, the Phils stink right now. It’s frustrating and tough to figure out why. I truly believe the people in charge of judging talent are very, very poor. Lou Collier hit a homer last night (second home run of the season by Ottawa), but the talent at Ottawa and Reading is a joke. I follow the old guys hanging on, but seriously ...Collier, Swann, Rushford, Burnham. When the Phils make a trade, they get nothing in return. The Padilla deal, the Bell deal, the Fasano deal, the Cormier deal, the Conine deal and even Abreu deal ... and on and on they get junk.
How is it that the Braves sign a nobody, Willie Harris, and they plug him into the lineup and he hits? The Mets have Pedro Feliciano and Joe Smith (one year from college) and they have given up no earned runs in 28.2 innings. And Matt Smith can't find the plate. Phils sign Antonio Alfonseca, Mets sign Jorge Sosa, both not great, but it looks like the Mets signed the right guy. And Phils can't find a spot for Justin Germano, then end up with Clay Condrey and Yoel Hernandez in the bullpen.
(Editor's note: Germano made his season debut with the Padres yesterday and went six innings, allowing one earned run on three hits).