Jim Salisbury of the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Pat Gillick's recent criticism of the middle of the lineup provoked Phillies President David Montgomery to call a meeting with his second-year GM. [Link]
Meanwhile, Gillick's public criticism, which appeared justified, seems to have worked for Pat Burrell, who's gone on a home-run tear since the comments. Even though the slugger said he was unaware of the comments, in the 10 games since Gillick's remarks, he has two doubles, five homers, 11 RBIs and five walks. Meanwhile, Ryan Howard has been on the DL with a thigh strain, although the real trouble behind the MVP's early funk was debated by just about everyone. That includes Gillick, who said the problem was more mental than anything. Many people connected to the team agreed. Salisbury also points out this isn’t the first time a kick in the pants has worked for this team this season, citing Shane Victorino’s benching by manager Charlie Manuel.
Beerleaguer: Since taking over as GM, Gillick does strike me as a salty guy, and that’s saying a lot speaking on behalf of one of the most cynical forums on Phillies baseball. Yet Gillick’s outward pessimism hasn’t bothered me, not nearly as much as the poor personnel choices he’s overseen. Underneath Gillick’s slick surface, there’s always a sliver of truth that only an outsider can bring.
Nevertheless, this story is a huge revelation in front office dynamics. A veteran GM with two World Series rings and universal respect in the baseball community can still be chopped down by the man. Open the flood gates. How long is Gillick’s leash to conduct baseball operations his way? During Gillick’s reign, this is the first report that calls his power into question, although a glimpse at the Phillies media guide shows that personnel hasn't changed a bit since his hiring, indicating at least some limits. It’s also important to note this wouldn’t be the first time Gillick has acted in opposition to his front office. He ran into problems in Baltimore, and later on in Seattle.