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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

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I would be willing to bet that Zagurski has a chance to stick in the big leagues as a LOOGY but if he is going to be a one-trick pony he better get damn good at doing that one thing.

Zagurski wasn't able to throw strikes consistently last year and has never really done in his entire career. Unless he gets that done pat, I think he is going to struggle stickiing.

Plus, I hate to mention it but he needs to take his condition a bit more seriously. He was listed at 225 but I would say that was generous. More like 240-250. That is a ton of weight to be carrying on his frame (baseball player or no baseball player).

Being large works for some pitchers but it is unlikely that Zagurski is going to get thinner over time. He needs to get serious about dropping a little weight and coming into camp in better shape.

Zagurski lost his command and was never able to regain it with the Phils. It was sad to see, really, he was just lost, overthrowing everything. They let him stay about two weeks too long. He was in over his head.

The reason he made such great strides this year, if I remember correctly, is they made some mechanical adjustments which made him more deceptive. 30/4 K/BB in Clearwater in 16 innings. All of a sudden, people couldn't touch him. When he's on, he must be very deceptive. They say his fastball really jumps to the plate. He needs some kind of second pitch though. I didn't see much of one.

I saw Berry play twice this year and was not impressed at all. His stats say he has speed, but he seemed overmatched at the plate in the games I was at.

How many days til pitchers and catchers?

JW - Good points. It will be interesting to see what kind of adjustments they make with Zagurski to get him to throw strikes consistently though. I am not sold on 16 innings and Zagurski numbers (even as a starter in Kansas) show he had some serious control issues. Hell, it might not even be a bad thing if the Phils let Zagurski start the season at Reading to develop some confidence/work on throwing strikes.

As for the second pitch, I don't remember one either. Zagurski could potentially make it as a LOOGY even with just a good fastball but he will need to develop a second pitch to become anything more than that.

http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/phillies/20071024_Bill_Conlin___Amaro_only_a_year_away_.html

I know it got brought up in the previous thread but I thought Conlin's article was interesting today. Besides providing his usual rambling history of the Phils' organization, the last part of the article on Amaro is the most relevant for discussion.

"Maybe there were some negative vibes in the old comfort zone at the prospect of handing the keys to a guy who came aboard a few years after Monty to be a PR intern."

Comment: That is an understatement. If the Phils don't make the playoffs next year and Amaro is named the GM, then the Phils will be back to square one on the PR front in Philly and Eskin will have a new whipping boy.

"There is always a possibility that these guys are making the plan as they go along, but that is a longshot. Manuel getting 2 years and an option while outlasting Gillick invites only one assumption: Pat will complete his obvious mentoring of Amaro, and there will be a seamless handoff to the ballclub's former, uh . ."

Comment: The changes in how the Phils operate since Gillick have arrived are primarily cosmetic. I haven't seen much evidence to indicate that there much if any change in organizational philosophy on several fronts including how the team deals with the media & fans and how they draft.

"Junior would have been a third-generation major leaguer during his outfielding career if the color line had not denied work to his storied Cuban and Mexican Leagues Hall of Fame grandpop, Santos Amaro. His dad has done about everything it is possible to do in the game and is on the short list of the best baseball men I have been privileged to know. Neither of them earned a Stanford degree to hang on the wall as Junior did. But there will always be that insinuation that Amaro Jr. played around, stayed around this old organization too long. He might be a little too accustomed to saying, "Yes, Monty." He might have been asked for his opinion of Wade's, Gillick's or Monty's opinions too many times and not given a voice for his own opinions."

Comment: These credentials seem pretty thin to me. Basically since Amaro is a ex-ballplayer with some intelligence he would automatically make a good GM? Say what? Where are the specific accomplishments? I see zero here.

"I don't know him as well as I know his dad, but Junior has always been upfront with me - within the parameters of his job, that is. Some days he has responded to my e-mails within minutes."

Comment: Maybe but Amaro certainly has gone out of his way to trump the company PR line on most occasions. "Upfront" or "candid" is not the word I would use to describe Amaro.

"If this shakes out the way it appears to be headed and Gillick rides into the sunset with dignity, leaving behind the young GM he has helped mentor, it could turn into an off-field win for the Phillies."

Comment: Again besides being an ex-ballplayer who is fairly intelligent, I don't see one real reason in this entire article on why Amaro is qualified to be the Phils' GM. If anything, it is legit criticism to say that Amaro is a product of the Phils' organizational mindset that has generally proven to be a bust under Giles.

Anyone who can strike out a batter per inning in the majors has a shot, but I agree with MG that conditioning is a problem; in the photo, the Phillies hat looks like a yarmulke on his head.

As for Gillick, I think Conlin is being way too kind. If anything, you could make a very valid argument that Gillick was brought in as a PR move by the Phils to badly boost their credibility with ticket holders, fans, and the media. Gillick knew he would be paid well for a few years and that he wouldn't be expected to challenge the status quo of the organization.

During his tenure so far, Gillick's moves have mostly been underwhelming and this team has primarily succeeded because of the core of players who were here before Gillick arrived.

Maybe this offseason will change my impression of Gillick. Presently, I regard him as a guy who was passing through town, checked a few nice paychecks, and didn't rock the boat. Not exactly awe-inspiring.

If Zags starts in Reading or Allentown, and can develop another pitch, maybe we see him again in '08.

Oh, Mike, you'll have a much longer career if you lose a few pounds.

MG: fantastic response to Conlin's over-easy on Amaro. You are right to question Amaro's credentials. Montgomery was a company man who started on the bottom rung, and he favors the same type who work their way up through the ranks. True of Wheeler, true of Wade, true of Amaro. The underlying problem with this heir apparent is that his impending promotion will be at the very least *perceived* as favortism based on organizational loyalty rather than hiring the best man for the job. It's more important for the Phillies to have a GM and manager who goes along with the Giles/Montgomery marketing-first mindset rather than for them to find leaders who can be left alone to run the team in the best way possible. It appeared Gillick might have been a departure from this premise, but clearly they must have loved the fact that Gillick is so withdrawn and tight-lipped with the media in the same way everyone else in the front office (Big D aside) conducts themselves.

Meanwhile, Curt Schilling opens his big mouth about Terry Francona to Jim Salisbury, and what comes out? "Terry's really not any different than he was in Philadelphia. He just has an organization that understands winning and is committed to winning."

Yeah. No one in Philadelphia saw that or anything, Curt. And then three months later, we'll hear how hurt and confused you are that he Philiies showed no interest in you.

MG: On the contrary, a number of Gillick's moves were essential to getting Philly over the hump this year. Without Moyer, Lohse, Iguchi, Dobbs and Werth... do you think the Phils come anywhere close to sniffing the playoffs this year?

It's easy to say another GM could have done the same, but the point is that they didn't. Only this GM has gotten the Phils to the playoffs in the last 15 years.

CJ - You miss the big picture entirely. Yeah, Gillick made some nice moves that kept the Phils in the race and enabled them to make the playoffs. However, for every Dobbs or Werth there was also a Barajas or Helms last offseason.

Plus, every major move Gillick has made since became GM either has been an outright bust (Gordon and Eaton signings, Garcia trade, Abreu trade) or marginal at best (Thome trade).

CJ, and as I said in the previous thread when I posted about the Conlin article, this team has not succeeded with in house candidates as GM.

RSB: I'm confused. Do you think Schilling's quote was inaccurate?

clout: no, not at all. But it's saying things like that which created the hard feelings with management which resulted in the Phillies first trading Schilling and then not pursuing him at subsequent times when he became available. He doesn't seem to understand the connection, and he continues to bad-mouth the Phillies at the same time he professes a desire to come back.

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