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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Comments

Yum, Iron Pig pie. Another one of those so-called Amish treats, right?

according to metsblog, the Mets have signed RHP Matt Wise to a 1 year deal...no word yet on the dollar amount....i know a bunch of Beerleaguers wanted him..he is solid and everyone was looking for bullpen help, including the phils, but im not broken up about it...

Bummer on Matt Wise. I wonder what the clincher was...

Ed Wade gobbles up Chad Paronto, former Brave.

Back to Jason Donald. Clout, I hear you about his age. It's a bit on the high end for Single A. But I was impressed with the fact that, after making a mid-year jump in class, he didn't have the slightest drop-off. Some guys do take longer to develop than others. If he can put up similar numbers at Double A this year -- which is a big IF -- then I think he has to be considered a legitimate possibility as our future third baseman.

Matt Wise = perfect example of what I've been saying all day. Here's a guy who absolutely could have helped the Phillies. Instead he goes to our main rivals. Why? Not because he doesn't like Philly or CB Park or our ownership group, but because we never lifted a finger to try to sign him.

"We" - you, I, every other Beerleaguer - we raised those names. "them" didn't lift a finger. I want to believe you, BAP, but I'd like to see some proof. I'm afraid the only way I can get that is some weak question from the media with a mealy mouthed answer from RAA.

Is there a report on whether the Phillies did or didn't make Wise an offer?

I'll assume they didn't until I see or hear evidence, or even a rumor, to the contrary.

Wise probably signed for $2.5M. Iguchi signed for $4M. The Phils allegedly have $10M to spend on free agents. They could've signed those 2 for say, $7.5 and still had $2.5 for another bullpen guy.

i'm glad we didn't waste the money on iguchi. he isn't that good!!! i wouldn't be at all surprised if helms outplayed him next year, without doing anything spectacular.

it would have been nice to have wise, and i agree with bap...i'll assume they didn't try until i hear differently.

I would have liked to see Wise round out the bottom of the pen. We don't know for sure whether the Phils made an offer. Ultimately, it's Wise's decision. If I'm Matt Wise, a year from free agency, I chose a season in Shea over Citizens Bank Park.

Clout: Iguchi is on record saying he wanted to remain at second base, which the Phillies cannot offer.

bay area phan: So the rumor for Lowell wasn’t good enough for you to believe, but you need a rumor to believe that Phillies tried to sign Wise? I’m having a tough time following your logic other then you seem to hate Gillick and the ownership.

Like I said in one of the previous threads, we don’t hear about every offer or phone calls to agents. Again, no one knew the Phillies offered Roawand an extension during the season, but according to Rowand they did and he turned it down.

B Dub, I have no doubt they made an offer to Lowell - for PR purposes. But I don't believe they were serious about signing him.

I'll pose this question to you again:

Would you, if you were a franchise truly interested in attracting a FA, wait until the 11th hour to make an offer? Wouldn't you be more actively involved from the get go?

Contrast how Jim Thome was pursued vs. Mike Lowell.

Remember, it's more important to pay attention to what the Phillies DO than what they SAY.

Honesty and integrity are not hallmarks of the Phillies organization. Just ask Joe Borowski.

There's no middle ground on this site anymore. You're either against management or you're dismissed. It's a joke. The act is getting old.

Bdub: "So the rumor for Lowell wasn’t good enough for you to believe, but you need a rumor to believe that Phillies tried to sign Wise?"

You're either misunderstanding my point or you're chasing a red herring. My point was not that I needed a rumor to believe the Phillies tried to sign Wise. My point was that there's not a hint of evidence -- not even a rumor -- to suggest that we DID try to sign him.

And, for the record, I don't hate Gillick. He has obviously been a very good GM throughout most of his career. If I were divying up blame for the Phillies' off-season failings, I would assign most of it to ownership, whose main agenda is to squeeze out every dollar of profit that can possibly be squeezed out of this team. That said, even within the constraints of the budget, it would be difficult to argue that Gillick has done great off-season work during his Phillies tenure. Except for a few very minor signings, his off-season acquisitions have been uniformly bad. I still hold out hope that that may yet change, but I find it discouraging when I keep seeing potentially helpful players signing elsewhere, while the Phillies woo a 35-year old has-been who has already been suspended for 15% of next season.

I guess the other possibility is they use the entire $10M for Lohse and call it a year. The problem there is they cannot win with the bullpen as now constituted.

Jason: Do you think there's any basis for anger directed at management?

Clout: Sometimes, but not always. Not when it compromises reason.

There is no evidence that management did try to sign Wise. But there is no evidence that management did not try to sign him. All of this over Matt Wise. He'd be nice to have, but I won't lose sleep.

Clout mentioned that four of the non-roster invitees saw action with the club last season. A lot went wrong for those players to see action, but it goes to show that stuff does happen during a 162 game season. I look at Outman as someone with a very serious shot at getting called up at some point. He had a good showing for Team USA and a very solid season.

Mike/Jason: I feel like Clout or SirAlden. I seem to be on my own island today.

It's not about Matt Wise & it's not about taking gratuitous potshots at management. I've been quick to praise management when they've done something right: i.e., the Lidge trade, the Iguchi trade, the Romero signing that everyone else thought was crazy.

The question was posed: why don't players want to come to Philly? Lots of theories got bandied about. They don't like our owners. They down like our ballpark. They don't like the Liberty Bell or the Franklin Institute or Jack's Delicatessen. So I suggested: isn't it possible that the reason we never sign any significant FAs is because free agency is just a numbers game, where your odds of landing any one FA are slim, & the Phillies simply aren't throwing their irons in enough fires to overcome the odds game? To my surprise, I have been jumped all over for what I thought to be a fairly innocuous and uncontroversial observation.

JW - Don't normally disagree with you but you are dead wrong about fans being particularly angsty this offseason. Fans have every right to be upset with management this offseason. Stuck fans with a fat ticket increase to cash in on their unexpected pennant (on top of one of the most expensive average ticket prices already in MLB) and have done almost nothing this offseason of merit.

On top of it, they have almost been condescending to fans with comments like "small splashes." I just don't get it. If Guarantee that none of that garbage is spouted during the Winter Caravan meetings with the fans.

At least offseason you could make the case that Gillick was trying to improve this team by trading for Garcia and building his team around starting pitching and a strong lineup. This year? Both the starting pitching and the bullpen remain suspect while the starting lineup took a hit with Rowand leaving. I think any fan would have a hard time making case this team is legitimately improved.

Plus, I don't think that most fans are ridiculous in their demands either. I don't expect the Phils to be able to realistically acquire Haren or Santana but I do expect more than the likes of Youman and Snelling.

Hey BL: Pats or Genos?

Reading the reaction to signing Wise on Metsblog. Dosen't seem like they like the signing or they just are disapointed it wasn't something bigger. Its funny, but we're so pessimistic on this site (and with reason) that we would have been doing backflips for signing a guy like Wise. There was just no reason not to do it. Two Madson-types in the bullpen, guys that can throw multiple innings and get lefties out with changeups, is a really good thing. It's a shame we're too busy scouting Glendon Rusch and Sidney Ponson, while negotiating a deal for mike "5/6s of a season" cameron.

Jason: Couldn't agree more. The "them" caricature is childish.. "OH darn those big bad capitalists!" I have no problem with informed criticism, but doing it in a reactionary fashion is a tired act.

They've said the payroll will be 105mil next year. It is what it is. Who knows how much profit they're truly making. Posts like clout's suggestion are constructive. I also wouldn't mind them grabbing a latroy hawkins type or two to make sure we're competitive this year, but as far as any big fish... I could see us regretting a Lohse/Silva/Rowand for 12 mil signing when we want them to make a run at Santana/Sabathia/Sheets next winter.

MG: Isn't there room to cut management any slack? That's all I'm asking. Because frankly, it's starting to sound like posters are inventing reasons to be upset. For not offering arbitration to a Mateo, for example? Get serious.

The thing I'm wondering is after having Kendrick be such an impressive call-up this year, the front office is thinking some mid-summer or september call-ups can be used to help the team instead of free agents. And quite frankly, I'm not sure I blame them all that much. Rather than throw down 10+ Million for a crappy pitcher for four years, why not see if Carrasco or Outman can do the job?

Brian: Agreed. Hawkins would have been a nice addition, assuming he'd want to pitch here. Same for Wise, assuming he'd want to pitch here. Bullpen is a big concern.

Weitzel, Jenkins or Cameron? And why? Thanks.

J~No. There is no room to cut management any slack. They had the chance for some years now to make this team into an NL power and just didn't/won't can't do it. While other teams are/were making major moves our FO just sits there with their thumbs up their butts and now they'll sign the crap that's left only because they have to put a 25-man active roster together.

Lowell and Schilling wanted to remain in Boston. You can't fault the players or Phils management there. Whether the Phils made a true offer to Lowell or not is a moot point. But there was absolutely no reason to let Rowand walk. Privately thought he would accept their 3 year offer because they thought he wouldn't get one for 5 years. They were wrong. They could get Lohse back. They could try on Silva. They won't. They low-balled Kuroda. Didn't get Wolf. They'll get Cameron instead of Jenkins and they're no longer activly looking to upgrade 3B. They brought in no BP help other than re-signing Romero. And so on forth. Once they sign an outfielder and maybe Benson they're through for the off-season. You can book it. I'm telling you this because I got it straight from the horse's mouth. I don't care what your posters believe about me or not. I'm telling YOU! So don't sit there and ask the question about cutting management slack. There answer once again is absolutely not. If you want to talk about this further, contact me via e-mail through Philliestalk.com. I'll be glad to speak with you.

Jenkins, but it's a close call for me. Lefty bat. Not suspended for first 25 games. Solid numbers for what they need. Without the suspension, it would be tempting to go with Cameron in center and Vic in right with Werth. Or trade Vic. Vic has value. Jenkins is the better fit, however.

DPatrone: You said, " They brought in no BP help other than re-signing Romero."

Oh, and Brad Lidge is nothing. Good call.

I really can't understand those that think trading Vic seems like a good idea. We know we're working within a budget here and trading away cheap talent that can start for our team seems like exactly the wrong way to go about it.

Naylman - Its not that Brad Lidge is nothing, but the Lidge trade did nothing to shore up the bullpen. We gave up Geary and moved Myers to the rotation. So the deal did shore up the starting rotation, but it could easily be argued that it weakened the bullpen as Geary was solid, and Myers was good as a closer.

Depends on what they'd get for Vic, doesn't it? If it helps get them better pitching in a trade, it should be considered.

JW - Sure there is if they do a few things to shore up this team. Numerous posters have proposed a series of realistic moves this team could make that wouldn't bust their payroll and would have this team more competitive.

The reality is though that is team has had a significant up tick in revenue over the past few seasons yet decreased/kept their payroll flat. Fine. They are owners of a business and they can run it as they see fit. Don't expect though that the fan base won't be critical and the media won't be tough with them. It amazes that this team expects to have it both ways at times.

If the Phils had won something substantial over the last 15 years, I would be more inclined to side with Phils' management but that is just not the case.

rickyj21: Oh, I know that our BP isn't improved but I'm just saying that DPatrone thinks Romero was the only transaaction we completed that tryed to help improve our bullpen. Obviously, our biggest offeason move has been the acquisiton of Brad Lidge.

And as far as baseless bashing of management goes, I feel that any comments I have made have been justified. The Lidge trade was a nice start, but I feel that there have been some misplaced priorities and that upgrading 3rd base (fulltime) should be more important than finding a platoon (parttime) partner for right field. In the NL you can't limit your bench that badly by platooning 2 different positions and needing defensive replacements at 2 different positions. And while I understand and partially agree with refusing to go after any big names, overpaying, or giving out too many years. But we arent going after the talented bargain basement options. Its like we want to pay marginal prices, but only get marginal talent as well.

As for the whole "running it as a business" I laugh at that point to a degree. It is obviously Giles and Montgomery's primary source of income but hearing them crying wolf about economics makes me laugh.

Everyone knows in sports that where you really make money is when you sell the franchise. If you look at Giles and Montgomery's initial investments in this team and their supposed valuation today, there is almost no private or public investment vehicle that would have returned that level of investment since 1983.

They don't like getting crap from the media/fans or they aren't making enough - then sell the damn team. It really isn't that tough to figure out.

Can't understand how all of ya thinks Geary was solid reliever. He was sent down to the minors I believe twice during the year since he was pitching so badly. I was happy to see him go.

J, obviously it would depend on what they could get in return for Vic, but I can't think of a feasible trade that I would think helped out the Phillies both short and long term. To trade Vic for pitching would be a nice short term fix, but the only talent we have in the minors right now is in the pitching ranks with the exception of Cardenas. Unless we truly believe in Golson we have some major outfield holes to fill, and Vic needs to be a building block more than a trade chip.

ricky21: Good points. I'm really just throwing it out there. He's one of a small handful of players with good trade value.

The thing is,\not that long ago, it was about a week into the Free Agent period and people were already calling it a disaster.

"No reason to let Rowand walk". Yes there was:5 year deal.

Anybody really want Silva for 4 years/44 mil?

Really think Kuroda would come East?

Naylman~ Forgot about the Lidge trade. Sorry. Let me ask you. Are you perfect. Do you remember everything? I doubt it.

I feel like the RAA et al, are targeting players from their past because it is easier than doing due diligence on other players. I truly wonder if the organization employs a single sabermatrician, even if it was just to determine a list of players that the scouts should be watching.
I think that if I was in a fantasy league with RAA, he would finish in the bottom 3 on a consistant basis. Obviously its not the same, but being able to predict buy low, sell high and good prospects is very important in both. We could have had Carlos Quentin as a 4th outfielder for a midlevel pitching prospect, and as far as I can tell, it wasnt even considered.

DPatrone: No I am not perfect but am not an arrogant know-it-all either.

I'm a little considered with this whole Jenkins thing. Wasn't he supposed to sign with us or the Pads by last weekend? I wonder what the hold-up is.

Sorry, Brian, but I love capitalism a lot more than you do.

That said, I would still like the Phillies to make more money in relation to their market size. Even if they did like to line their pockets, which is their right, they improve the probability of winning the World Series by spending some of that money toward payroll.

I am the proud originator of "them" and do so not because "them" are cheap, but because of their ineffective strategy to win a World Series.

If there were only the Pads and Phils offering Jenkins money and Phils were supposedly given more, then Jenkins doesn't want to come here, since he would of signed by now. He and his agent are probably looking for other teams

Or maybe his "deadline" was bs, like most rumors.

flj: Maybe its that Jenkins wants to be an everyday player instead of a platoon with Werth or Hairston in San Diego. I would have to agree with you that he would have signed by now if it was not for some good reason.

Bed's Beard~

The Phils weren't go above 3 years even when they knew 3 years wouldn't get it done. Silva said he wanted to pitch here, but yet no offer was made. Benson? He may come here. But that's what HE want to do. It won't be because they;ll out-bid anyone for him. And Wise? He signed for 1.2 million. Just the kind of signing the Phils are looking for. And yet they didn't it.

$1.2 million for Wise on a 1 year deal. How many think that goes down as one of the best deals of the offseason that will come back to haunt us as Wise is great at getting lefties out.

I wouldn't go for more than 3 years on Rowand or Silva either.

And didn't they say (I know, some may have to suspend their disbelief there)they offered more per year, just less years for Rowand?

Benson of all people is a guy I can see them outbidding for, b/c the bidding won't start very high.

Anyone see how opening day tickets and the Boston Red Sox series tickets are being distributed? It's a lottery just like the playoffs.

http://philadelphia.phillies.mlb.com/news/press_releases/press_release.jsp?ymd=20071218&content_id=2330682&vkey=pr_phi&fext=.jsp&c_id=phi

Jason, saying "You're either against management or you're dismissed" really isn't fair.

Many people here praise management when they accomplish something good. The Lidge deal has been widely praised; the debate has been about whether he's more suited to be a setup man or closer. Re-signing Romero is another positive step.

However, there have been opportunities to upgrade the bullpen, which is still the biggest weakness on the team, and management has let those opportunities 'expire' despite their spoken mantra of "pitching, pitching, and more pitching".

Offensively, losing Rowand hurts. It's questionable whether they replace his production. 3B is still a weakness, and the team has stated that they have no plans to address this weakness. As it stands the offense isn’t as good as it was last season, and right now, it’s questionable whether the pitching has been upgraded, never mind Eaton’s health.

You need to read more carefully. I did not criticize them for NOT offering arb to Mateo. I merely gave my opinion that the reason he was not offered arb was money, because they should have, and probably were in a position to know how his legal situation would be adjudicated. I also speculated some on the issue as to whether they might have made him a lowball offer. They sure left it open to people’s imaginations because they haven’t said much about it.

The simple fact of the matter is Julio Mateo is an upgrade for the Phillies bullpen; if his track record is any indication, a significant upgrade. If management didn’t think that, they wouldn’t have traded for him last summer. They had already taken the PR hit for it last season, so why not try to keep the guy.

So no, management are not evil people, but based on the track record of this ownership group, I don’t think there’s “room to cut management any slack”.

Do you think two playoff appearances in 24 seasons (an 8.33% success ratio) have earned that for “them”? If so, why?

Bed's Beard~

I'm not saying they should have gone more than 3. What I'm saying is that if they don't want to do or pay what the current market demands, they won't get anything done. That's what's happening.

My problem with Phillies management is that they don't seem to understand (or car about) the concept of "window of opportunity".

Naylman~

Neither am I. And I didn't say you were. But if that's your opinion of me so be it.

The hold-up with Jenkins is that he's from California and wants to play out there. His agent was in SD yesterday. SD won't match the Phils offer. That statement has been made public. I bet the agent is trying to wrangle more than a 1 year deal from the Pads. I've been told the Phils have a "yes" on Cameron but want Jenkins first. If they can't get Jenkins they'll go with Cameron.

Jason - I see your point about those who tend to give management a little more leeway becoming marginalized and treated with hostility on this site. However, I don't think that ought to undermine the merit and substance of what the harsher critics are actually saying. The division championship was not an absolution for the way this organization is managed; in fact, to the extent that it seems to be even somewhat *becoming* grounds for an absolution in some people's minds is making me beginning to wish it had not even happened. Let's put it simply: the Phillies, the players, deserved to win it. I was thrilled for them. The management absolutely did not. They do not emphasize winning, they do not commit themselves to doing what it takes to win, and therefore did NOT deserve the reward of a playoff appearance. The players battled like hell and won more in spite of management's negligence than because of its underpinnings. If you can reasonably argue any of the points made in that column by Jack McCaffrey which AWH posted yesterday, for instance, I think a lot of people would like to read it, rather than an out-of-hand dismissal.

I seem to have come up against the spam filter.

Incidentally, I was one of the people most disgusted by what happened with Mateo, so I'll briefly defend that here. The problem I have is that the trade to get him was done without somebody knowing the full extent and implications of his situation - and tell me if *that* doesn't ring a bit familiar, whether we're talking about an injury status, or a legal status. It was yet another transaction that was poorly conceived and handled. I am not shedding tears that Mateo is no longer a part of the team I root for. But I feel it's valid to question the effectiveness of a front office which could orchestrate such a sequence of events. There was either any or all of the following which needed to occur in order for it to go down the way it did: lack of communication, divisiveness, lack of informedness. If it were an isolated incident, it'd be one thing. But to me it all too perfectly reveals the nature of the way this franchise has been run for far too long.

Ahhhh god dammit. Sorry for all that. I thought it wasn't getting through. I'll shut up now.

"I could see us regretting a Lohse/Silva/Rowand for 12 mil signing when we want them to make a run at Santana/Sabathia/Sheets next winter."

This is the funniest thing I've read on Beerleaguer for a long time.

The problem with management is that they do not seem to have the committment to win. They give the impression they are NOT sportsmen owning an major league franchise. They are bean counters that happen to control a profitable business. The problem arises when a large number of sports fans follow the business they run. If they ran the Inquirer this way we wouldn't care. But it's OUR Phils.

There is a window of opportunity here due to no effort of management that has fallen in our cumulative laps. Rollins, Utley, Howard, Meyers and Hamels are the core of a team that can be competitive DESPITE the designs of ownership. The part that kills us fans is that despite the owners we have a chance to be competitive again. If just these wealthy invisible people using our Phillies for profit would invest a small additional amount of their (and our) money we'd have no problem.

OR, if they would just come out and say it's a for profit business not a sports franchise. Then we could all move on. The PROBLEM arises because they act as if they are sportsmen in every way except committing resources necessary to win.

The un-truthfulness is the problem.

If they really want to win they'd spend a little money and take advantage of the situation.

If they don't then be honest.

The deception is the problem and until it is resolved there will be a lot of anti-ownership vitriol on this site and others. And deservedly so.

End of rant.

THW~ 1000% Correct!!!!

If I had the energy to expand on this in a well-considered way, I would. But I don't. Becoming beaten down by Beerleaguer.

Someone noted that the owners are not evil. I don't think they're evil. I think they're incompetent.

(to be continued)

Matt Wise is a perfect example. I'm sure the FO looks at him and says, "He's too much like Madson." Which I suppose is true, but they don't think, "We can sign him for $1.2 million and trade Madson for another part we need." Which is what I'd do, because the next time Madson comes up big in the clutch will be the first time (not to mention he's a Boras client, so he won't re-sign here when he hits free agency anyway). They ought to trade him while he has any value at all. But that would require foresight.

(to be continued)

The Mateo trade. WTF was that? You trade for a guy you never use and then release him? What was the point? To do Seattle a favor of some sort? RSB interprets it as them not realizing the implications of what they were doing; I can't be certain of that, but if anyone can explain how that's not a monumental screwup, have at it.

(to be cont.)

I could go on, but dealing with the spam filter is too annoying. Sorry, Jason, but I think you're off-base. If I were younger, I'd be organizing Beerleaguers to picket the ballpark on opening day with signs criticizing our lousy management. We would make the TV news, and believe me, this PR-obsessed front office would stain its shorts in horror.

In fact, I can see it now. Signs with chickens on top saying "I'm Phillies management! Cheap cheap cheap!" The point of doing it outside is that they can't ban you the way they would with banners inside the park; if they did it would become a 1st amendment issue and it would lead to even more publicity. I'm too old to walk a picket line anymore, but boy am I tempted.

Frankly, it sucks, but they probably did the right thing with Rowand. I think the Giants going for 5 years was a big mistake on their part. Not sure if anyone else was going to go that far.

I think a blog should be started for those who want nothing but to bitch(fairly or unfairly) all the time about management. Respectfully, AWH, you can lead the charge, since it fires you up the most.

Somehow I've managed to erase three years of scathing criticism about management in the course of a 80-comment thread.

So much for testing the middle ground!

BB: I'm not talking about budget-busting decisions. Obviously it's easier to build a team that way. But they're making lousy decisions even in the aisles of Value Village. And many of us don't bitch all the time -- just when management does something stupid. OK, almost all the time.

"I think a blog should be started for those who want nothing but to bitch(fairly or unfairly) all the time about management."

You're reading it, BB.

Jason,
1. I hear and understand what you're saying. The criticism has grown harsh over the past several weeks and incessant in the last couple. And:

2) Some of the ranting is misplaced. But:

3) There are good reasons for that criticism, some emotional and some rational.

To be fair, I agree with most of the points being made. I went very easy on mgmt last year, but hey, they did win the division. I do expect more from them this offseason, but i'm not ready to call it a failure yet, b/c a castoff relief pitcher gets signed by a rival. As long as there is some logical plan, i'll see what happens.

I think their value village record isn't that bad, but yes, I want more than that too.

Personally, I am frustrated as I watch the Phils slip through the off season not adequately filling any of the four holes which are, actually, pretty glaring. (I'd state them as #3 starter, set-up man, 3B who can field and hit decently, LH RF with some power.) The only place we have to place that frustration is on the F/O.

Is it their fault that no progress has been made? Maybe not. But it is hard to see them as successful in the past. And it's hard to justify some of the arguments they make in public - 3b is fine, for instance, or Blackley will compete for the fifth starters job, or the payroll has to be under $105MM.

So we get angry and rant. Sorry. I seem to remember the reaction to the Lidge deal was mostly positive. Nothing's happened since then, so...

Jason, I'll say it again. I praise when it is merited, and I'll criticize when it is merited.

I agree that the name calling ("them", Seattle Stew, RAA, etc.) is a little nasty, but there is also an element of humor to it. And it wouldn't be funny unless there was an element of truth to it as well.

'Bitching' about the Phillies' management is hardly endemic to Beerleaguer. Visit any Phillies-related blog, bulletin board, ask any sportswriter with an e-mail address. This is a vastly majority sentiment among fans. A rinky-dink division series isn't going to suddenly make everyone forget the legacy of one postseason appearance in twenty-four seasons.

What are they supposed to say about Blackly, the truth-"He won't compete for anything and will be returned to Seattle"? No, both for his sake and of course, PR, you talk up his chance to make the team. Common sense.

And hell, isn't PG on record saying something like "Jenkins is too rich for our blood" and yet they're making the biggest play for him? Don't take anything out of their mouths as gospel. It's a mistake if you do.

Jason, et al.: the sheer fact we're getting up in arms about the tone of discussion itself must reveal the point. We're tired of this low-balling franchise. It doesn't matter if we win or not, the effort to match our passion isn't there.

People are passionate about sports in Philadelphia, and they're angry at the people who have caused the team to disappoint.

They see strong efforts made in New York and Boston and Chicago and now even Detroit to do everything it takes to present the best teams possible, and outside of one obviously circumstantial aberration (Thome), they have made a perceptive enough correlation between all the averageness and the team's unwillingness to make the necessary effort to transcend that level.

To get in on the management debate, I don't feel that they've done a terrible job, per se, this offseason; we've probably improved our rotation, lost some offensive production, and our bullpen's in, roughly, the same shape that it was last season. I don't think that we've gotten better or worse, and the same can be said of our main competition, the Mets and Braves (the Braves will be better for having a full year of Texeira, but that wasn't done in the offseason). I'm certainly not disappointed that we didn't keep Rowand, I'm not all that distraught that we have a void at third base when we have 2 MVP's and a future MVP occupying the other spots in the infield, and I can deal with our not landing Kuroda. That said, Gillick has been a little negligent in addressing the bullpen. It was very bad last year, and his big moves are to get us a good closer to replace last year's good closer, and to re-sign a guy who had a career year. None of that can be called an improvement, so the bullpen remains a problem, and yet, we don't seem to have been in the market for any of the relievers out there. That's a little baffling, and I don't really know how to explain it. Another set-up man is arguably a bigger need than a 5th starter to replace Eaton, but we're more in the market for the latter than the former - in spite of the fact that a starter would cost more.

Ok, I'll take up the challenge. I praise Gillick for:

1. Recognizing that Howard, not Thome, was the future & getting decent value in the Thome trade, under difficult conditions;

2. His in-season acquisitions which have, for the most part, been pretty decent (i.e., Moyer, Iguchi, Lohse, Conine, Romero);

3. Being more willing than his predecessor to rely on young players;

4. Locking up Chase Utley & Brett Myers under very reasonable terms;

5. Correctly recognizing that, as popular as he may have been, Aaron Rowand isn't worth a 5-year deal.

6. Correctly discerning that Jayson Werth & Greg Dobbs could be decent complementary players; and

7. The Brad Lidge trade.

Now, finding good things to say about Monty and ownership . . . that would be considerably more difficult.

Tray - good points all.

To have a shot in the postseason, a team can't have a bullpen that is thin. Otherwise, that leads to overwork of the good relievers during the season and they wear down.

If RAA expects some of the minor leaguers to compete for bullpen spots in ST, that's acceptable to me - I'll defer to his judgement that they are ready - but he should SAY something.

If he doesn't say anything I can only assume he doesn't think they'll be ready.

That means the bullpen is thin, and needs more pieces. What's RAA gonna do, sit on his hands?

Jason, I agree. I've been beat down by Beerleaguer quite a bit over the last few weeks. It's not because the criticism of management has been unnecessarily harsh, but more because it's been reflexively negative regardless. I really can't stand that people are attacking management for not offering a contract to Matt Wise. How do you all know they did not? They may very well have offered one and Wise chose to rebuild his value at Shea. just because we don't hear about it doesn't mean it didn't happen. Clearly, the Phils made a trade offer to the Astros for Lidge, but none of us heard one word about it until the trade announcement. It's extremely frustrating that people are getting upset at a lack of action that they CANNOT confirm. It's also equally upseting when people automatically assume that they lowballed Kuroda. All the trade rumors suggest that the Phils offered a competitive deal, but Kuroda wanted to be on the West Coast. What are the Phils supposed to do about that? The underlying cause of frustration here is the reflexively negative reaction to action or inaction, it doesn't seem to matter. I understand the impatience, but the overwhelmingly negativity is deflating. Hey, here's a thought? Maybe that's why Philadelphia is so unappealing a city to play in... maybe the players don't want to deal with the irrational, negatively exuberant fanbase?

To get in on the management debate, I don't feel that they've done a terrible job, per se, this offseason; we've probably improved our rotation, lost some offensive production, and our bullpen's in, roughly, the same shape that it was last season. I don't think that we've gotten better or worse, and the same can be said of our main competition, the Mets and Braves (the Braves will be better for having a full year of Texeira, but that wasn't done in the offseason). I'm certainly not disappointed that we didn't keep Rowand, I'm not all that distraught that we have a void at third base when we have 2 MVP's and a future MVP occupying the other spots in the infield, and I can deal with our not landing Kuroda. That said, Gillick has been a little negligent in addressing the bullpen. It was very bad last year, and his big moves are to get us a good closer to replace last year's good closer, and to re-sign a guy who had a career year. None of that can be called an improvement, so the bullpen remains a problem, and yet, we don't seem to have been in the market for any of the relievers out there. That's a little baffling, and I don't really know how to explain it. Another set-up man is arguably a bigger need than a 5th starter to replace Eaton, but we're more in the market for the latter than the former - in spite of the fact that a starter would cost more.

I just want "them" to try to make the team BETTER. If they do I will sing their praises and renew my seats.

So far, my view is that while changes have occured/been made, the team is not any better than the team that finished 2007.

The Braves have added couple of pitchers and will have a full season of Tex. The Mets are not going to stand still (signed Wise, added Church and Schneider), and are trying desperately to land Johan Santana. If they do trade for Santana - kiss the division and the playoffs goodbye.

What will "them" and RAA do under that scenario to try to compete, or will they be content to just be mediocre and win 85 games?

The track record says they won't try to keep pace, and that is, at the core, what concerns me about "them".

CubeHostage, your points are well taken. I agree that there is a reflexively negative reaction in many people.

But, the "irrational, negatively exuberant fanbase" didn't stop Utley or Myers from signing extensions, and they didn't cause Burrell to want to be traded.

It is learned behavior based on observing this group of owners run this team since they bought it in 1981 - 26 years ago. Despite the recent track record, serious fans remember the dark days.

I truly hope this ownership group IS successful. Nothing would make me happier as a fan. But until they consistently make the playoffs over a number of years (for example, like the A's did in 5 of the last 8 years) then I cannot place blind faith in them, or "cut management any slack".

They haven't earned it yet.

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EST. 2005

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