The Phils made a bold move yesterday to move the team finally into the 1990s. Welcome back to the age of jive. Why not go after Trader Jack?
Pat Gillick was named to succeed Ed Wade as the Phils' GM, and though that is an upgrade to at least competence. Gillick did have a great deal of success in Toronto, Baltimore, and Seattle. However, he is best remembered as "Stand Pat" from his later years in Seattle when he was unable to pull of a deal at the trade deadline to keep his team in the playoff hunt even though they had more pitching prospects than the New York media led the world to believe the Mets had in the Nineties (how's David West doing anyway?). After all, standing pat at trade deadlines is a Philly GM tradition.
At least he'll enough not to spend an entire offseason collecting bullpen pieces like Ed Wade. Wait a tick:
Before being officially introduced as the Phillies' new general manger, Pat Gillick slipped away for a phone call.
Closer Billy Wagner picked up and heard that he was the team's No. 1 offseason priority.
Sorry, I fainted there for a second.
Look, Wagner is a very good closer, and it would be great to have him back, but anyone who thinks that closer is anywhere near the number-one priority in Philly is more out of touch than the Phlis brass.
The Phils have a Ghordian knot at first base with bachelor number one, Jim Thome, who is aging, is extremely fragile, was abysmal in this injured-shortened season, and has a ton of money left on his contract, apparently the incumbent. Behind door number two is Ryan Howard, who should be the NL Rookie of the Year, was great in a half season, but can't play any other position besides first. To top it off, they both bat lefty so forgot about any attempt to platoon them.
It seems that the Phils best bet is either for Thome to bow to injury early or for a patsy to take him off their hands. Then again, there's Bill Jabba Conlin's suggestion to move Howard to left, where he failed last year in the Arizona Fall League, and thereby displace their two other outfield spots. Owie, mommy!
Then there's the general lack of a starting center fielder. They have two aging vets at third and behind the plate who are still owed at least another year on a big contract. The rotation behind Brett Myers is a bunch of question marks. Then there's the issue of Chris "Wheels" Wheeler's toupee
But I digress. Maybe Gillick was just buttering up Wagner. You know, one of those "Who loves you, babe" moments. But I'm not sanguine.
Hey, at least the guy comes with a full Rolodex and a convenient name with which to criticize him. To quote Napoleon Dynamite, "Sweet" or was that "Dang"?