Friday, May 06, 2005

Must-Read Phillies Article: Bill Conlin Rips Phillies and Paints Grim, Grim Picture

Bill Conlin tells us we are not making the playoffs:
But on May 5, Charlie Manuel celebrated the Battle of Pueblo with another mini-Alamo that left his crippled and vastly overrated Bliss Kids with a 12-17 record. Some quick math: To win the 90 games it will take to be in the wild-card hunt, the Phillies need to go 78-55 the rest of the way. Is there any way in hell or Fallujah a team that can't put a two-game winning streak together will be capable of that?

The franchise itself is in big trouble:
Pay attention, because you are not only watching the Ed Wade Era ending in a fog of paranoia and denial, but you are in on something that reaches far beyond that. You are watching the collapse of a franchise that has been struggling to get things right since the Bill Giles group bought the Phillies for $30 million from the bailing-out Carpenter family in 1981. Now it is 2005. Monty and The Teflonics are in debt to crippled .203 hitters for much more money than that. The current payroll is just under three times the cost they paid to acquire Hall of Famers Mike Schmidt and Steve Carlton and the fading heroes of 1980's lonely World Series title.

They are hemorrhaging attendance again and it will get worse - much worse - before it gets better. They are still in denial that they have become the most reviled professional sports team in this star-crossed town since the Sixers of Harold Katz. They blame the 24/7 yammer of WIP (610-AM) for their negative image and the venom of a few columnists for the perception they are unwanted and unloved. They blame everything and everybody but ignore the cheerless bench and almost zombielike demeanor of everybody not named Billy Wagner or Jimmy Rollins. At least Brett Myers has gone against the laid-back grain to prove he has some fire in his belly to go with his incandescent stuff.

Huge contracts will mire the Phillies in mediocrity:
I have to tell Dave Montgomery a harsh truth he should be aware of by now: Last place will no longer play here. It just won't do. And once this ballclub goes into the tank - it has the fourth-oldest roster in baseball - the huge contracts owed to Jim Thome, Pat Burrell, Bobby Abreu, Mike Lieberthal, David Bell, Jon Lieber and Randy Wolf will suck the organization down like quicksand. Oh, and if they don't make Rollins the top-paid shortstop in baseball - or close to it - he will walk. A big season by Myers won't help the 2006 payroll, either.

As readers may know, I think Jimmy Rollins is solid, but very overrated in this city. We are so sorely lacking in good players who can make a difference, this overevaluation is understandable. Giving him a big contract would be unwise from a baseball standpoint. But it may be necessary from a P.R. standpoint.

Right before he finishes the article, Conlin twists the knife. Our minor league system offers no hope:
Lakewood, Clearwater and Reading are a combined 21-58 before yesterday. The 5-21 Clearwater Threshers are beyond pathetic.

I disagree about JRoll. I don't think he's overrated in Philly; on the contrary, he doesn't get much attention. Although I don't know if he deserves a huge contract after one outstanding year. He's a very good shortstop regardless of any unsual stat, but the Phillies have ot be careful about another long term contract.

Chris J.
He makes good plays, but the eye can deceive you. Zone Rating seems to work the best of any defensive stat I've seen.
Even if that's the case, he still had a great year offensively, and is not a liability at short.
I would be more comfortable with him if he was batting 6th or 7th. But who else are you going to put 1st?
The only choices would be Lofton, but he'll be off and on the DL for the rest of the year, and Abreu, but he whines whenever that is brought up.
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