Thursday, March 30, 2006
By Jared Trexler
Yesterday, the Philadelphia Phillies won the National League East.
We at the Phanatic tackle every issue from every angle, so while my esteemed colleague loves Pat Gillick's sometimes justly acquired nickname (Stand "Pat"Gillick) and questions aloud why Phillies' fans blame all recent misfortunes on former general manager Ed Wade, yesterday was a perfect example of how things have changed in the City of Brotherly Love.
Yesterday, (for those who missed the line above or are still in shock that I actually uttered the words) the Philadelphia Phillies won the National League East.
Obviously this is not true in the most concrete sense of the word, because 162 games still need to be played. However, a change in team management philosophy, if not seen before, was evidently apparent yesterday.
Gillick cut ties with inconsistent relief pitcher Ricardo Rodriguez, dumping the pitcher the club received in return for enigmatic starter Vicente Padilla.
Wade never would have made this move. The former general manager was seldom straight forward or honest and never admitted a mistake. Yesterday, Gillick called the trade of Padilla addition by subtraction and said that the trade may not look great because Rodriguez never panned out.
Wade would have forced manager Charlie Manuel to trot Rodriguez out in meaningful situations early in the season, only to watch the righty cost the Phillies precious victories. Gillick told Manuel the guy isn't working out. And then he cut him.
A fresh light breeze just blew past me.
Then, after watching 23-year-old Gavin Floyd turn in a spectacular spring training -- 4-0 record and a 2.08 ERA -- Gillick looked at $2.6 million offseason acquisition Ryan Franklin and decided what was best for the team.
Floyd and equally impressive righty Ryan Madson will open the season in the rotation. Franklin will fill the much-needed seventh inning role.
The former Mariner actually was very successful as a reliever in 2002. The shuffling of arms is what's best for the team. Gillick had the brass to move his main offseason pitching acquisition to the bullpen after seeing a rejuvenated Floyd in the spring. Wade would have quivered at the thought.
Under Wade's watch, Franklin would be the fourth starter on Opening Day. Madson deservedly would man the rotation's fifth spot and Floyd would be pitching in Scranton.
The result would be a weaker starting rotation (Franklin instead of Floyd) and a weaker bullpen (any other serviceable arm instead of Franklin).
Baseball fans will soon realize it's not always the moves you make that end up being difference makers. It is how you utilize a 25-man roster.
Gillick obviously grasps that task. Wade never had a clue.
A feel a strong, lasting gust of wind blowing past me.
It's the Phillies moving past Atlanta and New York to the top of the division.
-You can reach Jared Trexler at firstname.lastname@example.org.