Results tagged ‘ Pat Gillick ’
That should have become clear the second the Phillies issued a press release yesterday morning announcing ownership partner John Middleton would introduce Andy MacPhail as the next team president. It is the first time an ownership partner got in front of the cameras and microphones and discussed the team. In the past, it has been Bill Giles, David Montgomery or Pat Gillick. Never a Middleton. Never a Buck. Never a Betz.
But that has changed now and it will be fascinating to see how it unfolds. Middleton promised not to be involved in baseball decisions, but clearly he is exerting more influence on the direction of the organization. MacPhail will be interesting to watch, too. He is going to advise Gillick through the rest of the season, but while Gillick will have final say until then, I’ve got to think MacPhail will have more influence than everybody is letting on. For example, what happens if MacPhail loves a deal on the table for Cole Hamels, but Gillick does not? Who wins there?
“I would be very surprised if it ever got to the point where you had diametrically opposed opinions,” MacPhail said. “I think they’re going to insist and ensure that you’ll be involved. And you’re going to learn how that process took place and you’re going to learn who had influence. You’ll also get an opportunity to see just how much information was collected. how exhaustive the research was. So all of those things are going to be important. And again, I’ll give my opinion. That’s one thing I’ve never been shy about doing. It’s gotten me in trouble occasionally.”
Here are the stories from yesterday:
- MacPhail to become team president after the season. Middleton to become more involved.
- Ruben Amaro Jr. will remain GM through the end of the season. Pete Mackanin might remain interim manager, too. But MacPhail will be evaluating everybody every step of the way.
- MacPhail and Middleton talked a lot about analytics. Expect more of that in the future.
- Paul Hagen writes about how the Phillies are changing with Middleton stepping into the spotlight.
It was the fourth time in seven games he had not started at second base, although in two of those games he served as the Phillies’ first baseman and designated hitter. Utley’s playing time is being monitored closely these days because he is hitting .182 with a .539 OPS in 244 plate appearances through June 21.
Utley has a $15 million club option for 2016 that automatically vests if he reaches 500 plate appearances this season.
He has 91 games to attain the remaining 256.
Utley declined to discuss his future with the Phillies or his option this morning at Citizens Bank Park, but Ryne Sandberg said after a 9-2 victory over the Cardinals that he would like to see Cesar Hernandez play more in the future.
“I’ve been trying to get him in there,” Sandberg said. “He does a nice job so going forward … wait and see.”
“I definitely feel like I could be the second baseman of the future and I’m trying to take advantage of the opportunity I am getting right now,” Hernandez said through translator Juan Samuel.
Asked about Utley’s future with the organization, Phillies president Pat Gillick said today, “Chase probably is disappointed in his performance to this point. I think he’s a little bit frustrated with his performance. I think maybe we just have to wait and see. Unfortunately, he got off to a bad start in Spring Training with his sprained ankle. But right now he’s not performing up to his standards and certainly we can’t be satisfied with what he’s doing, either.”
But would it be negligent for the organization to have Utley reach the 500-plate appearance mark if he continues to struggle? Utley is hitting .217 with 19 doubles, four triples, 10 home runs, 70 RBIs and a .617 OPS in 602 plate appearances over 150 games in the last calendar year.
“That’s up to the manager,” Gillick said about Utley’s playing time. “We don’t have anything to say about that.”
“Ruben (Amaro Jr.) to my knowledge and myself, we’ve never dictated to any of the managers their lineup,” Gillick insisted. “They’re free to make their lineup and play whomever they wish.”
If that is truly the case, then it seems Sandberg is already on his way to playing Hernandez more in the future.
But like Sandberg and Gillick said, wait and see.
Here is an extended version of the Q&A:
Question: So for fans thinking about coming to the ballpark this year, what’s your sell?
Gillick: It’s going to be a little bit different. I think what I think is going to be exciting about it is the fact that we’re going to have some new young players on the field. As we’ve talked here in Spring Training, we had a core of players, the Rollins’, the Utleys, the Howards, Pat Burrell, etc., we’re trying to develop a new core. I think it’s exciting to see these young players develop. We think many of them will develop. There will be some that won’t develop. But again, I think it will be an interesting, energetic, energy filled club that we’re going to put on the field. I’m not saying we’re going to win every game and we’re going to have a challenge probably scoring runs, but I think it’s going to be a team that’s going to go out and certainly try to win every game.
Question: From what you’ve seen this spring, do you think the rebuild if further away than you anticipated, closer or still in that 2017-18 window?
Gillick: I think it’s probably somewhere in that window. We’ve had some good acquisitions, I think. Some of the trades that Ruben (Amaro Jr.) made over the winter have brought us some good pitching talent. We were fortunate enough to pick up two or three other people along the way. We don’t know if it’s going to work out, but certainly (Andy) Oliver and (Odubel) Herrera and (Elvis) Araujo, we’ve picked up in addition to the players we acquired in the (Jimmy) Rollins deal and the (Marlon) Byrd deal. They all look like they’re going to be in Phillies uniforms at some point.
Question: How do you assess the rebuilding process to date?
Gillick: The one thing that we really have to concentrate on is more bats and more position players. The players that we’ve received back in the different deals that we’ve made and the drafts we’ve made it’s more pitching. Pitching and defense are very important, but at the same time we’re going to have to score some runs. I think the next wave that we have hopefully it’ll bring us some position players.
The Collective Bargaining Agreement expires following the 2016 season, and MLBPA president Tony Clark said recently the idea has been mentioned to the union. It does not seem to be a pressing issue, but Phillies president Pat Gillick hopes the DH remains in the American League.
“There’s nothing imminent,” Clark said this morning at Bright House Field, where the union held its annual meeting with the Phillies. “There’s nothing going on. I don’t know how that snowball got rolling down hill. This wasn’t anything that’s been discussed. This was something that was mentioned elsewhere. At the end of the day we will go to the players and will determine – if it’s actually proposed — whether or not it’s a consideration the guys want to make, and then we’ll have our bargaining position.”
Scoring in baseball is down, so including the DH in the NL could boost offense. It also would create more high-paying jobs for veteran hitters.
“I’ve been in both leagues,” Gillick said. “Basically, I like the National League style of play. Some people might say, well, that’s an old guy’s way to look at it. But I think it’s a little more intellectual. I think one thing right now that’s pretty prominent is pace of game. And the American League, those New York games, those Boston games, they’re still probably playing them right now. They’re so long. The pace of game, which is an issue, the American League games are longer than the National League games.
“So I would not be one that would be a proponent of the DH in the National League.”
Told that the DH in the NL could increase scoring, Gillick said, “To be frank, I’d rather see them lower the mound and take some of the advantage away from the pitchers and try to improve scoring that way. I just like the intellectual game.”
Clark steered clear of saying whether or not the DH in the NL makes sense.
“There could be an argument for it. There could be an argument against it,” he said. “We’re not going to take a position one way or the other. I will tell you though that each time we’ve had a bargaining session, the DH has been a part of the conversation. What do you want to do? Do you want to eliminate it? Do you want to add it? So it’s been part of the conversation. But as I stand here today I haven’t even begun to ask guys, ‘Hey, what are you thinking about this?’”
Amaro’s contract expires at the end of the year, and his status is unclear following a pair of 89-loss seasons, including a last place finish in the National League East in 2014, despite a franchise-record $180 million payroll. Montgomery and Gillick have expressed their support for Amaro, but Montgomery acknowledged today on MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM that the Phillies’ ownership group is watching closely and a collective decision will be made about Amaro’s future.
“We think we have a pretty quality guy in that role,” Montgomery said. “At the same time, I have a partnership group … they are looking at this closely as well. The reality is that we have a GM that we think is effective. We have a Hall of Fame GM in our midst as well. If Pat spends an entire year or two close with Ruben, I think he’ll have a very good idea to how effective Ruben is and collectively a decision will be made.”
Amaro has traded Jimmy Rollins, Marlon Byrd and Antonio Bastardo this offseason as the team rebuilds for the future. Gillick has said the team will not be competitive until 2017 or 2018, but signs of improvement at the big-league level and encouraging progress from the team’s prospects could help Amaro’s cause.
The Phillies announced significant changes to their leadership this afternoon.
They said David Montgomery will rejoin the franchise as team chairman, not as team president, the role he had held since 1997. Montgomery took a medical leave of absence in August following jaw bone cancer surgery in May. Pat Gillick replaced Montgomery as interim president, but the team removed the interim tag. Gillick said he will serve as president as long as ownership wants him.
Bill Giles has moved from chairman to chairman emeritus.
“This is the best of all worlds for me,” Montgomery said in a telephone interview today. “The more that we talked about things, the conversation became less about when I return and more about in what capacity. The job I had was a little time consuming. I have the opportunity to maybe not have to be here every morning by nine. If there was a (Great Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce) meeting at 7:30 in the morning and there was a night game, I’d work from 7:30 to midnight. Everybody was asking me if I was prepared to do that for another year or two.”
The Phillies said Montgomery, 68, will “remain active in Philadelphia civic, business, sports, and charitable endeavors, and also will maintain his close association with Phillies fans, customers, and sponsors. He will continue to be very involved in Major League Baseball committees and projects.” He will not be involved in the Phillies’ daily baseball operations.
Gillick will continue to run baseball operations while senior vice president of administration and operations Mike Stiles will run the business side. Gillick initiated a complete rebuilding effort in August, when he assumed control of the team. The Phillies have lost 89 games in consecutive seasons and just finished in last place in the National League East for the first time since 2000, despite a franchise-record $180 million payroll last year.
Today’s announcement ended months of speculation about the Phillies’ future at the top. Montgomery said in November he expected to return as president, but he also acknowledged he alone could not make that happen.
“It’s not entirely my call,” he said then.
“Some guys want to stay on a losing team?” he said, expressing a desire to be traded. “That’s mind-boggling to me.”
Yahoo! Sports reported today that the Phillies and Brewers have been in serious discussions about sending Papelbon to Milwaukee – the same place he expressed his desire to be traded — although it will not be easy. Papelbon has a limited no-trade clause and reportedly can block a trade to Milwaukee, although it is highly unlikely he would if given the choice. He also makes $13 million this season and has a 2016 club option worth $13 million that automatically vests if he finishes 48 games this season.
Papelbon is likely to ask a team to pick up the club option before he waives his no-trade rights, although getting the option to automatically vest should not be an issue if he stays healthy. He has finished no fewer than 52 games each of the previous eight seasons, and has averaged 56.4 games finished in that span.
But the prospect of spending another season in Philadelphia might be enough for Papelbon to accept a trade. The Phillies are trading their veterans and said they are unlikely to contend again for another three seasons. It is worth noting similar reports surfaced about Roy Oswalt in 2010, saying he absolutely would not accept a trade to Philadelphia unless the Phillies picked up his 2012 club option. But in the end, faced with spending another season in Houston or getting a shot at a World Series in Philadelphia, Oswalt waived his no-trade rights without the option being picked up.
Papelbon vigorously shook his head no in July when asked if his no-trade clause would be an issue in facilitating a trade.
But the Phillies and Brewers still would have to agree upon how much salary the Phillies would eat and the prospects the Phillies would receive in return.
The Brewers finished 82-80 last season, six games behind the Giants and Pirates for a National League Wild Card berth. The Brewers just traded Yovani Gallardo to the Rangers, but are looking for backend bullpen help.
Papelbon would help a contender. He went 2-3 with a 2.04 ERA and 39 saves in 43 opportunities last season. His 90.7 save completion percentage ranked sixth out of 29 qualifying closers in baseball. His 0.90 WHIP ranked 19th out of 185 qualifying relief pitchers.
His velocity has declined in recent seasons, but last season he learned how to pitch more effectively without it.
Of course, it is believed one reason Papelbon has been difficult to trade is the perception he is a problem in the clubhouse. Major League Baseball suspended him seven games in September after he grabbed his crotch after a blowing a save in Philadelphia. He also has been critical of the Phillies’ front office and coaching staff, although the team’s young relievers have said he has been a positive influence in their development.
“I think there’s a couple clubs out there that could use somebody to close,” Phillies interim president Pat Gillick said this week. “Ruben (Amaro Jr.) has talked to some people. Maybe something will materialize. But the guy has saved 120 games in three years. His record speaks for itself.”
And the notion Papelbon can be difficult?
“I hate to say Pap is Pap,” Gillick said, “but he’s a competitor who likes to win. He goes out there day in and day out. I don’t think at any time this season or during the time we’ve had him that he’s begged out of a situation. Relievers as a group are a little quirky. They’re a little different.”
He uttered the word “anxious” a few times this afternoon at the Manchester Grand Hyatt, where Major League Baseball is holding its Winter Meetings. He is entering his second full season as Phillies manager and the team is in the beginning stages of a massive rebuild.
He is waiting like everybody else to see who exactly will be in the Phillies’ clubhouse in Spring Training.
“The goal of the organization is to get younger,” Sandberg said. “That is what this winter is all about.”
But there is another reason to be anxious. Managers are frequent casualties in rebuilds. Sandberg is signed through 2016 with a club option for 2017, but Phillies interim president Pat Gillick said the Phillies are unlikely to contend until 2017 at the earliest.
“Well, you know, he said probably might not contend,” Sandberg said.
But is he concerned he will be allowed to see the rebuild to completion?
“Well, I’d say after last year that this is the necessary thing to do is to get young and get more athletic,” he said, evading the question. “I think that helps in defense. That helps in scoring runs. It also starts to form a new core group. So with that being necessary and being a part of that, I’m excited about that possibility of seeing that started.”
The Phillies issued a statement this evening that said no decision has been made yet on David Montgomery’s future with the Phillies.
It followed a report this morning from 94 WIP that said Montgomery has been informed he will not return as president. Montgomery took a medical leave of absence in August following jaw bone cancer surgery in May. Pat Gillick took Montgomery’s place as interim president. Gillick is running the baseball side of the organization, while senior vice president of administration and operations Mike Stiles is running the business side.
The statement read, “Of foremost concern to this organization is David Montgomery’s full recovery from his surgery this past spring. There has been no determination made regarding his future status. Phillies ownership will continue to confer with David about their collective vision for the future.”
Back in October, the Phillies immediately and unequivocally denied a report that Montgomery had been pushed from his role as president in August. Multiple sources reached Wednesday said little about the latest report.
Montgomery told MLB.com last month that his health had improved. He said he expected to return as president.
But Montgomery also acknowledged the decision is not up to him.
“It’s not entirely my call,” he said.
He said today he is feeling much better.
Montgomery took a medical leave of absence as Phillies president in August following jaw bone cancer surgery in May. The news hit the organization hard as Montgomery is beloved by his employees.
Pat Gillick took Montgomery’s place as interim president. Gillick is running the baseball side of the organization, while senior vice president of administration and operations Mike Stiles is running the business side.
“Next Wednesday it’ll be six months since the surgery,” Montgomery said this afternoon at Loews Philadelphia Hotel, where he spoke at a luncheon celebrating the Phillies’ 30-year relationship with the Philadelphia chapter of the ALS Association. “The good news is my prognosis is excellent. The chemo and radiation I did was preventative. I’ve basically kind of been dismissed by doctors. I have periodic PET scans … Hopefully I’ll have that 45th season.”
Montgomery has been with the Phillies since 1971, becoming team president in 1997, making this season his 44th with the organization. He said he expects to return to his post as president at some point.
“Oh, yeah,” he said.
It remains uncertain if and when it will happen.
“It’s not entirely my call,” he said. “The disease has shifted now. I think I’m overloved and a little bit overprotected.”
Asked what he thinks about the Phillies’ offseason of rebuilding, he said, “We’re rebuilding, but we have some people that are still going to be part of it. I think our middle infielders (Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley) are both 10-and-5 (full no-trade rights) and both want to stay here. I have more optimism about next year.”