Results tagged ‘ Pat Gillick ’

Gillick Will Be Both Caretaker and Agent for Change

Gillick Elected to Hall of FameThe Phillies named Pat Gillick interim president last Thursday while David Montgomery takes a leave of absence to recover from jaw bone cancer surgery. He joined the team today in Atlanta, and said he plans to follow the team through the rest of the season.

Gillick spoke with reporters this afternoon, when he offered thoughts and opinions on numerous topics. Basically, he said he will be focused on the baseball operations side of the Phillies. Senior vice president of administration and operations Mike Stiles will be in charge of the business side.

Here are a few highlights:

Q: Do you have full power on baseball operations?
A: Right now I guess that, you know, Ruben (Amaro Jr.) and I … let me put it this way, Ruben and I mutually agree on most decisions that we make. Ruben is very inclusive on any decisions that we make for the ballclub. But right now if there’s something I might have a different opinion, I’ll certainly voice that opinion and we’ll talk it through and try to make what we think is the correct decision.

Q: But you have final say?
A: I would say if it comes down to the end, I have part of the final say. At this moment, I think ownership has a part of the say, too.

Q: Are you a caretaker or someone who can come here and affect change?
A: A little bit of both. As I’ve said over and over, we want David back as soon as possible. So that point, I’m an interim care taker. But at the same time, if there are decisions that have to be made from a baseball standpoint, we’re going to make those decisions.

Q: Amaro said emphatically last Friday in New York that he is the GM and that is not going to change. He also said Ryne Sandberg is the manager and that is not going to change. Can you definitely say Ruben will be the GM and Ryne will be the manager?
A: Right. Absolutely. Absolutely.

Q: Why? Fans are incredibly frustrated right now with the GM position.
A: Well, let me say this, one of the more difficult thing to do in professional aports, and not only baseball but all sports, is to be patient. It’s very difficult. It’s very difficult for the fans to be patient. It’s difficult for the media to be patient. It’s difficult for ownership to be patient. But sometimes when you get challenges, and the challenges are we haven’t played well in the last two, three years. These are basically the same people that made the decisions when we won five division championships from 2007 through 2011. These are the same people making the decisions. So, all of a sudden, Ryne wasn’t here, but Ruben was here. All of a sudden he didn’t get dumb overnight. It’s just right now, we’re in a situation where we know where we’re headed and it’s going to take some time to get us where we want to go.

READ THE FULL STORY HERE.

Amaro: Expect Significant Changes to Roster

Ruben Amaro Jr.Change is coming.

Ruben Amaro Jr. said today there will be more adjustments to the Phillies’ roster in the future, following yesterday’s trade that sent John Mayberry Jr. to Toronto for Minor League third baseman Gustavo Pierre.

“Not that it’s a huge change, but we’re going to have to start churning the roster in a way that it’s going to have to be improved,” Amaro said in the press box at Turner Field.

Does he believe those changes could be significant?

“I do,” he said. “I think we need it. I think we need it because what we have on our roster right now is not working. How much we’ll do will depend on what makes sense for us. We’re still kind of assessing what we have. But I think it would behoove us to make some change because we need to be better.”

Amaro declined to say if those changes could extend to staff and management positions, although he said Friday there will be no changes at GM or manager while Pat Gillick serves as interim president.

“I’m not going to get into specifics,” he said. “We have to be better.”

There is no question the roster does not have enough talent to win, but there also is a staleness in the clubhouse. It might be a good idea to move some players simply to get fresh faces and perspectives in there.

Amaro said that could be a factor when shaping next season’s roster.

“There are a lot of factors,” Amaro said. “How a player will fit short term and long term for us. What guys bring to the table on and off the field. All those things. Intangibles. We have to assess all those things. And we’ll look to improve in all those areas.”

But money will make the job difficult. The Phillies are loaded with players with expensive contracts, which they have been unable to move in the past. They could find the same issues in the offseason.

“We have a lot of ideas where we want to go, but to crystallize those we’ll have to see how things go, particularly when we have a chance to see some of the guys called up here,” Amaro said. “We have a lot of decisions to make. I think it’s a good thing. Change is going to be good in certain ways. Consistency is important too. I think we have a lot to assess, but we have a pretty good idea where we want to go. We just have to start thinking about the execution of those things.”

Montgomery Takes Leave, Gillick Assumes Control

Pat Gillick, left, along with David Montgomery, right, survey Citizens Bank Park on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2005 in Philadelphia. Gillick just replaced Ed Wade, who was fired after failing to get the team into the playoffs during eight years on the job. (AP Photo/Bradley C Bower)

Pat Gillick, left, along with David Montgomery, right, survey Citizens Bank Park on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2005 in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Bradley C Bower)

The Phillies made a surprising announcement this afternoon when they revealed general partner and president David Montgomery is taking an immediate medical leave of absence while he recovers from jaw cancer surgery.

Pat Gillick has assumed Montgomery’s responsibilities.

Gillick, who served as the organization’s general manager form 2005-08 and continued to work as a senior advisor, issued a statement that said, “I have the highest regard for David Montgomery, as does everyone in our industry. I am glad to be of assistance to the Phillies.”

The team added in its statement: “The club looks forward to David returning to his roles as General Partner, President and Chief Executive Officer when he is fully recovered.”

Montgomery, 68, had surgery May 19 to remove cancer form his right jaw bone. He had been undergoing treatment following the surgery. Montgomery has kept a low profile since, although he was first in line Wednesday to shake hands on the field with the Taney Little League team during a pregame ceremony at Citizens Bank Park.

Montgomery had been unavailable to reporters in recent weeks, although he spoke to a fan group last week at the ballpark. He also recently made the team’s road trip to Washington before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.

Montgomery has been the public face of the Phillies’ ownership group since 1997, when he became president. He started in the organization in 1971, when he sold season and group tickets. He advanced to marketing director and director of sales before becoming executive vice president following the 1981 season.

He became chief operating officer in 1992. He acquired an ownership interest in the team in 1994.

Montgomery is very popular with his employees. Former players often cite the organization’s “family atmosphere” and it is something that starts with Montgomery, who makes a point to know everybody in the organization, regardless of their stature or importance.

Has the Price Gone Up?

Pat Gillick talked this afternoon about the effect Carlos Beltran‘s trade to San Francisco has on the rest of the market with just four days to go before the trade deadline.

“When somebody goes off the market like Beltran goes off the market, then you say, well, OK, if he’s off the market that reduces the pool out there, so whoever we’re talking to you might have to up the ante because there’s one less guy out there,” he said.

If Gillick is accurate and the Astros are looking for four top prospects, which has been reported, then it seems like the Astros can dig in a little bit more.

Hey, the Giants gave up a top prospect for a two-month rental. You’ll have to give up more for a guy like Pence.

“You have to evaluate what your needs are, what your club has, what this player will do for your club, what you’ll get in return. You have to take all of this into consideration,” Gillick said. “And then probably most of the time with a club like ours you’ve got to be prepared to overpay a little bit. Sometimes to get what you want to have to overpay a bit.”

Will the Phillies overpay for Hunter Pence? It might start with Jonathan Singleton and Jarred Cosart. Would you throw in two more top prospects for Pence if that’s the starting price? Or is that too steep for a team that already has the best record in baseball and might be good enough to win the World Series as is?

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Gillick Elected to Hall of Fame

gillick trophy.jpgWe take a break from the How In The World Are The Phillies Going To Replace Jayson Werth story with some news …

Pat Gillick has been elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

The official announcement came around 10 a.m., but I’m just getting a chance to blog about it now because of a news conference and interviews with David Montgomery and Gillick.

You could tell Gillick was emotional before he addressed reporters during the news conference. But his emotions really came through when he, believe it or not, thanked the media for being fair to him over the years.

(See, we’re not that bad.)

“It’s an honor,” Gillick said. “It’s over the hill.”

What would you say were Gillick’s five biggest moves with the Phillies? He told me Thursday they were keeping Charlie Manuel as manager, keeping Ruben Amaro Jr. and Mike Arbuckle as assistant general managers, signing Jayson Werth, trading Jim Thome to make room for Ryan Howard and … he couldn’t come up with a fifth, although several times he mentioned trading for Jamie Moyer and Brad Lidge, and signing J.C. Romero after the Red Sox released him.

These would be my top five:

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The Oswalt Trade

oswalt 3.jpg

Roy Oswalt makes his Phillies debut tonight.

A few thoughts about the trade:

  • It looks like a favorable one for the Phillies, doesn’t it? They get Oswalt through 2011, possibly 2012. They get $11 million to help pay the remaining $23 million on his contract. They did not have to trade Domonic Brown, Jonathan Singleton or Jared Cosart – who Baseball America considers three of the top 50 prospects in baseball.
  • Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels and Oswalt would be a scary rotation in the postseason, wouldn’t it?
  • Ruben Amaro Jr. redeemed himself for the Cliff Lee trade, although it remains a mistake. Since I’ve been covering the Phillies, I’ve heard Ed Wade, Pat Gillick and Amaro say one thing over and over and over again: You can never have too much pitching. The Phillies never should have traded Lee, but now they have Oswalt at an affordable price for one-plus seasons. That is a nice bounce back.
  • The Phillies said they are confident they are getting a healthy pitcher in Oswalt, who has had a history of back issues. (Those issues have required cortisone injections.) The Phillies should hope so. They also thought they were getting a healthy pitcher in Freddy Garcia, who won just one game for the Phillies in 2007 because of shoulder problems.
  • The Phillies have 16 players under contract next season for $145 million. I’m guessing that means the end of Jayson Werth‘s time in Philadelphia, and any thoughts the Phillies had about bringing back Lee in the offseason. (Lee would like to come back to Philly, for what it’s worth.)
  • The Phillies lose a tremendous guy in J.A. Happ, who always treated me with respect. It’s not easy when you’re an athlete and you’re asked the same questions over and over and over again – especially when some of those questions are questions you don’t like. But Happ never made you feel like less of a person. He seemed to get that we were doing our jobs. I wish him luck in Houston.
  • The Phillies liked outfielder Anthony Gose, who Baseball America ranked sixth in the organization late last year. He’s got a lot of talent. And he’s young. Just like Jonathan Villar. It will be interesting to see how they develop. But take a look at trades the Phillies have made in recent seasons. Not many of those prospects have come back to haunt them. Why? Because the Phillies know their prospects better than anybody (just like some might say the Mariners knew Phillippe Aumont, Tyson Gillies and J.C. Ramirez better than anybody).

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Sounds like there will be plenty of Phillies fans tonight in DC.

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The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. My Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” is available online, and at Delaware Valley bookstores!

Hey, The Mets Are In Town

phils mets 2007.jpgYour favorite NL East rivalry is back:

Phillies vs. Mets.

To get you in the mood, I found a photo of Shane Victorino jumping on top of Tadahito Iguchi after he scored the winning run in a dramatic 11-10 victory over the Mets on Aug. 30, 2007. The Phillies blew 5-0 and 8-5 leads only to score two runs in the ninth inning off Billy Wagner to complete the four-game sweep.

It’s only April 30, but when the Phillies and Mets open a three-game series tonight at the Bank, the Phillies find the Mets in first place in the National League East.

Everybody behave themselves!

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From what I’ve gathered, most of the local reaction to Ryan Howard’s contract extension has been positive, while many nationally have been critical of it. I talked again with Ruben Amaro Jr. and Pat Gillick and got their takes on some of the biggest questions surrounding the deal.

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I’ll be signing copies of my Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” beginning at 2 p.m. Saturday on the Main Concourse behind Section 111 at Citizens Bank Park.

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Roy Halladay, Raul Ibanez and Howard answer questions (mostly from kids) during an On Deck reception with the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce.

Looking Back at the Abreu Trade

Sanchez0532.jpgThere have been countless moves to get the Phillies to back-to-back World Series.

One of them came July 30, 2006, when the Phillies traded Bobby Abreu and Cory Lidle to the Yankees for Matt Smith, C.J. Henry, Carlos Monasterios and Jesus Sanchez. If you look at the talent exchanged, the trade came out poorly for the Phillies. Smith and Henry are out of baseball, and the Mets selected Monasterios with the seventh pick in December’s Rule 5 Draft.

Only Sanchez remains, but the Phillies are optimistic after converting him from a catcher to a pitcher. In his first season as a pitcher, Sanchez went 10-6 with a 3.44 ERA in 26 games last year for Single A Lakewood. He impressed the Phillies enough that they protected him from the Rule 5 by placing him on the 40-man roster.

But the Phillies made the trade not because they were in love with Smith, Henry, Monasterios and Sanchez. They made the trade because the nucleus they had in place had not won, and Pat Gillick wanted to make a change. They traded Abreu to clear salary and change the atmosphere in the clubhouse.

The trade allowed the Phillies to play Shane Victorino in right field the remainder of the season, Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley to assert themselves as leaders in the clubhouse, and indirectly sign Utley and Brett Myers to contract extensions in the offseason because Abreu had been set to make $16.5 million in 2007 with a $16 million club option with a $2 million buyout in 2008.

“It came out all right,” Gillick said. “I’m happy with it.”

Read the entire story here.

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The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. His book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly: Philadelphia Phillies” is available online, and at most Delaware Valley bookstores NOW!

Signs Point to Pedro in Game 2

pedro 0930.jpgIt looks like Pedro Martinez could be pitching for the Phillies in Game 2 of the NLCS.

Charlie Manuel said today that Joe Blanton and J.A. Happ will be available in the bullpen in Games 1 and 2. Cole Hamels is starting Game 1 tomorrow night. Cliff Lee likely would start Game 3, which means they need a Game 2 starter. But the fact Manuel said Blanton and Happ could be used in the bullpen in Los Angeles suggests Martinez will pitch Game 2.

“I hope I (pitch),” Martinez said. “I’m open to do whatever. … It would be special to be able to be part of any game. The playoffs are big. For a person like me, I am not going to get too overexcited, but I still have the same respect for the game and I acknowledge the fact that it’s a playoff game and a great opportunity.”

But is Martinez ready? He threw two innings in a simulated game yesterday, but has not pitched since Sept. 30 and has thrown just four innings since Sept. 19. Rich Dubee said Martinez looked “dandy” yesterday. He said between the simulated game and bullpen sessions, Martinez could be sharp enough to get out hitters.

Manuel agreed.

“I think he’s done enough work that I’m very confident sending him out,” Manuel said. “I think he’s capable of throwing anywhere from like 75 to 90 pitches, maybe 95, maybe even 100. But I think that gets you into the sixth inning or seventh, and I think where we’re at with our pitching and everything, I think that would work. … Yeah, I have confidence in him because I know him. I know the experience that he has. I liked his stuff (yesterday). Dubee and I stood there, and we were talking while he was throwing, and his stuff is there.”

But interestingly, while Manuel and Dubee liked what they saw yesterday, Martinez didn’t.

“I threw on the sides and in the bullpen but that’s not enough,” he said. “I threw two innings of BP yesterday, but that’s pretty much it. I’m going to let Dubee and Charlie make the decision. My two innings of BP were a little bit erratic, wild a little bit.”

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It’s strange to see Vicente Padilla starting Game 2 of the NLCS for the Dodgers. I never could have imagined. The Phillies basically gave him away to the Rangers because they considered a poor presence in the clubhouse. Pat Gillick called it addition by subtraction. The Rangers then cut him loose for the same reason this summer. And now the Dodgers are having him start Game 2.

“I don’t know what you’re going to get from Padilla,” Jimmy Rollins said. “I’ve been behind him. If he’s good, he’s good. If he’s not, he’s way off.”

Padilla can be rattled, too, somebody mentioned.

“Yeah, he definitely can,” Rollins said. “I’ve been behind him. I don’t know what you’re going to get from him. It really depends on how we approach him, if his team scores obviously he becomes more confident. If we get out there early we could probably get in his head and make him throw a lot of pitches.”

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Get Your Halladay Fix


halladay 02.jpgIt’s been a few minutes since the last Roy Halladay update, and if you’re like me, you’re probably getting the shakes from withdrawl. So here are a few tidbits to get your fix, you baseball junkie:

- Ruben Amaro Jr. said this afternoon he did not have a sense either way if the Phillies would make a trade – any trade – before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. But we know most baseball insiders still consider the Phillies the favorites to get Halladay. And we know the Phillies remain hot after Halladay. Former Phillies general manager Pat Gillick has been in Toronto recently, and Blue Jays scouts have been combing the Phillies’ farm system as they decide on the prospects the Phillies would need to include to acquire the former Cy Young winner.

- Here’s the kicker if the Phillies and Blue Jays pull the trigger at the last hour: Halladay won’t need to change hotel rooms. The Phillies play the Giants in San Francisco from July 30 – Aug. 2 and the Blue Jays play the Athletics in Oakland from July 31 – Aug. 2. Both teams are staying in the same hotel in San Francisco.

- Amaro said any reports about his prospects being untouchable (or tradeable) are purely speculative, including reports that the Phillies have told the Blue Jays that Double-A Reading right-hander Kyle Drabek would not be traded. Amaro wouldn’t say if they would trade Drabek or not. “There are some people we would not trade and there are some people we would, and it’s all subject to change,” Amaro said.

- Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi said he expects a package “similar or better” to packages the Orioles received in 2008 for Erik Bedard and the Indians received in 2002 for Bartolo Colon. The Orioles received All-Star outfielder Adam Jones, All-Star closer George Sherrill, top pitching prospect Chris Tillman and two others for Bedard. The Indians received Cy Young winner Cliff Lee, All-Star outfielder Grady Sizemore, second baseman Brandon Phillips and Lee Stevens for Colon.

- There is some thought the Phillies, if they are unable to land a quality starter, will turn their attention to the bullpen. AOL Fanhouse reported this week the Phillies have scouted Diamondbacks closer Chad Qualls. Sherrill could be available at the right price. Bullpen help makes sense. The Phillies just placed left-hander J.C. Romero and right-hander Chad Durbin on the 15-day disabled list, and closer Brad Lidge continues to struggle.

- The Phillies still hope to land a right-handed bat for their bench. They fell short in recent weeks in their pursuit of Mark DeRosa and Scott Hairston. “We have different pursuits,” Amaro said. “We’ll continue to pursue all of them. And we’ll decide by the 31st which is our biggest need. … We’re just trying to improve our club if we can. If it’s with pitching, it’s pitching. If it’s with a bat, it’s a bat. We’ll try to address all these issues. These are all issues that are easier said than done. It doesn’t mean they’re going to be done. They may be done internally, too. Are we trying to improve our club in those three areas? Yes, but how we line it up and prioritize it is something that we’ll keep to ourselves.”

- Asked which he would prefer: a starter or a reliever before the deadline, Charlie Manuel didn’t miss a beat: “I prefer the horse. The horse keeps you out of your bullpen.”

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Pedro Martinez threw 60 pitches in a simulated game and felt fine. He is expected to begin a rehab assingment Sunday with Single-A Clearwater.

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