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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Ed Wade Returns, Hopefully to Claim His Ring

The Phillies will be living trophies in his diabolical collection!

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Wade’s tenure as Phillies GM wasn’t considered to be a particularly good one at the time, but he returns to a team that still fields a talented group of players drafted during his time here, including Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Cole Hamels, and even Vance Worley. (Worley opted to go to college, but was again drafted in 2008, this time by Pat Gillick’s regime.) Charlie Manuel was also his guy, and he selected Shane Victorino in the Rule 5 draft (but almost returned him). Wade and his scouts drafted the recently departed Ryan Madson, as well as Pat Burrell.

That’s not to say he didn’t also make some critical missteps. It’s hard to think of anyone who was less popular during a Philly tenure than Wade. But, in its own cruel way, history has been increasingly kind to his legacy. The guys listed above finally did win us a World Series. While Wade couldn’t himself put it all together, he drew the prototype on the cocktail napkin and saw through it the startup phase. I certainly didn’t appreciate what he had put in place at the time, how close he was.

The Gillick Era will be seen by many, particularly as years pass, as the phase in which the Phillies went from being the bums who were a constant letdown to the heroes who have owned the city’s sporting hearts from 2008 ‘til question marks. But Gillick would be the first to credit Wade for the work he did leading up to that.

Repoz Posted: December 20, 2011 at 02:22 PM | 7 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: astros, phillies

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   1. I Am Not a Number Posted: December 20, 2011 at 03:47 PM (#4020069)
Rightly or wrongly, I think Ed Wade and I think of a man whose fetish was signing mediocre relievers to 3yr/$9M contracts (back in the day, when that was real money).

Now I think of a man I wouldn't want anywhere near my organization. But there's no old boys club quite like pro baseball.
   2. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 20, 2011 at 03:59 PM (#4020077)
But there's no old boys club quite like pro baseball.

It's fascinating that a business that is such a pure meritocracy on the field, would veer so far the opposite way in management positions.
   3. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: December 20, 2011 at 04:54 PM (#4020135)
The notion of Ed Wade's veteran reliever fetish started with the trade for Dennis Cook and Turk Wendell in mid-2001. From then on we noticed the pattern that whenever there was a midseason trade for a reliever, it came with this huge buzz around it, like the team had solved their biggest problem. But we just viewed it as a minor foible, until the awful moment that Placido Polanco was traded for Ugueth Urbina. And at the end of that season, Wade was fired.

Let's look at the evidence, looking back from our objective future viewpoint.

Pre-1999: mostly shuffled relievers around. Traded Mark Leiter for Paul Spoljaric. Traded Ricky Bottalico and Garrett Stephenson for Ron Gant and a more experienced reliever, Jeff Brantley. Replaced Matt Whiteside and Billy Brewer with Steve Montgomery and Jim Poole.

Midseason 1999: traded double-A closer Marty Barnett for veteran reliever Scott Aldred. Nobody noticed this at the time, but it was a harbinger.

Pre-2000: tried to bring back Mike Jackson, but ended up just paying for his labrum surgery. This scared Wade off from relievers for a little while, but the successful midseason trade for Ed Vosberg brought him back.

Pre-2001: signed Jose Mesa and Rheal Cormier.

Midseason 2001: traded Bruce Chen for Cook and Wendell.

Pre-2002: signed Terry Adams. Those of us who followed the Boston Sports Guy also noticed the trade for John Wasdin, who was cut a week later and went to Japan.

Midseason 2002: made sure to receive Mike Timlin as part of the haul for Scott Rolen. Also traded for Dan Plesac.

Preseason 2003 was more about adding bats (David Bell, Jim Thome). But then in mid-2003 was the trade of Frank Brooks for Mike Williams. Not that Frank Brooks was worth anything, but adding Mike Williams was SO POINTLESS. Also traded for Valerio de los Santos, who promptly went from hero to zero.

Pre-2004 Wade decided that if he was going to spend all this time and money trading for veteran relievers, he might as well get a good one, so he sent some valuable prospects to Houston for Billy Wagner. Also traded for the cheap and useful Clay Condrey.

July 30, 2004: Separate trades for Felix Rodriguez and Todd Jones. Everyone knew Wade was going to trade for Todd Jones. He just had to.

Pre-2005: Brought back Terry Adams, with disastrous results.

June 8, 2005: Polanco for Urbina. No, Ed, no! Trade Bell, not Polanco! And if you're going to trade him, not another reliever!

July 21, 2005: As penance, Wade makes a midseason trade to GIVE UP a veteran reliever, Tim Worrell.

October 10, 2005: Ed Wade is fired.

Preseason 2006: The new guard trades for Arthur Rhodes, proving that some things never change.
   4. Zonk is a Doppleclapper Posted: December 20, 2011 at 05:02 PM (#4020149)

It's fascinating that a business that is such a pure meritocracy on the field, would veer so far the opposite way in management positions.


I don't know... Neifi Perez and his ~5500 career PAs or Jeff Mathis and ~1300 PAs might might beg to differ concerning on-field meritocracies...
   5. Justin T has a centaur for a mentor Posted: December 20, 2011 at 05:16 PM (#4020169)
You can also be named CEO of a big company, drive it straight into the ground, get canned and take your $100M severance, and then even get hired by another company into the same position!

At least most of the worst GMs have to take a sympathy job with another org run by a pal or go work for ESPN.
   6. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 20, 2011 at 05:21 PM (#4020179)
You can also be named CEO of a big company, drive it straight into the ground, get canned and take your $100M severance, and then even get hired by another company into the same position!

Sure, but that's just pure corruption. Luckily, most CEOs have very little impact on the bottom-line, except for their salaries and bonuses that is.

Even as a hard core righty, I'd support a law that capped CEO compensation at something like 2-4X the average of the top-100 executives in their company.
   7. Dan The Mediocre is one of "the rest" Posted: December 20, 2011 at 05:23 PM (#4020186)
At least most of the worst GMs have to take a sympathy job with another org run by a pal or go work for ESPN.


And even then, sympathy jobs at least involve something they were good at and pay a fraction of what they earned before.

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