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Saturday, March 08, 2014

Phillies’ deficiencies take center stage

“Respect the game above all else”

Though it was merely a spring game, Friday’s 15-4 loss to the Orioles had it all: lack of hustle on defense, a pitching implosion and dismal hitting. Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg has said all spring he does not like losing games, even if they are Grapefruit League contests; Friday’s affair certainly frustrated the skipper.

“It wasn’t pretty,” Sandberg said.

The Phillies’ defensive fundamentals – something Sandberg has stressed mightily during his short tenure as manager – were awful. The box score was generous in only giving the Phillies two errors. A plethora of bobbled balls and bungled catches led to prolonged, damaging innings, especially a circus-like third frame in which Baltimore sent 10 batters to the plate.

“We have work to do. Just a lot of little things,” Sandberg said. “The wind blowing, players unaware of it, bobbles on the infield, cutoff throws coming in ... yeah, we’ve got a lot of work to do.”

...Offensively, the Phillies haven’t inspired much faith with their bats. Before Friday, the Phils scored three or fewer runs in six straight games. These games aren’t exactly an indication of how the season will unfold, but after Friday’s loss, Phillies hitters are hitting .189 with a .580 OPS.

The good thing is the Phillies don’t have standings to worry about. They have 22 games left on the Grapefruit League slate before the real games begin. Sandberg and his crew hope the rest of the schedule brings much different results than Friday.

“In a lot of ways, hopefully, this was a throwaway game,” Sandberg said.

Repoz Posted: March 08, 2014 at 08:12 AM | 17 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: phillies

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   1. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: March 08, 2014 at 10:11 AM (#4668207)
Having a person of low intellect running an enterprise worth hundreds of millions of dollars is certainly a festering problem, but the results of one spring training game have nothing to do with anything.
   2. Joey B. Posted: March 08, 2014 at 10:37 AM (#4668212)
Basic karma and justice dictate that they should lose 100 games just for the despicable way they treated Charlie Manuel last year.
   3. Jesse Barfield's Right Arm Posted: March 08, 2014 at 11:30 AM (#4668221)
Man, this doesn't even mention the most troubling development of the past few days - Hamels being shut down. Still no timetable for when he will throw off a mound, and this has to mean he's back by May at the very earliest. No MRI either. 4 years in a row with this shite - Utley, Howard, Halladay, and now Hamels, all show up magically injured at camp with nothing in the way of preparation or even knowledge by the Phillies.
   4. Yastrzemski in left. Posted: March 08, 2014 at 12:23 PM (#4668239)
I'm with you #2.
   5. GregD Posted: March 08, 2014 at 01:44 PM (#4668267)
Having a person of low intellect running an enterprise worth hundreds of millions of dollars is certainly a festering problem, but the results of one spring training game have nothing to do with anything.
I suspect Amaro has a fine intellect; he graduated from Stanford. Smart people can do pretty dumb things and get committed to pretty stupid positions.
   6. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: March 08, 2014 at 02:20 PM (#4668279)
Except that Amaro has consistently done stupid thing after stupid thing since the day he got the job. If he has any intelligence he's done a marvelous job hiding it.
   7. eddieot Posted: March 08, 2014 at 02:21 PM (#4668280)
4 years in a row with this shite - Utley, Howard, Halladay, and now Hamels, all show up magically injured at camp with nothing in the way of preparation or even knowledge by the Phillies.

The original injury (biceps tendinitis) occurred in November during his throwing program. The Phillies knew all about it. He stopped throwing but continued weight training. This is a setback from that recovery. I can blame a lot of things on RAJ but injuries to players is not one of them.

I do agree with Joey B. Which is really something.
   8. Textbook Editor Posted: March 08, 2014 at 02:33 PM (#4668284)
They'd be better off completely tanking, getting a protected Top-10 pick, and then surveying what FA they can sign with whatever excess room under the cap they have for 2015. No one who won the WS with them in 2008 (outside of maybe Hamels) is going to be a part of the next great Phillies team, so they might as well get started on building the system up... But I suppose that requires people who know what they're doing to be in charge of the draft and to draft well.

It's going to be an ugly season. On the plus side, I imagine tickets in August will be very cheap to come by on StubHub.
   9. GregD Posted: March 08, 2014 at 02:39 PM (#4668286)
Except that Amaro has consistently done stupid thing after stupid thing since the day he got the job. If he has any intelligence he's done a marvelous job hiding it.
I guess it doesn't surprise me--having seen some incredibly people do some amazingly stupid things--that people can be well-above-average in overall intelligence and yet have unbelievable blind spots.

I doubt overall intelligence is particularly useful for GMs. There are lots of jobs where it is basically irrelevant. And there have been some spectacular failures by brilliant-seeming GMs. And I have some seen some people be amazingly effective at complex-seeming jobs--university presidents, for example--who seemed to me to be literally dumb as posts.

I don't think there's anything to be gained by assuming people who are dreadful at a job are unintelligent, especially when there's evidence to the contrary. It confuses intelligence with effectiveness in a way that makes both impossible to define.
   10. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: March 08, 2014 at 03:11 PM (#4668307)
That's absurd. Intelligence is tremendously important for GMs, as it is for almost every white collar job, and more so the higher in authority you climb.

It's not the only important thing (interpersonal skills, anyone?) but it is very important.
   11. valuearbitrageur Posted: March 08, 2014 at 06:07 PM (#4668365)
Richard Sherman graduated from Stanford.

I'm saying he'd be a big upgrade over Amaro.

The only guy I know who graduated from Stanford said he did virtually no schoolwork there, just made drugs in the chemistry lab. Said his professors thought if you were smart enough to get into Stanford you deserved to pass their classes.

He would also be a huge upgrade over Amaro.

The problem with Ruben isn't likely IQ, it's clearly an ossified world view. Any less smart GM willing to admit he doesn't know everything and open to new ideas would be a huge upgrade.
   12. Walt Davis Posted: March 08, 2014 at 06:09 PM (#4668368)
Except that Amaro has consistently done stupid thing after stupid thing since the day he got the job. If he has any intelligence he's done a marvelous job hiding it.

Letting Burrell walk was stupid.
Signing Pedro was stupid.
Trading nothing for Lee was stupid
Signing Polanco was stupid.
Trading guys who busted for Halladay was stupid.
Trading Happ for Oswalt was stupid.
Signing Lee was stupid
Trading for Pence was stupid.
Trading Pence was stupid.
Trading Victorino was stupid.
Trading Blanton was stupid.

Amaro's many good moves have been overshadowed by the disastrous Howard extension. Howard:Amaro::bimbos:Tiger Woods.

Trading Lee away and the Rollins extension weren't particularly good moves either but neither was very damaging. What they gave up for Pence may bite them in the butt if Singleton ever straightens himself out. The Hamels extension might not work in the long run but every team in baseball would have given him that contract. The Papelbon contract was silly but hardly unique among dumb GM moves.

He inherited a veteran team with several approaching FA. None of the ones he let go amounted to anything, the ones he retained generally played decently. He added 2 of the, what, 5 best pitchers of the last 5 years and Polanco at a cheap price, Oswalt at a cheap price and Pence at a questionable price to push his teams into the playoffs.

He hasn't developed well, he extended Howard. That's the extent of Amaro's obvious stupidity.
   13. GregD Posted: March 08, 2014 at 06:13 PM (#4668373)
That's absurd. Intelligence is tremendously important for GMs, as it is for almost every white collar job, and more so the higher in authority you climb.
I'm actually not sure this is true. Like I said, I have encountered some immensely successful (and effective) people at high-level administrative jobs who would just get the floor wiped with them in any kind of IQ test against my ineffective but brilliant colleagues. Some basic intelligence is important, but a person with tremendous interpersonal skills and good judgment in people but average to a bit above average intelligence can be both more successful and more effective than someone with tremendous intelligence but bad judgment in people.

I would be more inclined to suspect that Amaro has horrible judgment in his advisers than to believe that he's just dumb.

But at this point we're at risk of repeating the argument for and against Halberstam's Best and the Brightest.
   14. Dan Posted: March 08, 2014 at 11:42 PM (#4668470)
They'd be better off completely tanking, getting a protected Top-10 pick, and then surveying what FA they can sign with whatever excess room under the cap they have for 2015. No one who won the WS with them in 2008 (outside of maybe Hamels) is going to be a part of the next great Phillies team, so they might as well get started on building the system up... But I suppose that requires people who know what they're doing to be in charge of the draft and to draft well.


The only way this happens is if Amaro is fired mid-year. He seems incapable of admitting that it is time to rebuild and focused on contending at all costs.

He hasn't developed well, he extended Howard. That's the extent of Amaro's obvious stupidity.


I think the problem is more than just the Howard contract. The Howard contract is the biggest symptom of his biggest problem, but not the actual problem. Amaro's greatest fault is a lack of understanding the decline phase of players. That is why he extended Howard and that is why he is unable to see that the Phillies' run is over and that they need to rebuild. Or perhaps even more than just decline phases, he doesn't seem to understand how much a player can change in half a decade. See also the Delmon Young signing and the rumors of basing it on scouting reports from 2007.
   15. Sunday silence Posted: March 09, 2014 at 12:19 AM (#4668478)
people arent always the same people they were when they went to college either. There are plenty of doctors and lawyers who went to school years ago and shouldnt be still practicing. That doesnt mean they didnt have it together back then, but now??
   16. donlock Posted: March 09, 2014 at 11:48 AM (#4668560)
We have had only two presidents with advanced academic degrees -Woodrow Wilson was a Ph.D and George Bush had a Harvard MBA. Harry Truman never went past high school. I am having trouble drawing a conclusion here due to a limited sample.
   17. Publius Publicola Posted: March 09, 2014 at 12:00 PM (#4668569)
We have had only two presidents with advanced academic degrees -Woodrow Wilson was a Ph.D and George Bush had a Harvard MBA. Harry Truman never went past high school. I am having trouble drawing a conclusion here due to a limited sample.


Not counting law degrees? Obama was a law professor. Nixon should have been.

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