David Deitch of the Delaware County Times weighs in that the Phils’ management is suffering from Flyers Syndrome
By Theodore N. Beitchman
FASTPHILLYSPORTS.COM has been steadfast in its skepticism about the 2014 Phillies and their chances to compete in the woeful NL East in 2014 and beyond.
Not to mention the need to blow up the front office, which has underperformed as badly as any in town or, for that matter, in major league baseball.
So it is heartwarming when any other media outlet joins our chorus. Until now, only David Murphy of the Daily News and Mike Sielski of the Inquirer have sounded similar warnings.
Now comes David Deitch of the Delaware County Times, who in this morning’s edition eviscerates not only GM Ruben Amaro Jr. but also other members of the front office.
“As the Phillies prepare to embark on a 2½-month farewell tour to 2014 and to the frayed and aged bonds that remain to the Golden Age of Phillies Baseball, it is worth remembering one thing:
“No one on Earth picked the Phillies to reach the postseason. It is why general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. and an enabling ownership deserve scrutiny for the way they are going about their business. The obliviousness about what their $185 million payroll was going to fund is astounding.
“The most popular phrase uttered by Phillies fans on social-media venues is ‘Fire Ruben.’ It is fact that the moves and decisions that Amaro must own as GM are part of the unflattering assessment of his work.
“There is, however, a problem with thinking the firing of Amaro is a magical cure to what has turned the Phillies from a solidly funded butt-kicking machine into an overpaid, bloated, old, brutal-to-watch Jabba The Hutt in baseball form: There is much more within the organization that needs changing.
“Start at the top — the real top, as in an ownership that by all accounts supported, if not urged, the retention of veterans with long-term contracts. The re-signing of Chase Utley and Carlos Ruiz this offseason spoke to lessons not learned. In Utley’s case, it has nothing to do with his being more than adequate offensively, but the fact that he possessed ample trade value last July for a franchise that needs to cash out veteran value when it can. If ownership insisted on the Phillie-for-life tactic employed, then it should allow Amaro to wash his hands of that decision.
“Then there are those who sit below Amaro on the food chain. Those in charge of the minor-league system and amateur scouting have disappointed in drafts and development. The scouts — majors, minors and collegiate — have not performed well in the search for talent in trades, free agency and drafts. Some of those poor choices actually fall on the shoulders of Amaro’s predecessor, Pat Gillick, who for all his brilliance has a storied history of leaving the franchises for whom he had been the big cheese with a big mess when he steps down.
“What the Phillies need more than anything is for someone of authority and respect to perform an autopsy of what has taken place over the last five years. Yes, it should go back that far. Yes, the 2010 and 2011 seasons came with postseason appearances, 102 wins and Four Aces hype, but that also was when the franchise really started to go off the rails, from the bizarre mishandling of the Roy Halladay/Cliff Lee shuffle, to Jonathan Papelbon and Hunter Pence coming, to Pence and Shane Victorino both going, to draft disasters and even misguided choices when it came to bench players and veteran minor-league depth.
“The problem is that this probably should have begun last winter. By then it was clear this was a franchise spinning out of control, spending a half-billion dollars to see no October baseball for three straight years.
“But that’s how these things usually go. Those closest to a situation are the ones who have the hardest time bringing its faults into focus — call it the Flyers Syndrome.