I think it's pretty clear to anybody who follows the Phillies at all that Charlie Manuel sucks at managing this team. His lineups boggle the sensible baseball mind; his players consistently make inexplicable baserunning errors; his understanding of situational baseball makes no sense whatsoever (I have yet to see him intentionally walk anybody or call for a bunt to move a runner over this season); he single-handedly sent Brett Myers to the DL by putting him in something like 16 games in a month, often with huge leads or deficits. He's going to get fired; it's just a matter of when.
However, as is always the case, the buck doesn't stop with Charlie Retarded. Pat Gillick committed some epic fuckups this off-season. First of all, on a team that needed pitching, especially relief pitching, he let walk or gave away the following players, as Paul Hagen discusses:
Randy Wolf (6-3, 66 IP, 71 K, 19 BB, 123 ERA+, 1.2 WHIP)
Ryan Franklin (21.3 IP, 2 BB, 12 K, 319 ERA+, 0.80 WHIP)
Aaron Fultz (14.3 IP, 229 ERA+, 0.90 WHIP)
Justin Germano (3-0, 359 ERA+, 0.76 WHIP)
Justin Miller (only 6.7 IP, and his WHIP's 1.50, but he has looked good as a reliever)
I can understand letting Wolf and Franklin walk. Wolf wanted to go back to California and apparently felt no loyalty whatsoever, despite the fact that he got paid something like $18M his last two years as a Phillie to contribute exactly nothing to the team. (Thanks, Wolfy. You did the Wolf Pack proud, you prick.) Franklin was abominable for the last four years of his career and will undoubtedly return to being so. And losing Germano or Miller would be understandable, because sometimes that kind of stuff just happens -- you lose or undervalue young pitchers who turn out to be good. Still, losing both seems pretty suspect.
However, letting Fultz go made so sense at all from the beginning. The Phils thought he would be overvalued? He signed for 1.8M! He was the only good lefty in the 'pen last year and had been remarkably consistent as a Phillie, and we had no other lefty bullpen options save for Fabio Castro (not ready for the majors) and Matt Smith (never will be). But he was overvalued?
I'll tell you who's overvalued, Pat Gillick. How about these stiffs who you bit on hook, like, and salary sinker:
Adam Eaton ($6.875 million, 60 IP, 28 BB, 1.49 WHIP, 74 ERA+ before today's two-inning disaster)
Freddy Garcia ($10 million, 1-4, 1.43 WHIP, 93 ERA+, one groundskeeper's cart collision)
Wes Helms ($2.7-ish million, .257 BA, .304 OBP, .309 SLG, 0 HR in 126 AB, .913 fielding at 3B)
Rod Barajas ($2.5 million, 21 games played, .213 BA, .351 OBP, .361 SLG, single-handedly lost at least two games with his defense)
That's right around $23 million worth of overvaluing, Pat. And yeah, I know I defended the Garcia signing, and even tried briefly to defend the Eaton signing before seeing the light. But what the fuck -- these are our big offseason pickups? If anything, they're hurting the team: Barajas and Helms are dead weight taking up roster spots and stealing time from other guys with some actual potential (Carlos Ruiz, Greg Dobbs). Not to mention poor Chris Coste marinating in Reading.
The Phillies are currently trailing 13-0 on their way to losing their fourth in a row. They'll be two games under .500 again in an hour, and we're now into June -- it's not just a slow start anymore. I thought they were turning it around with the sweep in Atlanta. I should have known better.
We can't do much about Pat Gillick -- and really, he's still better than Ed Wade -- but I'll be surprised if Charlie Manuel finishes this season. Dave Lopes should be the manager right now and probably will be by the break.