Tuesday, May 23, 2017

This Team is in Trouble

It won't be long before the Phillies fall into last place in the NL East. But what does it matter, last or next to last? In most cases, when a team is doing poorly, the players need to look in the mirror.

But I don't think this time.

This time, the organization needs the mirror.

You don't have to be a genius to see what's going on. Mix in some experience with the youngsters until more youngsters are ready and then add some free agents, you know, the expensive kind. Maybe a Mike Trout or a Bryce Harper.

Next, clean up Broad Street and get ready for the parade.

Well, that might work. But what happens — given this scenario — when the team under performs? I'm not talking about one or two players, but most of the team is under performing. Easy, you get a new manager. You don't extend the manager's contract, which is what the Phillies did.

It's baseball 101. Ask Pat Corrales. Or Gene Mauch. Well, you could ask Mauch, if...

Lookit, Pete Mackanin is a nice man. A company man. Very likable. But likable doesn't win. Never does. Not in tee-ball, Little League, American Legion, College, or the minor leagues. Never did and never will.

Then why did the Phillies extend Mackanin's contract? Inexperience.

Namely, the 36-year-old GM — the Theo Epstein, Billy Bean wannabe, Matt Klentak. He's got some front office experience, sure: labor relations, assistant general manager, and then he just so happened to get hired by the Orioles. Little bit of this...little bit of that. Not saying Klentak isn't smart or worthy of his job, he is. But not now, in this transition season.

If so, he wouldn't have extended Mackanin's contract when he did. But let's be fair, here. Mackanin is a good man and has done a nice job for the Faithful. There are plenty of jobs in the organization he'd be perfect for. But not manager, not now with this team, in this crucial season.

Mackanin got his toes wet managing the Pirates and Reds — a total of 106 games, not even a full season. Then he came to the Phillies first as third base coach, and then interim manager after Ryne Sandberg was dumped in 2015. Mackanin did well out of the chute as interim, but who wouldn't following Sandberg? I would have. So he wound up with the manager's job in 2016.

He is certainly not what you'd call an experienced major league manager.

So the Phillies end up with an inexperienced manager, an inexperienced GM, overshadowed by a very experienced President of Baseball Operations, Andy MacPhail. Who, maybe doesn't have the fire in the belly that he once had and is happy providing guidance to Klentak and Mackanin.

But don't you think the kind of transition the Phillies are going through now needs an experienced manager, an experienced major league baseball man?

Of course it does.

Larry Bowa is what the Phillies need, not Mackanin and the GM wannabe — getting on-the-job-training. The Faithful deserve better.

And you think the players don't see this?

Take a minute and look at the team Mackanin-Klentak-and MacPhail fielded. With the exception of Jeremy Hellickson, the "experienced players" have been a disaster. So the younger, "inexperienced players" are under too much pressure. It's resulted in a 15-27 start, and it will get worse.

The hitting instructor and pitching coach need replacing, too. You want to know how Stairs got to be the Phillies hitting instructor? See Mackanin-Klentak-MacPhail. Maybe they hired him to get him out of the broadcasting booth. That I can salute.

There is no one more respected in the Phillies dugout than Bowa. Turn this team over to him, NOW, while there's is still some season left. Give Bowa majority rule on who stays and who goes, and most importantly, who comes up from Reading and Lehigh Valley.

It's not a knee-jerk reaction on my part, I've been wanting to say this since spring training, but I held off to see what happened.

And what happened is pretty clear.

Comments to Roncostello@mail.com

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