Ron Costello

Saturday, August 23, 2014

What About Sandberg? Well, What About Him?

What's the first thing a club does 15 games under .500?

Come on, I can't carry this whole thing. Help me out a little.

That's right, fire the manager. What's the second thing? We'll get to that.

Look, Cole Hamels may get traded for a few 'can't miss' prospects the club can build a team around. Or, Junior may keep him to build a rotation around.

Marlon Byrd may get traded to finish the second year of his contract and close out his career with a club that has a better chance of winning. Or, Junior could keep him to anchor-down right while he figures out the crowded outfield.

Crowded yes. Potent? Not unless D-Brown reinvents the movie Groundhog Day  — instead of February 2, he gets up every day on May 1 and keeps having a 2013 month.

Papelbon could get traded and Ken Giles could close. Or, Papelbon stays and the Phillies build a bullpen around him and Giles becomes the bridge.

Maikel Franco could win the third base job and Asche is either traded or added to the outfield.  More questions about Grady Sizemore, Darrin Ruf, Kyle Kendrick, Cliff Lee — the Phillies have more questions than wins.

I'll remind you that this is the same organization that fired its manager in 1983, with the team in first place in the NL East, a game above .500 — 43-42.  That manager was Pat Corrales, and, like the current team, it was loaded with veterans.

So where does Ryne Sandberg stand in all this? He is the manager of this 15 under .500 mess. While the Phanatic and the high-tech videos dazzle the fans — and Junior uses smoke and mirrors to detract attention, the ball club has gone to hell in a hand basket faster than the Philly school district can lose money, or good teachers. Or both.

And the manager, like the man in the moon,  is still here. Amazing!

Which means the players are so bad that they can't fire Sandberg because Tony La Russa — or Moses himself — couldn't breathe life into this team. Last season when the Phillies fired Charlie Manuel they were 14 games under and in fourth place (53-67.)

When Junior introduced Sandberg, he said, "He's got the qualities that I think are necessary to become a quality major league manager."

All the qualities except one. Players good enough not to be 15 under.

And who's fault is that?

You've just answered the question — 'what's the second thing a club does 15 games under .500?'

The end.

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