Ron Costello

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Sandy Grady Would Have a Ball With This Bunch

Phillies brainy GM Matt Klentak said in the Inquirer that he's not worried about Mailkel Franco. Klentak said it's because his exit velocities and launch angles are good. Klentak also said he doesn't believe Franco has been a victim of bad luck by itself.

Would that be the same bad luck Odubel Herrera has? Or Nola, or Eflin? Or about 15 other players on the 25 man? Oh, you mean that bad luck

I'll say this: Klentak can count his lucky stars — by itself or not — that Bill Conlin, Frank Dolson, Sandy Grady, or Bill Lyon are no longer sports scribes here in Brotherly Love. Today's newspapers give Kentak and the Phillies' organization a pass.

So I'll ask a few questions they would've asked: Like, who's making the final decisions that put the current mess together? Including the one-year signings of the rental veterans to supposedly balance the club. Was that the best they could do?

Is it Matt Klentak? Andy MacPhail? A combination of the two? Or some other method? It's a management strategy used before. Don't identify one person, that way they can't get any of us.

Here's the thing. This isn't new in Philadelphia. It's as common as expressway traffic and refinery pollution. And it's happening again, right now, to Mr. Franco.

Besides exit velocities and launch angles, it could be that Franco is pressing. It might be he thinks he's got to carry the team. Two or three poor at bats and the pressure builds. An 0-fer here, an 0-fer there. Then it all goes to hell and he works his way into a major slump he can't get out of.

Klentak could be right — in his Dartmouth-esse way of saying it — there may be nothing wrong with Franco's mechanics. It's the pressure between his ears.

Caused, not by anything Mr. Franco did, but by management's bad decisions that put a weak lineup around him.
And overrated players.

It could be the same with Odubel Herrera, the ONLY player with an extended contract — five years, $30.5 million. Now, how smart is that? Single out ONE player to sign to a long-term contract. Is Herrera carrying a piano on his shoulders? Because that's what pressure feels like.

You know what's going to happen. Soon, the Official Bird will appear at the Park. It will start slowly and build gradually until boos reign down like late summer thunder.

And that would be most unfortunate.

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