Wow, there is so much to talk about, where to begin? Let’s start with Uncle Charlie’s team meeting. “Our guys have potential,” Manuel said. “If I could say one thing, I would say, ‘Be focused, stay relaxed and give yourself a chance to be as good as you think you can be.’” Well if you talk to Ed Wade that means give yourself a chance to win the World Series, but rest of the planet knows that means give yourself a chance to finish with 86 wins. That is the potential of this team. Now this is not said to beat a dead and highlight Ed Wade’s disconnect, rather it is meant to show a lack of leadership within this organization.
Leaders push people to be BETTER than they think they are, they motivate you and empower you with the resources to achieve your goals. Based on that definition it is safe to safe this organization does not have a single shred of leadership skill outside Todd Pratt’s locker. You can’t look to the GM as a leader like in Oakland, or to the owner like in NY or the manger like in Chicago (both the Sox and the Cubs) or Atlanta or DC. There is no recognizable force in the clubhouse like Varitek or Dutch Dalton. There is no one behind the wheel here. It seems like its Office Space down there: every one is just doing enough not to get fired. Just look at the recent article summarizing the Phils July trades since 2002. Mediocrity at its finest. Blockbuster trades only come when Wade’s hand is forced, and in those cases we wind up losing the star rather than acquiring one (Rolen, Schilling). Free agent signings, like Thome, deserve no credit because money matters is the prime factor, not strategy. This is why I liked Larry Bowa, he was man enough to stand up and say “This is not good enough!” Granted he may not have had the answers, as he was paid to do, but he recognized the problem which is more than I can say for most.
So if this is where the organization stands today, how best to answer some of the impending personnel questions? What to do with Padilla? How to replace Wolf? If/when should Ryan Howard be traded? How can we really make this a championship caliber team?
Well, Wade took the initiative on the first one as he publicly announced Padilla is being put on a short leash. Not groundbreaking news, but it really shouldn’t be a story. In fact, Padilla’s troubles should not come as a surprise. He’s a total head case who thinks self-help is the way to go. He never listened to Joe Kerrigan and I’m sure whatever Dubee’s saying is getting lost in translation.
As for the rest of the questions, and Padilla for that matter, I honestly don’t know what to do. Sure we could use left handed starter and an everyday centerfielder and a legitimate ace. I’ll let you portend the names involved; all I want is for this looming roster move (or non-move) to be a smart business decision executed as part of larger blueprint for success, both for this year and the future. I doubt this blueprint exists, but it if Ed Wade does have one, I would love to read it.