Yeah, they got some problems.
Now, two series into the 2018 Major League Baseball season, the Phillies are 1-4 and look every bit the part of that record.
They’re disjointed, disappointing and many among them are well on their way to being disgruntled if they’re not already.
They have no offense, so-so defense, a mediocre rotation and a brutal bullpen.
No doubt the new manager has not shown a midas touch with any of this. He, in fact, has proven to be a big part of the team’s problems, appearing overmatched, if not incompetent, in his first week writing out the lineups at this level.
Reality is, with so many in Philly frothing at the mouth at the idea Gabe Kapler gets soundly booed at Thursday’s home opener against Miami, the guilty culprits for both bringing Capt. Cocoa Butter to town and supplying him with an oddly conceived roster go largely unnoticed.
Matt Klentak, Andy MacPhail and their ilk deserve most of the, uh, "credit" here for …
3) Hiring Kapler
It’s early in the season, sure, but for thus of us who questioned the decision to bring in what appeared to be an all-show, no-substance talking head to run the club, it’s already too late. The presentation isn’t even all that slick. Kapler often can bumble along with his words, seeking whichever prepared response he has practiced fits, but he has a certain charm, an almost endearing quality, to him, not to mention a physique that would put most active pro athletes to shame, that helps his cause.
Ultimately, he may get torn to shreds – especially with his uber-reliance on analytics that won’t play well with the old-school crowd, or even his players. But he leaves you wanting to give him a chance, hoping he will change, even as he tells you he won’t.
The dude is who he is: a walking, talking statement to a trend whose own thoughts and beliefs likely have gotten lost in pursuit of the cause. He is an advertising campaign based around a character that he didn’t even necessarily create.
That overachieving slant most pitch about his bio? To a point, he was that guy. Low draft pick. But then he was one of the hottest major-league prospects around before becoming an all-show, no-substance player in the bigs.
Expect nothing more, or less, of him as a manager at the same level as he trots out one hollow statement of ownership in the Andy Reid vein after another.
2) Signing Carlos Santana
If ever a tribute to analytics and the movie “Moneyball” were made by an MLB front office, this was it. Sorry, the guy is a solid-field, middling-production first baseman – at best. Giving him the type of money worthy of front-line free agent and pushing prodigy Rhys Hoskins into the outfield for the foreseeable future to make room was nothing short of stupid.
Santana doesn’t make the team stronger. He weakens it at two spots – the one he plays, which would be far more valuable with Hoskins there, and left field, which has the makings of being an absolute disaster as Kapler plays musical chairs on who handles it. Not just in his starting lineup, but from inning to inning.
Ridiculous. It was a waste – AN ABSOLUTE WASTE – of money, and will, without question, play havoc to some degree with Hoskins’ development, not to mention that belonging to others in the outfield mix.
1) Trading Freddie Galvis
Hands down the dumbest decision of the organization in years. The Phillies are so hellbent to prove that they didn’t make a mistake with J.P. Crawford that they were willing to sacrifice sanity and the obvious for years to come. Regardless of what any of the purists think, Galvis was an other-worldly defensive shortstop who, frankly, was better than the brilliant Jimmy Rollins at the same position in the field.
He also produced runs. In the clutch. We’re not talking a guy who would have a high batting average or on-base percentage, but he came through so often the last few seasons when it mattered, and overall his offensive numbers, particularly in getting feet to touch the plate, weren’t far off from what Rollins did before him.
Crawford? The kid may be five years younger than Galvis, but he’s a serviceable defensive player at shortstop and we’ve seen enough at this point to realize that he’s never never going to hit at an acceptable level in the big. He just isn’t.
It was a disastrous move to get Galvis outta town, and the Phillies are going to pay for it each and every time Crawford steps to the plate with a chance to make a difference.
So, boo Kapler all you want. My ire is saved for those in higher places.
They screwed up. Bad.