There is no doubt about it in baseball that Ken Rosenthal is one of the premier baseball reporters out there. He is in the company of those like Hall of Famer Jayson Stark. So naturally, when Rosenthal comes out with a piece on the Phillies, you know he has it together. I encourage you all to go and read it:
Failing to Act:
This has been an ongoing discussion all season in Philadelphia. Matt Klentak failed to act and address the starting pitching. Back in June, the Phillies led the Atlanta Braves by 1 1/2 games. The Braves opened up and signed Dallas Keuchel to bolster their rotation. Since that signing, the Braves have been on a tear while the Phillies have played around .500 baseball. Keuchel has also started 15 games for the Braves. Heading into last night’s game, in 11 of those starts, he held the opposition to just 3 runs of less. Well, make it 12 of 16 as he held the Phillies to just one run. There were reports on WIP that the Phillies had no interest in Keuchel. Keuchel then called out the Phillies:
This is something we in the Philadelphia area have known all season. Does Rosenthal exposing of the Phillies on the National level bring more pressure on the management group? Will it force their hand this offseason to make a change at the top? There is another aspect that has been troubling. The fact the Phillies went out and spent loads of money in the off-season only to refuse to go over the luxury tax and get quality pitching. Klentak seemed to rest on his “objectively great off-season.”
Keuchel would only have costed the Phillies money. The failure to act had Klentak searching for pitching dieting the trade deadline. The demand for pitching was that teams were requesting either Alec Bohm or Spencer Howard. Both seemed untouchable. Klentak went in in the cheap and it is showing. So the question has to be asked, are you comfortable with Matt Klentak being the one to turn this around? I don’t feel Klentak is the man who should be in charge. He is showing an inability to properly evaluate pitching, and this could be his downfall.
“If we don’t, we don’t”
A president of a sports team should never come out and issue a statement that the front office is ok with mediocracy. Yet that is exactly what Phillies President Andy MacPhail did. In a statement in July, he talked about the rebuild. MacPhail definitely misspoke. My opinion was that he was trying to explain the fact that the Phillies were not going to ship away all of their assets in their farm system. A farm system that ranks 17th in baseball. However, his explanation falls short and Phillies fans and reporters are not letting him forget it.
Regardless of what MacPhail meant, he is the president of the Phillies. making a statement that sounds like he is ok with missing the playoffs is definitely troubling. The fans deserve better. I am sure they could have come up with a better way to say that the Phillies have to weigh the option of going all-in now versus building for the future.
Coaching Staff Exposed?
One of the most telling lines of the Rosenthal article is referencing to ZacH Eflin. Rosenthal reports that after his demotion to the bullpen, Eflin took matters into his own hands. Rosenthal reports that Eflin took it upon himself to stop throwing the 4 seam fastball as instructed. Eflin reverted to his more dominant pitch of a 2 seam fastball.
This statement tells the nation what we knew all along, Chris Young is a bad pitching coach. Yet the Phillies put all their chips on the table with Young and let Rich Kranitz walk. Kranitz seemed to have a better relationship with his pitchers, while it has been said that Young doesn’t have that connection with the pitchers. Now Kranitz is leading Keuchel and the Braves’ staff to the playoffs.
The Phillies remain two back of the second wild-card spot. Regardless, if the Phillies make the playoffs or not, they must look at the culture of the front office and decide if changes need to be made.
Matt is a graduate of Shippensburg University with a degree in Journalism. After College he was commissioned as an Infantry Officer in the U.S. Army where he was an Airborne Ranger and served with the famed 101st Airborne Division. RAKKASAN! When not at work you can find him coaching his son and daughter’s sports teams. Follow Matt, AKA the Delco Dope on twitter at https://twitter.com/delco_dope