Pat Gillick: “This guy’s horrible…want him?”

19 Oct

Pat Gillick, general manager of your Philadelphia Phillies, publicly downplayed Pat Burrell’s contribution to the 2006 campaign the other day:

“We know that at this point, Pat has had a difficult time protecting [Ryan] Howard. We’re going to have to continue to have to make an adjustment in that area.”

OK, so according to Mr. Gillick, Pat had trouble hitting behind one of the best hitters in the league this year. For Burrell’s part, he actually had quite a decent year, especially compared to other left fielders out there. I’m not sure what people expect out of him or the imaginary player he’s being compared to, but he got on base a lot, flashed some good power, and did fairly well the entire year despite playing with a hurt foot and an iffy wrist. Jonk over at the Good Phight broke down Burrell’s ‘decline’ from 2005 to 2006, and basically noted that Burrell did great in the supposed ‘clutch’ numbers in 2005 and bad in 2006. Expect these numbers to bounce back to the norm, simply because that’s just what they do. They differ from year to year. Last year Albert Pujols struggled in those spots; this year he excelled in them.

Gillick also said that they ‘need to look for more offense’. This despite the Phillies scoring the 4th most runs in the Major Leagues and the most in the National League. The Phils also scored the 2nd most runs in the Majors after the all-star break, and 36 more runs than the 2nd best team in the NL. But who’s counting?

And even if we need some more offense, why upgrade left field? Why not third base? We had just about the worst offensive combo in David Bell and Abraham Nunez manning the hot corner over the past year. We could upgrade our offense there for a much lower cost. Instead of looking for a trade partner for Pat’s contract, we could buy low with several third basemen out there, or go young and deal for an up-and-comer. Either way, we save money and we don’t downgrade our already downgraded outfield.

And yes, our outfield is not that great. Aaron Rowand is not a very good offensive player. Shane Victorino would make a decent value at CF for a low price, but move him to RF and his value goes way down. And forget about Jeff Conine…he was last good three years ago. I like Michael Bourn if he is able to hit 300 with good on-base numbers, but his complete lack of power is troubling. And Chris Roberson? Meh.

What’s my point? I have two:

1. Pat Burrell is not as bad as people think. We will also be a worse ballclub if we trade him, especially our outfield.

2. Gillick should not downplay our players in public. Doing so just hurts the value of guys we are planning on dealing, which is apparently what we’re trying to do with Burrell.


6 Responses to “Pat Gillick: “This guy’s horrible…want him?””

  1. John Salmon October 20, 2006 at 12:30 am #

    Burrell’s on base and slugging nunbers were both above his career levels, so you’re right about the year he had.

    Pat’s the victim of the tendency among Phillies’ fans, including a few rather prominent Phillies’ bloggers who should know better, to always look for a scapegoat for the team’s failures. The reason the Phillies won three fewer games in ’06 than in ’05 is Pat Gillick, who had a terrible winter and then spent all summer (with some success, I should add) fixing his own screwups.

    Given the numbers Ryan Howard put up, the idea that Burrell didn’t provide enough protection is silly. But as silly as the argument is, Gillick is very good at the PR game. I notice he never accepts blame for his own failures, though.

  2. John Morgan October 20, 2006 at 5:03 pm #

    Now Pat’s definitely been very nice eye candy but he isn’t producing in relation to his contract. I’ve never seen anyone look at so many called third strikes. At least move the effing bat off your shoulder!
    He’s making too much money for the production he contributes and that’s the bottom line. He’s a one dimensional who may be great to look at except when he’s at bat. He’s also poison in the clubhouse. He’s someone who doesn’t give a damn whether they win or lose as long as he gets his fat paycheck then goes out with his babes.

  3. John Salmon October 20, 2006 at 7:35 pm #

    “Poison in the clubhouse”? Mr. Morgan-how much time have you spent in the Phillies’ clubhouse? What do you base this argument on? And, I see you’ve spent many an evening hanging out with Pat, and know him well, so you’re equipped to judge his devotion to the game. We’re all waiting to see the pics of you and Pat hanging out.

    Interesting that when I defend Burrell people always bring up personality issues they pwersonally know nothing about-but Burrell put up good numbers in ’06, regardless of what some bloggers (not Chris here) or Bill Conlin tell you. Get rid of him in yet another salary dump and the team will be worse. But the people who hate Pat will have the satisfaction of him being gone.

    Burrell always has and always will strike out a lot-so do many power hitters. As to whether Pat’s eye-candy-I’m not gay so I wouldn’t know.

    Pat Gillick knows Burrell’s unpopular and is willing, appraently, to play into the near-universal Philly fan tendency to look for a scapegoat-it gets the monkey off his back. The team has gotten worse under Gillick, and it sure isn’t Burrell’s fault.

  4. Chris October 20, 2006 at 11:30 pm #

    I agree with John Salmon…

  5. Spencer October 21, 2006 at 12:56 pm #

    Lies, Damn lies, and statistics. It’s not just Philly fans or bloggers, it’s other baseball people (I remember the former Mets GM on Baseball Tonight and John Kruk saying the same things about Burrell), the media, and me – and I’m not a scapegoater.

    Pat Burrell’s main fault is his lack of aggressiveness in run scoring situations. This is when Howard needs protection. If you insist on statistics then look at the fact that he led the league in called third strikes or his horrible batting average with RISP.

    All that said, they could have protected Howard by simply flipping Utley and he during that last ten game stretch. That’s when the lack of protection for Howard was most glaring.

    Pat Burrell is not a bad player by any stretch, but I kind of feel that Burrell was exposed batting behind Howard. He’d be better batting lower in the lineup or even higher up – but his lack of contact, speed, or timely hitting make him a liability batting in a run producing role.

    Factor in his $10 million hit on the payroll, it’s hard to believe that trading Burrell, replacing him with Victorino in left, and playing Rowand in center, and then spending whatever money is left over to improve third base wouldn’t be smarter than keeping Burrell.

  6. Chris October 21, 2006 at 5:21 pm #

    BUt he had all the timely hitting in the world in 2005…what exactly changed in one year???

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