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The Phillies are “terrible” and “painful to watch”

Mar 18, 2014, 9:29 AM EDT

I feel like it’s not even fun to troll anymore. I’m actually feeling bad at this point.

The headline from


This all, apparently, from a Ken Rosenthal report last week that I had somehow missed, talking of the problems the team is having this spring. Problems separate and apart from the Jimmy Rollins drama we talked about this morning.

  1. mdpickles - Mar 18, 2014 at 9:35 AM

    NL East = worst division in baseball.

    • spudchukar - Mar 18, 2014 at 11:08 AM

      The American League Central, the American League West, and the National League West, aren’t anything to brag about either, although some of that is due to recent pitching injuries.

      • Patrick R. - Mar 18, 2014 at 11:57 AM

        What are you talking about?? I think it’s pretty widely recognized that the AL West is one of the toughest divisions in baseball. I suppose it’s a matter of debate after that, but the NL East seems to be the weakest with three clearly below .500 teams in its ranks.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Mar 18, 2014 at 12:04 PM

        I think it’s pretty widely recognized that the AL West is one of the toughest divisions in baseball.

        Outside of TX/Oak, who’s difficult in the ALW? The Mariners are the same team, if not worse but now have Cano. The Angels rotation is still bad, and Hamilton/Pujols are declining. They have the best player in MLB, but one person can’t do it all.

      • spudchukar - Mar 18, 2014 at 12:36 PM

        Recognized by who, you? The pitching staffs for the Rangers and Angels are mediocre. They will score runs, but give up plenty too. And now the A’s with the loss of Parker and Griffith, won’t be much better.

        Look for the Mariners to be in the hunt all season long. I still think they will take the division, and then there are the Astros. They too will improve offensively, but will give up more runs than any team in Baseball.

  2. cur'68 - Mar 18, 2014 at 9:37 AM

    I’m beginning to wonder if Ryne Sandberg isn’t turning into a small scale Bobby Valentine. He isn’t running his mouth to the media but he’s creating waves on a team that has enough problems. Scapegoating Jimmy Rollins isn’t going to fix the fact that the entire team seems to have left their offence in their other suit.

    • ryanrockzzz - Mar 18, 2014 at 9:47 AM

      I have no real problem with what Sandberg is doing. For the last two years, Charlie let this team essentially manage itself, and they were awful. If someone wants to get in there and shake it up, why not? They only won 73 games last year with a player’s manager.

      The biggest problem with the Phillies now will always be the players. They either don’t care (Rollins) can’t play anymore (Howard) or they are inconsistent (Brown.)

    • gothapotamus90210 - Mar 18, 2014 at 9:49 AM

      As a Phillies fan, I’m okay if Sandberg is the mechanism to clean house. Things probably have to get worse before they get better. The Phillies farm system is pretty barren until you get to the low minors, so absent Franco and Biddle there isn’t a lot of immediate hope.

      Make some moves (i.e. Lee, maybe Hamels and Dom Brown), hopefully restock the system, clear payroll, shoot to be a legit contender in 3-4 years.

      • spudchukar - Mar 18, 2014 at 11:21 AM

        Unfortunately it is going to take a lot more than those three to make a difference. Lee (age and innings pitched) Hamels, (arm and contracts) and Brown (one-dimensional), are all problematic, and won’t help move them. Lee and Brown might bring in good prospects, but not great ones, and Hamels first has to prove he is healthy and pitching well to get the kind of return they need, and still they will have to eat a bunch of his salary.

        Then there is still the Papelbon, Utley, Ruiz and Rollins issues. None of that quad will bring much in return, but they must be moved out or on. Good Luck, attracting suitors.

    • chacochicken - Mar 18, 2014 at 9:54 AM

      Being a hard-ass doesn’t work on adult men. Extra drills won’t make Chase, Jimmy, or Byrd any younger. You can’t yell at Cole’s shoulder. Nothing seems to keep Ryan from striking out a ton (Platoon!) These guys might actually need to be treated with kid gloves to keep them as healthy as possible as long as possible. All signs point to this not going well.

      • cur'68 - Mar 18, 2014 at 10:15 AM

        You and I see it the same way. All the hard assing in the world isn’t going to turn the clock back. The team is old, the pitching is injured and the “Rollins Problem” isn’t going to get solved in the media.

        At this point facing that the team is who they are is the best move. Play to their strengths, get the most out of what you have, and shelve the “rah rah, I’mahardass” for rookies who need that kind of motivation. They need to restock the Pharm, and look to re-building rather than creating strife.

      • paperlions - Mar 18, 2014 at 12:10 PM

        Yep, that would be mine concern if I was a Philly phan. Sandberg seems to have an approach more geared toward the minors or college, where threats and extra drills and rah rah stuff might work. Once guys are MLB players, it is a job, and they’ve either figured out how to do it or they haven’t…the primary effect of that kind of stuff on veterans is going to be eye rolls and hard feelings and embarrassment.

    • philafly - Mar 18, 2014 at 9:58 AM

      I don’t think he is scapegoatting Rollins. Sandberg appears to be either trying to get this team motivated or turn it over without playing favorites, as Charlie did (I love Charlie, but he was too loyal).

      Rollins is doing this damage on his own really. Coming out and saying he doesnt care about Spring Training, admitting he doesn’t always hustle on ground balls, talking openly with the media about things that should remain in the club house, etc.

      Either way, the front office bungled this whole situation by giving Rollins his current contract.

      • cur'68 - Mar 18, 2014 at 10:10 AM

        The problem with this view is that it was Sandberg who made the “no comment” that lead to Rollins’ reply. Guaranteed to raise a player’s hackles and NOT something a smart manager does. The “who cares” from Rollins had to do with ST results not that he didn’t care about performing well. He’s right. ST results are meaningless.

      • scotttheskeptic - Mar 18, 2014 at 10:41 AM

        Hit the nail on the head with that final sentence. This contract, which carried Rollins into 10-5 territory, and has a ridiculously low threshold for vesting the 4th year, has been the fulcrum on which so many other decisions have been made.

        Truthfully, I believe it would be in the Phillies’ best interest to DFA Rollins before Opening Day. They would still be on the hook for this year’s salary, but that vesting option does not come into play. Also, I believe Rollins will find that not many teams will want his services (even at league-minimum for this season) with that vesting option hanging over their heads.

        I also see this as a Bobby Abreu c. 2006 situation. The tenured member of the roster is the de facto tone-setter. And I do not see the Phillies progressing at all with Rollins in that role.

    • 18thstreet - Mar 18, 2014 at 10:09 AM

      I knew Bobby Valentine. I suffered through Bobby Valentine. And Ryne Sanderg is no Bobby Valentine.

      • tmohr - Mar 18, 2014 at 10:17 AM


      • cur'68 - Mar 18, 2014 at 10:24 AM

        He’s working on it. Lets revisit this conversation mid-season. Even BV took a month or so into the season to gather steam.

      • gloccamorra - Mar 18, 2014 at 1:06 PM

        Valentine was all about I, me, and myself. Sandberg is trying for old school, but he’s not there yet, if he ever gets there.

        Old school was Dick Williams, who according to Tony Gwynn, “…had his own way of telling you when you did something wrong – he’d come up to you in the dugout and scream in your face.” Another player under Williams, current Giants third base coach Tim Flannery, once said of Williams, “On the field, I’ll do whatever he wants, because we win with him in charge, but after I’m out of baseball, I’m gonna run him over with my car.”

        Ryne Sandberg is actually a nice guy, and may never be able to reach that “old school” level of orneriness.

    • scotttheskeptic - Mar 18, 2014 at 10:33 AM


      If nothing is done to attempt to change the culture, is that not tantamount to declaring an intention to put a non-competitive team on the field?


      • cur'68 - Mar 18, 2014 at 11:00 AM

        Changing the culture isn’t going to age these guys backwards. Also how is passive agressing in the media helping to change anything for the better? If you want more effort and leadership from Rollins GO TO ROLLINS AND SAY THAT IN PRIVATE. To the media you do the Crash Davis non-answer answer.

      • scotttheskeptic - Mar 18, 2014 at 11:17 AM

        I accept the age part of it, but this team has been atrocious fundamentally. Age is no excuse for throwing to the wrong base, or failing to back-up a play. That culture needs to change, and for the benefit of anyone coming into the organization needs to change now.

      • scotttheskeptic - Mar 18, 2014 at 11:21 AM

        Also, as I exchanged with paperlions last week, we have no evidence (either way) about what has or has not been communicated behind the scenes. There is evidence that Rollins is openly non-responsive to suggestion. There is evidence that Rollins has been a terrible example when moved out of the lead-off spot. etc., etc., etc…

    • unclemosesgreen - Mar 18, 2014 at 1:05 PM

      I can picture Ryno walking around all sad, wondering where’s the team he thought he signed on to manage. The guys he thought were just a midseason trade or two away from contending. Where are those guys?

      • cur'68 - Mar 18, 2014 at 1:11 PM

        I am afraid that team is gone. The sooner Sandberg faces that the better for all concerned. They can still contend, but it will take a different approach. Sadly that approach is rooted in sabermetrics and that’s not something The Phillies do well.

  3. southpaw2k - Mar 18, 2014 at 9:39 AM

    This year’s DOOM watch?

  4. cbosa - Mar 18, 2014 at 9:40 AM

    Hahaha Phillies last place in the NL East here they come!!!

  5. vanrossum1 - Mar 18, 2014 at 9:49 AM

    I’m glad Craig finally admitted he is a troll.
    How bad does he feel? He’s pulling up this story from last week.
    This is not news, they’ve been painful to watch for over a year now.

    • pastabelly - Mar 18, 2014 at 11:01 AM

      That story about the Red Sox being sued by the B Strong group in Texas was also a week old and just stirring up some shlit about a high profile organization.

      As for the Phillies, their mid season fire sale could be epic.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Mar 18, 2014 at 12:11 PM

        That story about the Red Sox being sued by the B Strong group in Texas was also a week old and just stirring up some shlit about a high profile organization.

        The Sox are using a logo that’s been trademarked and were issued a cease-and-desist order. That’s not just stirring up ish.

    • paperlions - Mar 18, 2014 at 12:27 PM

      When did he ever deny trolling Philly fans?

  6. schmedley69 - Mar 18, 2014 at 9:53 AM

    Don’t feel bad for us, Craig. Our team has won a World Series this century. We can tough-out the bad times.

  7. Francisco (FC) - Mar 18, 2014 at 10:40 AM

    The Phillies are “terrible” and “painful to watch”

    • Francisco (FC) - Mar 18, 2014 at 10:41 AM

      Someone needs to take Spock away from the Phillies Comcast feed.

  8. phillyphannnn83 - Mar 18, 2014 at 11:44 AM

    It’ll be a miracle if we surpass 75 wins this year. RAJ has proven he was simply riding Pat Gillick’s coat tails. Well, that ship has sailed and were left with the reality that RAJ is a terrible GM with no idea how to build a team.

  9. theebbandflow - Mar 18, 2014 at 12:12 PM

    I reckon Buster Olney’s stirring the proverbial on the Jimmy Rollins matter. As someone else said, he’s not in with the Phillies and I’ve seen other observations regarding his bias against the Phils.

    Everything else – well..yeah, of course they stink. Personally, after the last couple of years, I’m going to make the best of the better half of the 2014 record and be prepared for some horrible W droughts.

    There’s always Cliff Lee.

    • theebbandflow - Mar 18, 2014 at 12:13 PM

      *”make the most”, I mean..

  10. paperlions - Mar 18, 2014 at 12:17 PM

    While a Philly phan was bashing the Astros last year and accepting no argument for their approach to rebuilding the franchise, I replied that I would bet that the Astros make the playoffs before the Phillies would make it back there. That prediction is looking better all the time….and not really because of progress on the part of the Astros.

    • spudchukar - Mar 18, 2014 at 12:39 PM

      Yeah, the offense in Houston should be considerably better in 2014, but that pitching staff is in a word “horrible”.

  11. unclemosesgreen - Mar 18, 2014 at 1:04 PM

    2014 Phillies – we’re old, horrible and our attitude stinks. But at least we’re making lots of money. Put that on the banner for the next publicity campaign.

  12. buddysguys - Mar 18, 2014 at 3:15 PM

    Lets just hope all of this leads to removal of RAJ. Let a clear head come in and make some changes Ryne is not long for his job its very clear he is a stop gap solution from inside RAJs circle.

  13. randygnyc - Mar 18, 2014 at 10:25 PM

    Asked in all seriousness: even phillies fans have to admit the fall from grace has been epic from just a few short years ago- how does Rueben still have a job?

  14. yahmule - Mar 19, 2014 at 10:55 AM

    I don’t think there’s enough evidence here to make any real conclusions about Sandberg. Honestly, I think he has simply witnessed Rollins’ act from afar and he has no patience for it up close. If I’m starting my first major league managing job, I’m not letting some extremely jaded and selfish veteran dictate how things are going to be. Eff that noise. You already have an imbecile in the GM chair, so your hands are tied there. If some other veterans decide Jimmy Rollins’ monument to his own ego is the hill they want to die on, so be it. I don’t see it necessarily shaking out that way myself. I think him and Paps and all these other headstrong jerks are going away. Ryan Howard is probably next for a long overdue reality check. Ultimately, I’m thrilled as a Phillies fan if Ryno is little more than a hired hatchet man. I can find other guys to lose 90 games for me cheaper and quieter.

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