***It's also not true that I jump on him eagerly when the Phillies struggle. I jump on him regardless of how the Phillies are playing and even if they're not playing***
"...This is true..."
-- You were making it out to seem like I'm some opportunist who was using a bad 3 game stretch to drive a new point home. I've been making these points forever. I stressed them last season when the team was winning 102 games.
IMO, RAJ had a job to do when he was hired. That job was to maintain the current level of play and competitive ability as long as possible. Toward that end, he was given any unbelievably huge bounty of resources. Essentially, he's spent them all in three years. Yes, the team has played well since he took over, but that was inevitable as they were a World Championship team in their prime. The fact that he spent a MASSIVE amount of resources largely to make what at the end of the day amount to "on the margin" improvements to me was not wise, given what little of those once plentiful resources remains today. What evidence I have ever seen of a multi-year plan to maintain the level of on-field performance revolves around what I perceive to be a very flawed attempt to morph the team from a hitting-first team into a pitching first team, while it plays it's home games in one of the most hitter friendly ballparks in baseball. Everything else that's been done is essentially overspending to plug holes with no real evidence of forethought/foresight.
The best chance the Phillies had to win the WS under RAJ's stewardship was in 2010 when RAJ traded Cliff Lee ostensibly to save $1 million in AAV (Blanton's contract AAV vs. Lee's in 2010), money he later gave to Danys Baez. Oh, and to rebuilt the farm, with players not one of whom has yet played a major league game. And the rebuilding the farm thing went right out the window seven months later when the Phillies traded BETTER prospects to land a more-expensive, more injury prone, older, and less talented pitcher in Roy Oswalt. (RAJ should have received an honorary doctorate for inefficiency and flip-flopping, for those three moves alone.)
I see today an aging team with a farm system bereft of any meaningful quantity of impact talent to either come up and help fill holes in the near future, or be fodder for trade to do the same. I see a team that has so overspent on the "on the margin" short-term upgrades, that it has little in the way of quality options remaining to be able to maintain the current "window of opportunity."
Just 6 months ago, the majority opinion on this board seemed to be that the "window of opportunity" for this team had 2-3+ years to run. I didn't, and I said so. I'm not seeking to opportunistically capitalize on anything. My views on RAJ have been remarkably consistent for a long, long time.
This is a long post already, so I'll stop. But I could write a book on all the mistakes I think RAJ has made, and the damage they're in the process of inflicting on this franchise we all love. And if I didn't love it, I wouldn't care enough to spend the time on bringing these things to light. When I think about what "could have been" given all those resources, I admit, I do get angry. It's not personal. Towards you, or anyone else.
"Just 6 months ago, the majority opinion on this board seemed to be that the "window of opportunity" for this team had 2-3+ years to run. I didn't, and I said so. I'm not seeking to opportunistically capitalize on anything. My views on RAJ have been remarkably consistent for a long, long time."
Yes, but you are using a rough start to pound home those opinions as if a rough four game stretch proves that all of your views are correct. Hey, I don't care, say what you want. All that you have posted to me above I've read from you at least a hundred times in the past few months alone. I know your views. You're entitled to them and I'm entitled to disagree with them.
I have full faith and expectation that the Phightins will be in the playoffs this year.
Beyond that, it's a crapshoot of matchups, who's hot at the end of the year, and luck.
Same as the last 3 years.
"""IMO, RAJ had a job to do when he was hired. That job was to maintain the current level of play and competitive ability as long as possible."""
And MANY people would very strongly disagree with you on that point and say that his job HAD to be to do everything in his power to win a World Series THIS YEAR, where EVERY year was THIS year. To that end, giving out big contracts and bringing in prime free agents could be viewed as him doing everything in his power to obtain that goal.
The truth is, however, none of really know what directives, if any, he was given when he was hireed to replace Gillick.
Trying to predict the postseason is like trying to herd cats. A fool's errand.
Make the playoffs & I'm happy.
That is literally the refrain of every fan-base who doesn't want to deal with playoff failure, in every year, in every sport.
The Rangers were the better team in two straight World Series and have zero rings to show for it. Do you think Jon Daniels and Nolan Ryan REALLY think "Gee, I'm just so glad we got there."
You'll give me some wise-acre flip answer, I'm sure, but this whole "playoffs are a cr*p shoot" stuff, is nothing more than a great big juicy rationalization that started showing itself on this board in 2009 when the Eagles fell a game short of the SuperBowl in a game they should have won, and the Phillies' lost a World Series. And given regression in terms of how for each team has advanced in the playoffs since, the popularity of that excuse has just grown and grown.
The Phillies weren't unlucky to lose to the Cardinals in the playoffs last year. The better team won. The Cardinals were 6-3 vs. the Phillies in the regular season last year.
"You'll give me some wise-acre flip answer, I'm sure, but this whole "playoffs are a cr*p shoot" stuff, is nothing more than a great big juicy rationalization that started showing itself on this board in 2009 when the Eagles fell a game short of the SuperBowl in a game they should have won, and the Phillies' lost a World Series. And given regression in terms of how for each team has advanced in the playoffs since, the popularity of that excuse has just grown and grown."
A) I could care less about the Iggles, as you should know by now.
B) Since I'm not in the area, I have no idea about the "popularity" of the "excuse".
C) Simple math tells you the more bites you get at the apple, the more chances you have. That's all the regular season is about - staying healthy, peaking late, and racking up enough wins to make the dance.
"The Phillies weren't unlucky to lose to the Cardinals in the playoffs last year. The better team won. The Cardinals were 6-3 vs. the Phillies in the regular season last year."
I'm going to have to go ahead and disagree with you (surprise surprise).
1) The 6 and 3 record means little to nothing because of a) Sample size, and b) The fact that the Cardinal roster did not even VAGUELY stay the same for all 9 games (neither did ours).
2) The much larger sample size against a tougher division disagrees with you. We weren't sitting in a stadium the last night of the season sweating whether or not we were even, freakin', IN, the playoffs. If the Braves had ANYONE competent in that last game, they win it, the Cards may not even make the playoffs, at the very least has a play in game before us, who knows what happens.
The Cards were not better, they were HOTTER. If there's a lesson to be learned, it's that if your team is IN the playoffs, f*ck drama, I want the team that's in the lead but sputtering down the stretch to hold on and keep the playoff spot over the 18-2 over their last 20 buzzsaw.
I hate to tell you, but if you're a Yankees fan and have an attitude of "World Series or I'm going to be a miserable complaining morose SOB", then you're in for a lot of disappointment.
If you're a PHILLIES fan and have that attitude, you'd better take some of that bankster money you made and buy stock in Jim Beam. :D
I know the lack of runs stands out but my biggest concern so far has been the bullpen. They lost two one-run games because they couldn't hold the opposition late. When a team wins one game 1-0 and then loses two straight one-run games it makes me think that run prevention could have put them in a better position to win. I didn't really understand why Kendrick and Herndon were being used when they were over the weekend and I didn't like Bastardo being used against right-handed hitters. A slight uptick in run production coupled with a slight improvement in run prevention and the Phils are 3-1 instead of 1-3. In fact, even without the improvement in run production if they'd only held the Pirates scoreless late they would have swept.
Doc cures lots of what's wrong with this team. I'm actually looking forward to facing Josh Johnson who didn't look all that impressive in the opener and hasn't pitched back to back games in a year.
But see, that's just the thing. I'm not miserable about the Phillies' current predicament and future prospects. In my view, these issues were years in the making, so absolutely nothing new has happened to change anything for me. I'm disappointed at the results, and would be happy to have been wrong as I do tend to enjoy wins more than losses, but I'm not surprised.
My call for wins this year was 88-90. I still think those numbers are in play, but 88 wins is a 14-game decline from last year, which is prodigious decline. I'm still inclined to think that the Phillies are the best team in the division and it may well be that all 5 teams come in with 80-something wins. It should be a dog-fight all season long, if everyone stays healthy.
But I don't see this as a one-year hiccup. I see it as the beginning of a downward trend, the steepness and severity of which have yet to be determined.