There a few front office executives above the General Manager position in baseball that receive a lot of press and attention – besides the infamous George Steinbrenner of course. In effect, the position of a Major League Baseball president is somewhat of a humbling position. Humbling seems to be an obscure word to describe a front office position as team presidents make millions of dollars each year, but humbling in the sense of a lack of recognition for their efforts is the more astute perception of the word.
Pat Gillick is no exception to this paradigm.
The man who can be attributed with a majority of the success that the Phillies experienced in the later part of the first decade of the 21st century along with their World Series trophy receives little attention and stays away from the spotlight. So, when Pat Gillick interviewed with Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Bob Brookover many stood listening.
Here is a link to Brookover’s article.
While the greater part of the interview was Gilick trying to brush away pessimistic comments directed towards his franchise, here are a few takeaways from Gillick’s words.
He is just as surprised when the Phillies play well and score runs as we are.
Gillick was interviewed during the series finale of the Cardinals’ series when the Phillies surprisingly routed the Cardinals in a large fashion as the game ended in a 9-2 victory for the Phightins. Gillick was quoted as saying “we haven’t hit this many bats in a while.”
He expected the Phillies to be bad this year, and he does not expect the team to be a force again until at least 2018.
Gillick agrees that it is hard to be patient, but the wait is inevitable and is just how baseball works. Teams go through long rebuilding processes. He told Brookover that “you have to keep a positive outlook and you never know when it’s going to turn around.”
He expects there to be a few players on the team currently who will be the core of the Phillies once the team completes its successful rebuilding process.
Gillick stated that “we probably have two or three players going forward…who are going to be regular players.” He cited players such as Maikel Franco, Freddy Galvis, Odubel Herrera as these regular players. Along with these, Gillick also expects Cameron Rupp, Cesar Hernandez, and the many young bullpen pitchers to play a roll in the future success of the franchise.
With the players that the Phillies already have in Philadelphia, he expects many of the younger players in the farm system to eventually contribute in a large way.
Gillick explained how he is “encouraged by a lot of things he sees at the minor-league level and was impressed with the recent draft.” He specified by expressing his enthusiasm for the second round pick of Scott Kingery who he expects to be in Philadelphia very soon.
He seemed content with other management positions in the Phillies organization.
Gillick only conveyed good words in regards to the positions and the jobs being done by both Ruben Amaro Jr. and Ryne Sandberg. When asked if he was happy about Amaro he said “Right now, yeah I am.” He went on to say that he “thinks Ruben is doing a good job and right now [he] thinks we’re headed in the right direction.” The only complaint he had for Sandberg was his lack of emotion – he asks for more energy out of the manager in the dugout and in the field.
He explained how he would not be around much longer as the team president.
As a 77 year old, Gillick is one of the oldest in the business, and he knows that. He, along with the rest of the Philies’ management, have been actively pursuing a replacement. A top candidate whom Gillick spoke of was Andy MacPhail who has had a long history of executive baseball management. Although the Phillies are actively pursuing a new president, the process will not be rushed, as the organization wants the process to be smooth.
He emphasizes two things to Phillies’ fans: be positive and be patient.
While he knows that the Phillies are not a fun team to watch right now, Gillick preaches that the only thing Phillies’ fans can do is be patient and be as positive as they can because the rebuilding process is effectively under way. Gillick openly says that it might be a few more years of waiting, but he promises that it will be worth it.