That the Phillies won only 73 games last year and portend to be just as bad, if not worse, in 2014 might prompt some to suggest that they have a talent problem. Not so, if the Phillies’ new clubhouse signs are to be believed. All the Phillies need to do to get back to their successful ways is to respect the game, be the “ultimate teammate”, and play the game the right way.
Via MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki:
Given the recent drama involving Jimmy Rollins, it wouldn’t be surprising if this was an indirect swipe at the shortstop. It isn’t shocking, though, that the Phillies think that a key to returning to their glory days is to rediscover the intangibles. After all, they had to be held more or less at gunpoint to create an analytics department — becoming one of the last teams to do so.
Even if every single Phillie does start to respect the game (they didn’t before?), becomes the ultimate teammate (what does this mean?), and plays the game the right way (right, Jimmy?), they’re still likely to rank among the bottom-third in baseball, wins-wise. No amount of intangibles will turn that old, injury-prone, expensive roster into a championship contender.
On Sunday, Blue Jays closer Ken Giles spoke to Rosie DiManno of the Toronto Star. Giles said, “I’m actually enjoying the game more than I did for my entire tenure in Houston.” Giles won a World Series with the Astros last year, but talked about communication issues with the Astros and compared them unfavorably to the Blue Jays. Giles described the communication as having been “lost” and credited the Jays for staying patient with him.
Astros manager A.J. Hinch responded to Giles’ comments on Monday. Per Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi, Hinch said:
I think he’s wrong and I’m disappointed that he would go down that path given how much work and time and energy and communication that our front office, our coaching staff, me, we all went through this with him. And I understand, there was some disappointment in his tenure as an Astro because of the turbulent way things went about. We gave him every opportunity, we communicated with him effectively, we have an incredible culture where every single player will tell you it’s one of the best cultures they’ve had, one of the best communication envrionments they’ve had. They all know their roles. They all know their situations. To have one person out of all the guys in our clubhouse come out and claim otherwise is flat wrong.
While Giles certainly could be embellishing or deliberately misconstruing his time there, Hinch’s rebuttal doesn’t actually disqualify anything Giles said. Giles certainly could have had a negative experience in Houston even if everyone else was enjoying the “incredible culture” and “one of the best communication environments.”
Given how the Astros — including Hinch — responded to criticism about their acquiring an accused domestic abuser, they’re not in the best position to boast about an “incredible culture” anyway.
At any rate, this is a he-said, he-said situation. If anything more comes of it, it will be Giles further torching a bridge.