Bill Conlin Gets It Thursday September 18th, 2008Posted by Sean in Chicago White Sox, Gavin Floyd, Josh Outman, Off-topic, Phillies, Phillies Farm teams.
It seems that at least one member of the “real-world media” understands my point-of-view. Frankly, it’s comforting knowing that someone else has the same opinion as me on this “issue”. Report via Philly.com.
ON A DAY and night fraught with postseason implications, I couldn’t help thinking about Gavin Floyd.
Brett Myers went for the Brewers’ spurting jugular last night on 3 days’ rest, which is only a big deal because no pitcher under the age of 45 does it anymore. Joe Blanton started the day game of the players union-induced split-admission doubleheader against the gagging Brew Crew. The National League wild-card invitation sits there waiting for somebody to pick it up and order the party balloons. But the Brew Crew is shoveling the handsome lead they once enjoyed into a shallow grave. The Cardinals are done. And Ed Wade’s Astros are doing what the Rockies did a year ago with a late run that has put them right in the Phillies’ wind shadow.
It is exciting stuff if you are turned on by NASCAR collisions and Hurricane Ike footage.
Meanwhile, Gavin Floyd is 15-7 with a 3.77 ERA. While Myers was hopping through three minor league levels during his confidence rehab, Floyd was flirting with no-hitters for a White Sox team he helped pitch into first place. The 25-year-old is manager Ozzie Guillen’s top winner.
And he represents one of the most indictable screwups in Phillies history. Screwup? The Gavin Floyd saga deserves a more pungent word than that. When you factor in all the good money thrown after bad, it is the worst series of transactions in franchise history.
And the umbrella of guilt overspreads the watches of both Ed Wade and Pat Gillick. The one guy here for all of it has been Mike Arbuckle, the minor league system manager and assistant GM who drafted Floyd No. 4 overall in 2001, paid him a club- record $4.2 million bonus, and signed off on the Coup de Disgrace. That would be the 2006 winter meetings deal where Gillick sent Floyd and minor league prospect Gio Gonzalez to Chicago for damaged veteran righthander Freddy Garcia and his $10 million contract.
It is trendy to speculate where the Phillies would be had Myers pitched as well before the All-Star break as he has since returning as a fire-breathing dragon from his three-level limbo.
I wonder what the rotation could have been had it included a Gavin Floyd the Phillies decided to dump because nobody had the people skills to help him through his crisis of confidence. Why he had become more nibbler than a 6-5, 230-pound, $4.2 million force of nature sure to become a dominant power pitcher in a rotation with Cole Hamels and Myers.
The Phillies are never much for playing the blame game. Historically, they have chosen the “Anybody can make a mistake” avenue of accountability. It is a rutted and well-traveled road. Rolled heads do not line their bumpy boulevard of broken dreams. The Phillies move the Ox carts stoically ahead – even when the blunder costs the services of a Floyd and a total of $14.2 million in cash, factoring the $10 million paid to Garcia, who contributed one 2007 victory before beginning a backward count from 10 to 1 for Dr. Andrews.
Front-office types blame pitching coach Joe Kerrigan for changing Floyd from a four-seam-fastball power arm with a huge 12-6 curve to a two-seam sinkerballer with a cut fastball. But in Kerrigan’s defense-a feeble one, I admit-the Professor was trying to give the kid a way to stay in the big leagues. He had lost his killer stuff. Mentally, the kid was a mess.
Floyd has since admitted he fell victim to the blizzard of conflicting advice he was getting and didn’t begin to reclaim his Futures Game stuff until he cleared his head of all good intentions and remembered the delivery and straight-ahead aggressiveness that earned him that record bonus.
One hot night when he was pitching for Class A Clearwater, I watched him go from no-hitter stuff to fretting, petulant brat who turned another goose egg into a crooked number because an umpire pinched him on a couple of pitches. I told Arbuckle that Floyd totally lost his poise and appeared to have demeanor issues. Mike said, au contraire, media man, the reports said the exact opposite.
The reports lied . . .
Joe Blanton was OK yesterday after a shaky beginning. The Phillies gave up badly mishandled lefthander Josh Outman and a nobody outfielder to acquire the leviathan righty.
Outman won his first major league game for Oakland Saturday, allowing one run in five innings against the Rangers’ big offense. Josh had been used in setup relief most of the Reading season. His manager, P.J. Forbes, and pitching coach, Tom Filer, will not be back next season.
Neither will Gavin Floyd nor Josh Outman.