I doubt anyone would disagree that the public relations approach of Pat Gillick is a far cry from that of previous general managers. What comes out of Pat’s mouth usually squares with both common perception and common sense. There isn’t a huge difference between the 2005 and 2006 squads but somehow they’ve gone from being of ‘championship caliber’ to not being able to win the division. Now I’ve said a few times before that this particular quote is part of a well-planned media ploy to be culminated in a big trade, most likely for an ace. Back in early November when we profiled Pat Gillick, I gained a lot of respect for a man whom I saw as experienced, motivated and intelligent. That’s why I don’t think he’d be stupid enough to say the team can’t win the division, without having a plan to actually achieve that goal. Ruben Amaro, Jr.’s "60% chance of a blockbuster" comments the other day were just another tactic to string us along in this game of his. So in that sense, I do believe that something will happen before Spring Training.
However, towards the end of his reign in Seattle, several players began to distrust and dislike Gillick, not the least of which for his "Standing Pat" moniker. Thus I can’t help but feeling that his frankness with the media and fans, while an appreciated departure from Wade, can eventually have adverse effects on the ballclub. No member of a team likes to hear his boss claim that they aren’t good enough to get the job done. There is no need to lay all your cards on the back page of the Daily News – frustrated as he might be with the lack of pitching talent available this off-season, he should show a bit more tact when talking. Some players may not be used to his strategy or have not even been informed of his real prospects on landing a starter. Ryan Madson told us last week that it was the first time he even met Gillick this off-season. While it’s true the fans buy the season tickets, I would like to see Pat cultivate his relationship with the players a bit more, because once the season starts, they’re the ones who ultimately attact people to the park.
So what I’m trying to say is that although the Gillick administration appears to be more strategically calculated and active than Wade, I’m not yet convinced it is the best direction for building team morale.