“It all starts at the top…with the front office.” – Adam Wainwright.
Following his complete game, NLDS Game 5 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates, Wainwright said those words when asked about how the St. Louis Cardinals continue to churn out winning season after winning season, playoff win after playoff win. And as soon as he said it, it made the Phillies decline stand out so much more.
Not taking a shot at the Phillies front office, but Ruben Amaro Jr. and co. have done things much differently than the John Mozeliak’s, Billy Beane’s, and Andrew Friedman’s of the world. The Cardinals organization understands its payroll limitations. Hell, we all saw the movie about Beane’s inability to spend anything at all, even on clubhouse soda. Friedman’s Rays have been snakebitten in the playoffs recently, but 90 wins in five of the last six seasons is still incredible.
How are they doing it? Patience. Scouting. Luck? They allow their young prospects to blossom, then bring them up at the right time. They certainly don’t make rash decisions. Their baseball operations departments are second to none; how do you think the Sean Doolittle’s of the world keep finding their way out of the A’s organization? And luck plays a role as well – it’s hard to strike gold time and time again and a little bit of luck goes into that.
What’s also apparent is a plan. The Red Sox, A’s, and Cardinals load up on guys that get on base and rarely make bad outs. The Pirates built their hopes and dreams around Andrew McCutchen and a stable of young arms. Evan Longoria and David Price are the cornerstones of the Rays.
The Phillies no longer seem to have that same type of a plan. They’re now wallowing in declining, aging veterans with larger contracts. They do have Lee/Hamels to fall back on, but outside of that solid 1-2 punch, what is
So when Adam Wainwright makes those comments, it certainly stands out. The Phillies need to tighten up their scouting. They need to have a little patience. And they need to hope for some luck. But they also need a solid plan moving forward.