Everyone knew this season would be an uphill battle, but has Ryne Sandberg made the situation any better?
by PATRICK GORDON | Managing Editor
June 26 2015, 3:00 PM EST.
No one expected the Phillies to compete this season, but here we sit less than three weeks from the All-Star Game and we're looking at a team that is dangerously close to being considered one of the worst clubs of the 21st century.
On one hand, it's difficult to fault manager Ryne Sandberg. He inherited a horrid mix of over the hill veterans and marginal major league talent. On the other hand, many in the industry opine he's overmatched and lacks the skills to tactfully manage a big league club.
Either way, especially after the events of this past week, it seems clear Sandberg is not the right fit to manage the Phillies through a rebuild.
Pat Gillick, 77, is currently team president and rumors have surfaced over the past week he's interested in bringing in Andy MacPhail to replace him as the club's head of operations. If the rumor comes to fruition, it may be MacPhail that determines the future of Sandberg and general manager Ruben Amaro Jr.
If Gillick were going to make a change at manager or general manager he likely would have done so already. Instead, he's likely waiting to bring someone in so they can make their own hires and set the rebuild as they see fit.
MacPhail most recently was the Orioles’ president of baseball operations.
We already know the writing is on the wall for Amaro Jr., but Sandberg's decline in popularity hit a high point this week.
Prior to winning three of their last four, the Phillies were outscored 51-14 while going winless on an eight-game road trip.
Dysfunction within the team became public on the trip when Sandberg and pitching coach Bob McClure got into it with reliever Ken Giles in the dugout in Pittsburgh after Giles voiced displeasure on the mound after being asked to intentionally walk a batter.
Also on the trip, outfielder Jeff Francoeur came in to pitch in a blowout and ended up tossing two innings. So irked by the fact he was used for a second inning, Chase Utley openly questioned McClure when he came out for a mound visit to speak with Francoeur.
Perhaps the biggest blunder with Sandberg, however, revolves around his commentary of Utley being placed on the 15-day disabled list following Tuesday's game because of inflammation in his right ankle.
Sandberg admitted he was surprised about the injury and trip to the DL and noted there had been no reports of an injury holding him back.
"I don't know if it's affected him," Sandberg said. " … But the way that he's moved around and run the bases and run hard and played defense, I don't think it was holding him back all that much in my opinion. But having it bothering now has held him back to the point of getting it rechecked and reevaluated. That's what he feels."
Ironically, on Monday, Sandberg emphatically told reporters that Utley was healthy and feeling great.
If Sandberg and Utley aren't on the same page, it makes you wonder about the rest of the organization.
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