The Philadelphia Daily News’ Paul Hagen chats with Phillies GM Pat Gillick (above), who couldn’t possibly have been thinking of Bobby Abreu or Pat Burrell.
I think, really, where you have to start in a ballclub is pitching. So I think we have to improve our pitching,” Gillick said. “And if we improve our pitching, it’s going to relate to the field. Pitching is so much a part of the game that it controls the game. So it’s very, very important that you have strong pitching. “So our game plan is to try to get as many good pitchers as we can, assemble as many pitchers as we can, and hopefully come out with some that are going to be able to perform and perform well at the major league level.
“The problem with that, of course, is that if you want to get 12 pitchers you’re probably going to have to get 25 because you’re going to lose some down along the way. Some people you think have great potential and are guys that can’t miss are going to break your heart. So, consequently, you have to assemble a lot.”
“One of the problems for all of us, and sometimes it’s not recognized, is the fact that sometimes long-term contracts make people complacent. I think if everybody had their druthers, we’d all have guys on 1-year contracts. Because of the competitive situation.
“Sometimes you think you know somebody but you really don’t. And once they get $30 million or $40 million in their pocket, all of a sudden there’s not the same commitment there. It doesn’t mean they have to be hard-nosed, but they’ve got to go out and leave it on the field or on the court every night or every day. Sometimes players get a little too comfortable in that situation.
“So it takes time to get the right salary structure. The thing I think is important is to have the right salary structure on your club. So a guy walks in and the players say, ‘He’s the highest-paid guy but he should be the highest-paid guy.’ That’s something we’re going to strive for, to get our salary structure in line.”