Steve Phillips still talking, still shouldn’t be

Even though he’s moved on from ESPN, Steve Phillips is still doing the goofy “pretend I’m a real-life GM” thing. Only now he’s not at a podium taking scripted questions from fake press, he’s sitting in front of a bookshelf talking to a webcam and showing a healthy dose of bare chest. The big reveal, of course, is that Steve Phillips owns books.

To his credit, Phillips’ objective is to fix the Mets for 2011 and not necessarily beyond. But the two major pillars of his offseason plan are trading Ike Davis for Prince Fielder and shelling out for Cliff Lee. Coincidentally, I have specifically argued against both of those moves in this space.

Both moves would inarguably make the Mets a better team in 2011. But Fielder is slated to be a free agent after 2011 and will require a hefty long-term contract extension to stick around, whereas Davis will be inexpensive and under team control until the latter part of this decade. Lee is awesome, but he is a 32-year-old pitcher likely to command a massive paycheck that could ultimately hamstring a team. Also, given what we know about the Mets’ payroll commitments for 2011 and their lack of flexibility, signing him seems completely infeasible.

In other words, Phillips’ plan to fix the Mets seems a lot like a reasonable way to further break the Mets. Yes, adding Prince Fielder and Cliff Lee (and Orlando Hudson) would make just about any team a lot more likely to contend in the short term. But it is the GM’s job to consider the future as well.

Really, there’s an almost stunning lack of insight in the video, considering Phillips is an actual former Major League GM. Every decision he suggests has been beaten inside out in the comments section of every Mets blog, and he appears to approach the team’s needs in terms of labels — No. 1 starter, “true cleanup hitter.”

At least he’s willing to keep Carlos Beltran around, though, despite his wholesale lack of “game-winning plays” and tendency to “lock up in a critical situation.”

12 thoughts on “Steve Phillips still talking, still shouldn’t be

  1. I’m not sure what it says about the Mets that I trust the ideas of an ex-sandwich artist, ex-substitute teacher, and current blogger more than a former major league General Manager with decades of front office experience, but…I totally do.

  2. I’m not sure he thinks this is just a short-term exercise. He says “this is the plan and message that I think Alderson needs to sell to Mets ownership this offseason.”

    Steve Phillips simply doesn’t understand the idea of building. It’s about putting all your eggs in this year’s basket, every year. What he never seemed to get was, eventually, you run out of eggs.

    Eggs are delicious.

  3. SP never saw the game as being won from the ground up (minor leagues, prospects, drafting, scouting, training, etc.). It was always about how much money was left in the budget and what FA was available to bet it all on and hope it pays off. I have never heard him ever use the words “invest”, “train” or “develop”. It was always about who can get us over the hump, like some craps player trying to make a number. SP was, and always will be, a gambler.

  4. I agree with most of what you wrote, but to say Carlos Beltran is dos not perform in the clutch is not 100% accurate. He has hit more than a couple of game winning HR’s, hits, and made many game saving catches.
    Game 7 2006 was a 12-6 curveball from a then unknown pitcher when nobody was throwing 12-6 curves. He didn’t expect it on a 3-2 count. That is David Wright’s theory and I agree with it. The real problem was not bunting runners to 2nd and 3rd.

    • Indeed — I was kidding. I think the entire concept of clutchness is overrated and widely misdiagnosed, and that even if it weren’t, Beltran should be considered one of the most clutch players of his generation (see: 2004 postseason, three home runs in the series against the Cardinals before the strikeout). I was only playing on something Phillips said during a Sunday Night Baseball broadcast in 2009, during a lengthy anti-Beltran tirade.

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