Sielski: Fixing the Phillies with Royals’ patient approach

From Mike Sielski at on October 21, 2014, with SABR President Vince Gennaro:

Vince Gennaro is a smart man. He’s a consultant to several franchises around Major League Baseball, advising them on how to remain relevant and competitive and financially responsible. He wrote a book years ago called Diamond Dollars: The Economics of Winning in Baseball, and in the late 1970s, before the acronyms WAR and FIP had become part of mainstream baseball lexicon, he created his own player-valuation system. Again, Gennaro’s sharp.

He answered his phone Monday, on the eve of the World Series, to field a couple of seemingly simple questions: What can the Phillies learn from the San Francisco Giants and the Kansas City Royals? Is there anything the Phillies can take from the Giants’ smart player-development and spending habits, from the Royals’ small-market patience, and implement themselves?

Everyone knows the Phillies’ problems: too much money and hope invested in old, declining talent; too few young, promising players on the roster or in the farm system; an organizational reluctance, because of the size and demands of the Philadelphia market and the hamstringing nature of several expensive contracts, to start fresh.

The trick is fixing those problems, and maybe the Phillies could glean something from the Giants, who have a chance to win their third championship over the last five years, and/or the Royals, who built their team from the bottom up – and did so with a meager payroll of $92 million. This is an annual rite, after all, using championship contenders as models for how to repair or rebuild a franchise, and the Phillies need more help than most.

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Originally published: October 21, 2014. Last Updated: October 21, 2014.