An Insisde View

October 30, 2007

Thanks for all the responses to the October 11 Phillies Insider.  Will get to responding later this week.

First, wanted to give you an inside view of the organization meeting that was held the last two days.

Scouts, minor league managers/coaches/instructors, athletic trainers, Charlie Manauel and his staff plus Pat Gillick’s complete department met at Citizens Bank Park.  A total of 117 persons were in attendance. 

Generally, this meeting takes place in Clearwater during the Florida Instructional League season.  Because many of the scouts and player development personnel hadn’t seen Citizens Bank Park, the meeting was held in Philadelphia this year.

Every player on the major league roster and every player on the minor league rosters were briefly discussed in the large general sessions.  For the major league players, Rich Dubee, Milt Thompson, Jimy Williams, Steve Smith, Ramon Henderson and Mick Billmeyer did the reviews.  Minor league players were reviewed by their respective manager and pitching coach.  Athletic trainer Scott Sheridan gave a medical overview of the major league players.

Scouts follow amateur players and sign them after the draft.  The young prospects are then turned over to the player development phase of the organization. The two-day meeting allowed the scouts and development staff to compare reports and discuss the players.  It is the only time in a calendar year in which these two large groups are able to meet.

Separate breakout sessions were also held. 

Gillick, Mike Arbuckle and Ruben Amaro oversaw three separate sessions with the pro scouts and major league coaching staff to review 2008 roster needs and potential free agents.  The consensus, which is not a surprise: the Phillies need pitching, both starters and relievers.  Lower on the shopping list are a potential upgrade at third base, a utility infielder who can play short (Jimmy Rollins didn’t miss a game on 2007) and perhaps an extra outfielder, depending upon what happens at that position (Aaron Rowand is a free agent).

Scouts reviewed the grading system, international baseball, negotiations with draftees, the college scholarship program, the contract signing process and general business procedures. 

The player development staff also reviewed the scout grading system, ways to improve “The Phillies Way” of playing baseball, the rehab program, computer changes and draft selection process.

Scouts and player development also had a session to review pitching and hitting philosophies of the organization, an overview of the 2007 draft and the process of players moving up and down the minor league system.

The athletic trainers met separately twice to review the injuries and procedures the entire organization went through in 2007. 

Employee benefits and a skin cancer screening session were also folded in the two days.

Baseball, once a sport with down time in the off-season, is now big business that is year-round.

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