OK, One More Item on Steve Phillips’ Talent Evaluation Skills

WrightCruz One of my favorite baseball writers/evaluators is ESPN’s Keith Law who writes extremely well, is smart, witty, snarky and an excellent judge of talent (even if he doesn’t like Anna’s Tacqueria); I trust his eye. During his time as a special assistant to JP Ricciardi in Toronto he witnessed any number of interesting and bizarre choices by his GM, including passing on Troy Tulowitzki in favor of Ricky Romero. Sure, Romero has come on recently and looks to be a good pitcher, but Tulo is a 30 HR Gold Glove shortstop and those simply don’t grow on trees.

Anyhoo, in his chat yesterday on ESPN, Keith Law dropped this little nugget that absolutely FLOORED me:

Eddie (Milwaukee): What was Steve Phillips thinking? Almost trading a 19 year old David Wright for Jose Cruz Jr.? Ridiculous.

Klaw: I’ve been asked about that trade rumor for three years but never answered while Ricciardi was still GM. The offer was made, though; I was there when the call came in. It was the first time I’d heard of Wright, since I wasn’t with Toronto in 2001 nor had I followed the draft when Wright was in it. JP’s reaction was, “I’m not trading a major league player for some guy in the Sally League.” And that was pretty much that. We had a chance to trade Cruz after that for Rafael Soriano, but JP refused to do it unless Seattle included Clint Nageotte, who, at the time, was a pretty hot prospect. It’s weird; I can’t remember some things that happened last week but I remember those conversations (over seven years ago now) like they just took place.

This makes BOTH Phillips and Ricciardi look bad. I can’t believe Stevie-boy offered D-Wright for Jose Cruz Jr. who had his best year as a rookie and then never followed up on it. This is the same Jose Cruz Jr. who is OUT OF THE LEAGUE, and the David Wright who is a regular pre-season MVP pick and one of the best young players in the game (if he ever gets his power stroke back.) Wow. WOW. WOW.


5 Responses to “OK, One More Item on Steve Phillips’ Talent Evaluation Skills”

  1. 1 DD Al
    October 23, 2009 at 11:10 am


    I figure because I read your blog everyday and chuckle, I should post a comment at least once in a while.

    But seriously…


  2. 2 Funzo
    October 23, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    It’s interesting that K-Law would be so forthcoming about things like this, considering how terribly stupid it makes his former boss look. I’m guessing the guy spent most of his 4 years there chapped at having to watch Ricciardi fuck up time and again.

    • October 23, 2009 at 1:52 pm

      In K-Law’s defense he has actively gone out of his way to avoid disparaging comments about JP while he remained the GM, but at the same time Law has repeatedly stated that major differences in opinion led to his leaving the organization. He has been critical of the Ricky Romero/Tulo draft pick in particular, as well as the AJ Burnett signing, which he says he argued vehemently against and even put together a full package explaining why investing in Burnett was a bad idea.

      I can somewhat see JP’s point, at the time of the Cruz offer David Wright was still a couple years away from the majors, it’s more phillips’ complete lack of faith in what became a superstar player in favor of a middling MLB outfielder who was never even that particularly that good in the first place.

  3. 4 shatraw
    October 23, 2009 at 2:45 pm

    suffice to say, may steve phillips fade away into obscurity after this new york post-fueled madness ends. if i never again noticed him contributing to baseball through the game or broadcasts, it would be too soon.

    all of this makes me wonder just what harold reynolds had to do to get fired from ESPN.

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