Ed Wade to Return to Philly

Via CSN Philly:

A major league baseball source has confirmed that former general manager Ed Wade will be rejoining the Phillies’ organization. Though no official announcement is planned, Wade will have an unspecified role in the team’s scouting department.

Most fans remember Wade as the architect of the woeful Phillies teams of the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. With Wade at GM between 1998-2005, the Phillies won at roughly a .500 clip, winning 643 games and losing 652. With each passing year, Wade’s tendency to focus on aging middle relievers as a panacea irritated fans as his teams perpetually finished in second or third place.

What often went unnoticed was Wade’s guidance of the Phillies’ farm system. Here’s a look at who the Phillies drafted by year:

(Also note that Wade brought Shane Victorino to Philadelphia via the Rule-5 draft, although he did offer to return the center fielder to the Los Angeles Dodgers at one point.)

The Phillies’ scouting department as a whole deserves a ton of credit for putting together what is still the core of the Phillies’ team, but it couldn’t have happened without Wade at the helm and that is something that should be highlighted more often when discussing Wade’s legacy. One does not draft that many good players consistently year after year accidentally, especially when the picks get gradually lower and lower due to the team’s incremental improvement.

Wade is back in Philly and we should welcome him back with open arms. He will be in a position that plays to what seems to be his greatest strength, and that can only be a good thing for the Phillies.

Active Phillies and Future Hall of Famers

Over at The Book blog, Tango looks at the PA threshold for Hall of Famers:

Of players born since 1924, here are the least number of plate appearances for Hall of Famers:

7831 Kirby Puckett
8237 Duke Snider
8364 Yogi Berra (C)
8379 Bill Mazeroski
8669 Johnny Bench (C)
8695 Orlando Cepeda
9019 Gary Carter (C)

As you can see, it’s extremely tough to make the Hall of Fame with under 9000 plate appearances.

That’s a bit depressing for me because, as one of the biggest fans of Chase Utley out there, it is highly unlikely that the second baseman will reach the 9,000 PA plateau. He currently sits just shy of 4,800. Assuming 600 PA per season, Utley would need to play seven more full seasons at, more or less,  his current level of play. The problem is that Utley is currently 33 years old, so he would be 40 and his ability to stay on the field consistently is already in question, as he has accrued under 1,000 PA in the last two seasons combined.

Jimmy Rollins is currently the closest to the mark, with over 7,500 PA to his name. But the Hall of Fame case for Rollins is much tougher. Although he has one MVP award and a rare 20/20/20/20 season under his belt, his career OPS is below-average. Only two shortstops are near Rollins’ career rWAR (34.4): Rabbit Maranville (38.2) and George Davis (37.6). If you exclude players who played at least partially in the Dead Ball Era, then Phil Rizzuto is the closest (41.8). And unlike Ozzie Smith (64.6), Rollins’ defense wasn’t incredible to the point where you could overlook other deficiencies.

Ryan Howard is the only other active player who could conceivably approach 9,000 PA as a Phillie. With over 4,400, Howard is piling on the counting stats that voters love, but the future is not looking bright for the big man. Already missing part of the 2012 season, injuries will only become more and more of a possibility, and the lasting effects of his Achilles injury could drain his already-declining power. Howard would need to play 7-8 seasons at 600 PA apiece to reach the 9,000 PA mark, taking him through at least his age-39 season. Howard also has accrued 23.1 rWAR, vastly below Hall of Fame first basemen outside of the Dead Ball Era. The closest to Howard is Orlando Cepeda at 46.8. Needless to say, Howard would need to completely defy the aging curve to come close.

The 2007-12 Phillies will go down as the greatest teams the franchise has ever assembled, but it could have an interesting footnote in that none of the position players reach the Hall of Fame.