Free Agent First Dates
I'm sure you've all heard by now about Billy Wagner's tourist trip to NYC. In short, the Glavine family picked them up at the airport, his wife went to see Phantom on Broadway, Billy took the scenic route from Flushing to Westchester, and they all got "I Heart NY" t-shirts to remember the trip. From what I've heard, all the bright lights didn't immediately scare the country mouse. However, the initial assessment from Wagner was certainly not as positive as that of last week's meeting with Gillick and Co. I think much of that had to do with the fact the Phils met him in VA because Billy complained about too much driving while in the Big Apple. What the Mets couldn't fire up the helicopter for Wags? It's expected the Mets will offer him the same money as the Phils but with the 3rd year guaranteed. If that's the case, I think he'll stay with the Phils. If Omar Minaya throws in a 4th year, then he's a Met. But perhaps he'd take the 3 year Met deal if they add a Kevin Brown-like clause giving him free helicopter rides to and from the stadium. I sure Tom Glavine could tell him how useful that could be.
If the Phils don't win the Wager sweepstakes, they're gonna need a Plan C. Plan B, lefty free-agent B.J. Ryan, is currently being wooed by the Indians. GM Mark Shapiro had dinner with Ryan last night in Cleveland. So Pat Gillick better slick his hair and work on his best game because he'll soon need to get out there and start making some dinner dates. Sure he doesn't want to look as if he's cheating on Wagner, but I'd like to see him showcase the city to free agents and maybe improve our reputation. Quick poll: if you were Gillick, where would you take a free agent on the first date?
Today however Gillick prefered computer lovin'. He continued the trend started by David Montgomery by sending an email to phillies.com subscribers. (Let me say quickly that I appreciate this tactic and hope it continues.) Gillick mentioned the hiring this past week of an old buddy, Don Welke, as Special Assistant. Welke most recently worked as the Rangers' international scouting crosschecker last year and helped them build a foundation in Latin America. He also served as Senior Scouting Advisor for the Dodgers, as well as an advance scout with Toronto. It was in Toronto where Welke and Gillick became close friends. It is also interesting to note he was a big proponent of signing Jim Abbott after seeing him pitch for his high school team in Michigan - how 'bout that for scouting. Let's just hope for now that he can rebuild the depleted farm system.
Finally, for finishing second in the Wild Card standings the Phillies have been awarded 1% of the player's playoff pool which is comprised of 60% of the playoff gate receipts. This means that the Phils players will democratically decide how to split the pot of $407,885.66. Any chance they give it all to Wagner to keep him in Philly?