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Gillick's Guys: Year-End Edition

He came with a stated intention of adding five wins to last year's total and getting the Phils to the playoffs. His record on that front: 0-2.

Pat Gillick brought in 17 new Phillies this year. Combined with the talent assembled by Ed Wade in years past, the Phils lost three more games than last year and failed to reach the playoffs, yet again.

Did the guys Gillick brought in fail the team? Can he be trusted to bring in talent to reach his goal next year? Let's look at the final installment of Gillick's Guys to answer these questions.

Starting with the better news, here's a chart of Gillick's pitchers:

Tom Gordon 59.1 3.34 1.26 68/22 1.57 17.1
Matt Smith 8.2 2.08 0.81 12/4 0.61 3.8
Jamie Moyer 51.1 4.03 1.09 26/7 0.53 9.4
Rick White 37.1 4.34 1.42 23/15 0.48 4.2
Julio Santana 8.1 7.56 2.04 4/9 -0.05 -3.0
Arthur Rhodes 45.2 5.32 1.69 48/30 -0.11 3.9
Adam Bernero 2.0 36.00 4.50 0/2 -0.38 -6.4
Ryan Franklin 53.0 4.58 1.43 25/17 -0.55 8.0
Fabio Castro 23.1 1.54 0.77 13/6 -0.58 11.7

Gillick did a credible job acquiring pitching talent. Tom Gordon led the pack with three wins attributable to his performance (0.50 WPA is one win) and a 17.1 VORP. Unfortunately, all of his positive contribution came before the All-Star Break, as Gordon lost a half a game (by WPA) after the break, while his VORP essentially remained steady (up only 0.3). Gillick has to pray that Gordon's second half isn't an indication that Gordon's injury and age have caught up to him.

The other pitchers Gillick acquired fell within a very narrow range of helping or hurting by roughly one win. Matt Smith, Jamie Moyer, and Rick White each contributed a win on their own. Julio Santana (because of very limited action) and Arthur Rhodes (because of a very erratic year) were essentially neutral. Adam Bernero, Ryan Franklin, and Fabio Castro each lost about one game for the Phils. Interstingly, both Franklin and Castro had positive VORPs and negative WPAs, indicating that although they had an overall positive effect on the Phils' run prevention, those good pitching performances were wasted in situations that didn't really matter.

As a group, Gillick's pitchers contributed a 1.52 WPA, or three wins, and a 48.7 VORP. Usually, about 10 runs of VORP are roughly equal to a win, but the WPA measure indicates that these pitchers' performances were wasted situationally.

Now for the bad news:

David Dellucci 264 0.292 0.369 0.530 0.63 17.6
Aaron Rowand 405 0.262 0.321 0.425 0.58 8.6
Randall Simon 21 0.238 0.304 0.238 -0.16 -0.8
Jeff Conine 100 0.280 0.327 0.390 -0.43 0.3
Jose Hernandez 32 0.250 0.273 0.406 -0.81 -0.4
Alex Gonzalez 36 0.111 0.158 0.111 -1.16 -6.3
Sal Fasano 140 0.243 0.284 0.386 -1.34 -2.6
Abraham Nunez 322 0.211 0.303 0.273 -2.12 -18.3

Gillick's hitters hurt the Phillies significantly. David Dellucci and Aaron Rowand each had their moments and wound up both contributing about one win individually. Dellucci also had a nice 17.6 VORP in his limited playing time.

Beyond these two players, it's ugly. Randall Simon was a virtual non-factor in his extremely limited playing time. Jeff Conine used his veteran moxie to lose one game for the Phils (0 for 7 anyone?). Jose Hernandez hacked his way to losing a game and a half. Alex Gonzalez thankfully retired after losing more than two games for the Phils. Gillick gave up on Sal Fasano too late, costing the Phils two and a half games.

And then there's Abraham Nunez. The Phillies finished the year three games back in the Wild Card standings. Nunez alone lost the team four plus games. Replace his at-bats with those by a completely neutral hitter and the Phillies win the Wild Card by a game. That he had about 350 plate appearances this year is the crime of the century for the Phillies.

Overall, Gillick's hitters combined for a whopping -4.81 WPA, or almost 10 losses, and a -1.9 VORP. In other words, Gillick's hitters lost the Phillies 10 games and contributed almost 2 runs less than a replacement player would have given the team over those 1320 at-bats.

The addition of crummy talent to a team hurts. Individual players alone may not have significant effects (although some of course do, see, e.g., Nunez, Abraham), but when a bunch of awful hitters are brought in to fill several small roles, the cumulative effect is atrocious. When a group of pitchers are added that rely on the performance of one aging injury-prone veteran, a team's fortunes can fall quickly. Gillick's additions this year fell into both of these pits. Phillies fans have to hope that Gillick is a better judge of talent this coming year than he was over his first year with the Phils.