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What Ever Happened to Merit?

Here's the problem with the Phillies organization nicely encapsulated in the introduction to this article about Pat Gillick's successor likely being either Ruben Amaro or Mike Arbuckle.

If Montgomery decides to search inside the organization, a likelihood, he would have two candidates, Ruben Amaro Jr. and Mike Arbuckle, both assistants under Gillick.

People in the organization believe Amaro is the front-runner for the job. There are numerous reasons: He is involved in the daily big-league operations, including contract negotiations and makeup of the 40-man roster; he has become the de facto team spokesman; he is a former Phillie and also a native Philadelphian; he is well-educated, having graduated from Penn Charter and Stanford University; and in baseball's effort to diversify front offices, he has Latin American heritage.

Arbuckle joined the organization as scouting director in 1993. He now oversees the organization's professional scouting and minor-league operations and has become much more involved in the team's big-league operations since Gillick came aboard in November 2005.

Now, I could be reading too much into this, as this was written by Todd Zolecki and not by Dave Montgomery, but I'm pretty confident that Zolecki has his finger on the pulse of how the Phillies organization thinks.

So, here's the question:  Notice anything missing from the description of Amaro's and Arbuckle's qualifications?

If you read the title of this entry, you'll have it pegged.  It's all about connections and experience; there's nothing about merit or results.  The rest of the article continues along the same lines.

The thing is, there are some good things pertaining to merit and results that could be said about these guys.  They've certainly developed some marquee players and locked them up nicely during their tenure.  Most teams would kill for the nucleus that the Phils have right now.

But, they've also presided over a team that, despite having such a talented nucleus, has won 0 playoff games in the last 13 years and lost only 3.  That says a lot.  To me, a lot more than connections, experience, and comfort level.

Maybe that's why it wasn't mentioned in the article.