Philadelphia Phillies interim CEO Pat Gillick told CSN Philly that he doesn't think the team will be able to contend in 2015 or 2016, saying it's more likely the Phillies will be in contention in 2017 or 2018.
After a run from 2007-11 that saw Philadelphia make five consecutive playoff appearances, win the World Series in 2008 and win another National League pennant in 2009, the Phillies went 81-81 in 2012 and slumped to 73-89 each of the past two seasons. The losing season in 2013 marked the franchise's first since 2002.
Management and ownership have maintained in recent years that its longtime corps of players, including first baseman Ryan Howard, second baseman Chase Utley, shortstop Jimmy Rollins and starting pitchers Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels, is still capable of contending, but most of the players in the group have struggled with injuries or seen their performance decline the past several seasons.
Gillick's comments are the among the first from upper management that indicate the team is prepared to rebuild.
"I think we’re more toward rebuilding than reloading," Gillick said. "That’s my opinion. I think it's hard to ask the fans, it's hard to ask the media, it's hard to ask, you know, anyone, to be patient. Patience is kind of thin these days. But I think this is going to be more of a rebuilding, more of a restructuring than a reloading."
Several of the Phillies' young players have struggled in recent years upon their ascension to the majors, including outfielder Domonic Brown, who the team will reportedly try to trade this offseason. Gillick emphasized more patience is needed for those players, again intimating that Philadelphia is focused on more of a long-term plan.
Gillick, who served as the team's general manager from 2006-08 and stayed on as a senior adviser after he left that role, became interim team president and CEO when David Montgomery took a leave of absence from the positions in August after undergoing surgeyr for jaw cancer. It's unknown when Montgomery will return.
Earlier this offseason, Gillick said that both general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. and manager Ryne Sandberg will return for the 2015 season. Assistant general manager and amateur scouting director Marti Wolever was fired near the end of the regular season.
The Phillies finished in last place in the National League Eats this season for the first time since 2000.
- Ben Estes