Will the Phillies smarten up and “examine their processes”?

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 17: Mike Moustakas #18 of the Milwaukee Brewers throws to first in the seventh inning of Game 5 of the NLCS against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday, October 17, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rob Leiter/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 17: Mike Moustakas #18 of the Milwaukee Brewers throws to first in the seventh inning of Game 5 of the NLCS against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday, October 17, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rob Leiter/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
(Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) /

The MLB.com writer in Philadelphia offered five questions the Phillies should consider while planning for 2020. One is especially important.

On the day the Phillies found a new pitching coach, perhaps not very many people saw an article on something else on their website by MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki. Zolecki also wrote about the signing of Bryan Price, but in his earlier piece about five questions the team must address in the off-season, he delivered himself of this passage:

"“The Phillies entered the 2019 season believing they had a top-10 rotation and that somebody like Moustakas was not an upgrade over Franco at third base. How did they come to those conclusions? They should dig into their hitting and pitching philosophies and how they present their information to players, which even former manager Gabe Kapler acknowledged this summer got too complicated.”"

To quote the late Harry Caray, “Holy cow!”

Here is a rare sportswriter’s passage demanding the sort of examination ordinarily only done at the graduate level for, say, small pieces of James Joyce’s Ulysses or controversial parts of The Federalist Papers. Keep in mind the passage above came under the intriguing header question: “Will they [the Phillies] examine their processes?” Let’s go clause by clause.

The Phillies entered the 2019 season believing they had a top-10 rotation… This is an assertion really crying out for source identification, not that we want to doubt Zolecki. If this is literally true – of multiple Phillies management officials – then…

No, do this: Start listing MLB rotations as they stood at the beginning of 2019 either in the NL or MLB that were clearly worse than the Phillies starters. You might get to five in the NL, but certainly not after the season. You won’t get to twenty in MLB at either end of the campaign. Go ahead. Start with the Orioles.