What a fool I used to be. Those are Neil Peart’s words, but they apply here as well, so I’ll use ‘em. When the Padres traded Bubba Trammell and minor-league left-hander Mark Phillips for Rondell White back in ’03, I was… a little less than pleased. I actually vented in three parts:
- Part 1 includes this gem:
I realize I may not be the most objective person when it comes to talking about Phillips. I’ve seen him pitch on several occasions and I even once had the chance to chat with him while he was charting a game at Elsinore. But beyond the fact that he seemed like a nice enough kid, he has a serious arm. You just don’t see a lot of young lefties with that kind of fastball/curve arsenal.
Except, of course, that he never made it past A-ball.
- Here’s my favorite passage from Part 2:
Trade Phillips if you have to; it’s not the end of the world. But make sure you address a need and get value for him. The Padres did neither.
Except, of course, that Phillips and Trammell sucked for the Yankees, and White played well for the Padres.
- Finally, in Part 3, I respond to some reader feedback:
[Yankees GM Brian] Cashman essentially threw less-than-first-round money at a former first-rounder who already has professional experience under his belt and who, unlike many former top draft picks, actually has had a fair amount of success as a pro. From the Yankees’ standpoint, this wasnâ€™t about money. This was about opportunity. Cashman saw a stud lefty on the horizon and went out and got him on the cheap.
Except, of course, that Phillips wasn’t a stud lefty. He only seemed like one at the time.
I’ve talked in this space about being slower to judge now than I once was. Crap like the three posts above should help you understand why. I didn’t know enough then to know how little I knew. I may have had good intentions, but it’s pretty clear that I had no freakin’ clue.