Tuesday, November 04, 2003

The Media Weigh In

Just as they did last year, the Phillies have managed to steal the local sports spotlight from the Eagles, Sixers, and Flyers -- no mean feat in a nonplayoff year. The Billy Wagner trade gets lots of play in today's Inquirer and Daily News, including the latter paper's back cover.

Besides the straight news stories (Inky here, DN here), the papers carry three columns and a couple of sidebars.

In the News, Sam Donnellon notes the deal reflects the impressive investment the Phils have made in their farm system and compares it to the kind of trade the Yankees and Braves typically make. He also reflects on previous complaints, Donnellon's included, that the Phillies have failed to compete in meaningful ways when it comes to targeting good player and paying them adequately. "Yesterday was another resounding in-your-face to such doubt," he writes.

Bill Conlin is a bit uneasy about parting with Taylor Buchholz, whom he holds in higher regard than untouchable prospect Gavin Floyd. Still, in his rambling piece, Conlin praises GM Ed Wade for being "aware of the new realities of baseball economics" and "well-positioned to operate in a bottom line-based environment in which most ballclubs desperately need to lop millions from their gluttonous payrolls."

In the Inquirer, Jim Salisbury interviews three anonymous scouts who confirm Wagner's elite status among National League closers. "Like the New York Yankees, Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers, the Phillies finally have a closer who will make other teams feel defeated when the bullpen door swings open," Salisbury writes. "Amazing. The Phillies went from not having a closer for the final two months of the 2003 season -- a flaw that might have cost them the National League wild card -- to having one of the best."


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