Wondering how hands-on Phillies owner John Middleton is?
Enough so that when Freddy Galvis failed to run out a pop-up that Jose Reyes dropped on Tuesday night, reaching first base instead of second, Middleton fired off an e-mail to his top two baseball men: team president Andy MacPhail and GM Matt Klentak.
"I was upset and I e-mailed Andy and Matt and I said, 'I'd like to understand what's happening here,'" Middleton said Thursday morning on 94 WIP's Morning Show.
The lack of hustle was a rare occurrence for Galvis, who was probably frustrated that he popped up and didn't expect the ball to veer so far back into fair territory.
"I thought Pete (Mackanin) did a really good job of explaining it," Middleton continued. "One time is one thing, two times is different, three times is different still. But I'm perfectly OK with where Pete came out on that."
There was a lot of talk about rebuilding timelines and Middleton's willingness to spend to put together a contending team when the time is right. These are comments he's made several times since stepping out as the face of ownership as the rebuild began.
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Here are some of the more interesting tidbits from Angelo Cataldi's interview with Middleton:
When did he know it was time to rebuild?
Middleton said he was ready to turn the page after the 2012 season, when the Phillies went 81-81. With Ryan Howard injured, Hunter Pence and Shane Victorino traded away and Roy Halladay on the decline, Middleton was realistic about the Phillies' inability to seriously contend.
His farewell to Howard
The famous story is that after the Phillies' 2009 World Series loss to the Yankees, Middleton said to Howard, "I want my (bleeping) trophy back."
It came up again on Howard's last afternoon as a Phillie.
"Ryan, I'm still ticked off we don't have our [bleeping] trophy back," Middleton said to him.
He pays attention to Fangraphs' minor-league rankings
"I don't know if you know this but Fangraphs has rated us on their KATOH system as tied with the Yankees for the most (minor-league) players with a grade of 40 or better," Middleton said on WIP.
(A grade of 40 means refers to a projectable major-league player -- a bench bat, middle reliever, spot starter.)
Middleton is pleased with that ranking and cited advice he was once given about building quantity in the farm system -- that if one of every three of your prospects pans out you're doing your job, and if one of every two does you're ahead of the curve.
On the comparison Jimmy Rollins made of him to George Steinbrenner
"I love the comparison. ... I'm as obsessed with winning as he was."
Does Middleton ever get impatient?
"As long as I'm track and on schedule -- and I think we are -- then I can be patient. But if I don't see that progress that's when I get impatient very quickly."
Where are the Phillies in their path back to contention?
"We're in Year 3 and I think we're on track. I like to think we're on the shorter end of that spectrum -- four or five years as opposed to six or seven."
On spending big
"Whatever we can't develop internally, you have to be able to trade and sign free agents. And we have the money to do it. Look, we had the number two, three, four payroll in baseball for like four years, maybe five. We're going to be there again. Philadelphia's a big market and we're going to operate it like it's a big market.
"The way we budget in our organization isn't that we create a financial budget and say to Matt and Andy and say, 'Here's your number, do the best you can.' We look at them and say, 'Your job is to tell us what's the best team that you can put on the field at this particular time given where we are in our cycle and where you want us to be a year or two or three from now. And then you tell us how much that's going to cost us.
"The only reason professional sports teams exist -- I shouldn't say the only reason, but the most important reason -- is to win. And if you're not aiming to win then you really don't belong owning a sports team in my opinion.
"I'm intent on winning. We're going to get that trophy back somehow or I'm going to die trying."