Saturday, November 22, 2008

Golson Gone

The Greg Golson era is over in Philly before it got started.

Former 1st round pick was the lightning rod for stathead criticism of the Phillies' system in recent years. He seemed like the second coming of Jeff Jackson, an incredible athlete who hadn't really figured out that whole "baseball" part of the "baseball player" equation. Even this last year, when it looked like he was putting it together, there were still lots of unbelievers. Quoth Keith Law:
Greg Golson can crush a high fastball, but his recognition of anything else is poor. He's such a good athlete that, given his limited feel for the game, he looks like he should be playing another sport professionally but showed up at the wrong stadium.
13 homers, yes. 23 steals, yes. Amazing speed and defense, fine. But 130 strikeouts...yikes.

And now it doesn't matter. He's gone to Texas for someone else's first round "meh", John Mayberry Jr. Mayberry's got less speed, but more power, and with Pat Burrell on his way out the door, there's a need for that. It feels like a reasonable trade, but it's always sad when a team gives up on a #1 pick. That's blowing out the candle on years of wishcasting, a tacit admission that they got it wrong, and that this kid whom we've been asked to get excited about for years will never make those hopes come true.

Of course, this isn't the end of the line for Golson. He's going to an organization in much more flux, in an insanely favorable hitting environment, and with a definite need for his skills. He may yet go all Josh Hamilton on the league, or he may simply learn enough to be a useful player, or he may end up doing not much of anything. That part of the story hasn't been written yet. But the first chapter is done, and by its very nature, is ever so slightly bittersweet to those of the fannish persuasion.
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