by: Rodney Copperbottom
Roughly 12 Issue 1 - Jayson Burdwell
Welcome to a new article series where we go on a journey around the league asking General Managers and players roughly twelve questions. Our first guest is Jayson Burdwell, GM of the Philadelphia Phillies(9-5) who are currently leading a close race for the division title in the NL East.
For those of you who may not know him, Jay has been the Phillies' GM for all three seasons of M.L.R. His accomplishments total 25 wins, highest all time, One Division title and Two Paper Cup victories. With so much experience and knowledge, I wanted to pick his brain and this is what he had to say.
1) It's your 3rd year of being a GM, you're a 2 time Paper Cup champ, were there any surprises this season for you compared to any others?
A: Hildebrandt struggling, probably. I haven't used him as much as I should have. He is a swell guy, was really lights out his whole career, I take partial blame for this season. But yeah, it would probably be that he hasn't been lights out.
2) When it came to adjusting, was it just use other pitchers? Or were there attempts to fix it during bullpen sessions?
A: Well, he hasn't entirely bounced back and I don't want to get too far into my methods. We make sure to really take his appearances out by out, though, and try to work on it with him. He had a clean inning his last game, and I was really happy for him. As I said, he is a really swell guy, I don't like to see him struggle.(frowns)
3) At the start of the season, were there any other goals besides 3 in a row?
A: We just need to keep improving, keep active and excited and dedicated to the team. That's the goal, that's always my goal. If people aren't active, if people aren't talking, I shake things up. Everyone needs to love this team and work for it and that's all I can ask for and control as a general manager. Also, keep up with the league. It keeps improving on all fronts, in stats and team activity and the amount of teams. So we need to keep our head above the water.
4) So looking back. What game this season was the hardest for the Phillies and what made it stand out over the others?
A: The Cubs game, a hundred percent the Cubs game. We were up 5-0, and we lost 6-5. It was a punch in the gut, and we lost another game the next session. I thought we were fucked, but I flipped the roster on its head, we got invigorated, and we are in a good spot again. But that Cubs game was really hard.
5) So with that in mind, would you say the Cubs are your hardest opponent on the way to the Paper Cup? Or is there another team in the NL that you think is tougher?
A: I don't think the Cubs are particularly too good, it was just a really poor game for us. I'm mostly scared of American League teams if we get there. The Tigers and the Royals are really tough squads, if one of them doesn't get the pennant over there I'll be surprised. I suppose the Rockies and the Giants are pretty scary NL contemporaries, but we've beaten them both this season so I am confident in my squad. Gotta get there first, of course, it's a close and exciting NL East race.
6) Considering how close the NL East is and how close the Phillies were from elimination last season, for this offseason, is there any specific focus on the type of players you want (re-sign,long vet fa, 1st season vets, etc.)?
A: As the league trucks on, we get more and more insight on who these consistently great hitters are. I would love to pick up a Fernando Cruz or a G.H. Morello, someone who can be a consistent bat. I've heard Tim Burr is planning on revitalizing his career, and I don't care if my pitcher situation is flooded, I would be all over that. Though he is likely going to Arizona, which has impressively morphed itself as a hotbed for returning Twins to somehow reform the team they dismantled in a white hot fit to try to destroy the league. But I digress(smiles). It's hard to go for first-season vets. If they are good and still on their current team, I don't see them leaving it. Guys like Mylo and Morris are in their teams for life. To be honest, I don't even know if I'll be sticking around for next season, depends on the circumstances.
7) Wow, that's kind of a shock, are you considering hanging up the mantle altogether, or do you see yourself occupying another role? What are the biggest factors helping you decide?
A: Maybe going into a player role, not sure. I've always been a GM first kind of person, I've not been very interested in playing and I don't ever play myself in MLR. I don't think I have a PA in MLR history, though that may be wrong. There has been a lot of talk of decreasing roster size, which would probably see most of my interactivity with the game gone in the offseason. Which, fair enough, I wouldn't hold any spite if that's what people want to do. It wouldn't be a move of hatred or anger, but if I don't have anything to do that's probably my call to step down. If we implemented something like contracts or anything really to increase the range of jobs and duties the GM can fulfill, that would definitely be a deciding factor.
8) There has also been talk of expansion. What would you consider to be the most difficult task of being a GM?
A: Rebuilding a team that has handed to you broken. I have never been in that position, but plenty have and it often doesn't work out. It's really hard to make something out of nothing. GMs like Pete Jones and JP Panik who were able to do it are very good at what they do. Truth be told, I would love the challenge. I tried to duel-GM the Seattle Mariners alongside the Phillies before they were dismantled.Probably not a good answer to expansion but that's what springs to mind. For expansion GMs, it's that draft. Makes or breaks your entire future.
9) Along that line. Any advice for potential new gms out there?
A: Activity is the single most important thing in this game. Choose activity over stats. Get a good scout and past stats are absolutely meaningless. Also, never trade with me because I always win. Also, make your team the Tampa Bay Rays if you're an expansion GM.
10) On always winning,there are some that don't want to see another Paper Cup going to the phillies. Care to make a case for why fans should root for the Phillies?
A: Eeh, not really. We're gonna be hated and I kind of like that, it makes me feel successful. If you need a reason, Mogi is a delightful human being and Charlie Bae Jr. is just a nice boy. Actually, all my team are just really nice people, so I guess you can cheer for that.
11) I plan to do this interview series with more GMs, do you have a specific question you'd like me to ask for my next guests?
A: Why do you deserve Manager of the Year would be a good one.
12) Lastly, is there anything you would like to say to the readers?
A: If we get into the playoffs, I've got something I'm looking to fund and create for the occasion, so maybe it wouldn't be so bad to let us into the first round, at least. :)
With the season winding down, and so much left to play for, it is clear that the Phillies are in good hands with Jayson Burdwell steering the ship. Only time will tell if the Phillies can pull off the threepeat and if Jay will remain at the helm. But one thing is for certain, that it will be exciting to behold.
Rodney Copperbottom is a reporter working for the people. If you have any topics you want discussed or who you want to see next. Feel free to contact on discord.