``Curt has a right to express his opinions,'' Wade said in the statement. ``But that's all they are. Much of what Curt says is irresponsible and his comments often are not based upon facts.
``Every fifth day, Curt has the opportunity to go out and be a horse on the mound. Unfortunately, on the other four days, he tends to say things which are detrimental to the club and clearly self-serving.''
Schilling's latest round of criticism began on Major League Baseball's weekly conference call Wednesday. In that forum, Schilling rapped ownership for being cheap and not having a commitment to winning. He talked about the possibility of being traded to a team that is committed to winning. He mentioned that the Phillies were playing well, but they needed to add a ``big player'' if they were going to seriously contend for a postseason berth.
Later, in an interview with several reporters at Olympic Stadium in Montreal, Schilling said he wouldn't want to stay with the team if it wasn't willing to upgrade at midseason. He added that ``if ownership is not willing to make a trade or spend in July, they need to sell the team and give Philadelphia fans what they deserve.''
Here's a synopsis of Wade's rebuttal:
On Schilling's remarks on the conference call: ``Curt had a chance to promote his own performance and that of his teammates. He had a chance to talk about Mike Lieberthal, Scott Rolen, Doug Glanville, Paul Byrd and others. . . . But the positives that he could have gotten out of that forum were negated by his comments about areas in which he is uninformed. It's unfortunate that he chose to use the spotlight and do something other than put his best foot forward.''
On upgrading the pitching between now and July: ``We've been trying to upgrade our rotation since the end of last season and will continue to try. We haven't turned down any trade for starting pitchers because of dollars. We've asked about every pitcher who Curt mentioned and quite a few who he hasn't mentioned. Trading for starting pitching is difficult, not because of dollars, but because there aren't very many available, and the talent that the other club is looking for is either too significant to give up, or you just don't have the right match. There is not a club in baseball that has been more active than the Phillies in its pursuit of starting pitching. . . . If we don't make a deal, it won't be due to lack of dollars or lack of trying.''
On Randy Johnson: ``Randy Johnson got traded from Seattle to Houston and helped the Astros win a division title. He was a hero in Houston and the Astros made a huge contract offer to try to keep him. But Johnson chose to sign with his hometown team, the Arizona Diamondbacks. Where does Curt think the Phillies would have been in that pursuit, coming off a 75-win season? It is unrealistic to think that Randy Johnson would have come here over Arizona, Houston or some of the other clubs that were pursuing him.''
On Schilling being traded: ``We've said we want to build around Curt, and we do. At the same time, Curt does not have a `trade-me' clause. He has a `no-trade' clause, which means he can refuse to be traded to any team. If we ever decide we want to trade Curt, he'll have his say. But Curt does not have the total say in this. If we decide a trade is in the Phillies' best interests it would have to be to the club of our choosing, the club that could give us the players we desire. And if Curt were to limit our ability to get to the right club, either by not wanting to go to that club or by making contract-extension demands which killed the club's interest in him, there is no way we would make the deal.
``In April 1997, we signed Curt to a three-year contract with a fourth-year club option. It was a marketplace deal at the time. It included the no-trade clause at Curt's insistence because of his desire to remain a Phillie. The organization treated Curt very well in that contract and in the contracts that he signed leading up to the multi-year deal, a few of which he signed when his health was in question. I think all of that is important to note.''
On commitment to improving: ``Of the 25 players who were with us at the end of 1997, only seven remain: Curt, Wayne Gomes, Mike Lieberthal, Rico Brogna, Kevin Jordan, Scott Rolen and Kevin Sefcik. Eighteen of the 25 players on this club have been added since, including starters Marlon Anderson, Desi Relaford, Ron Gant, Doug Glanville and Bobby Abreu. Nine of our 11 pitchers weren't with us. The point is, we have improved. One of the reasons that Curt wants us to go out and get someone is that we have come pretty far, pretty quickly. But it's wrong to say that we have not been committed to improving the team.
``Earlier this month, Curt was quoted as saying, `It's up to ownership to get good players.' What message does that comment send to his teammates, the guys he shares the clubhouse with and the guys who play behind him?''
On the Forbes magazine dispute (The magazine says the Phils made a $4.5 million profit in 1998; ownership says it lost money. Schilling said he believes the magazine.): ``I've been in all of our ownership group's meetings since December 1997 and I've seen the bottom line and the team has lost significant dollars. I was also in a meeting in Chicago last fall when the commissioner listed each team's profits and losses and it was amazing to see how poorly many clubs are doing. Unless all of these meetings were conducted as a charade to fool me - and I don't think I hold that status in the game - then Forbes and Curt are both wrong in their assessments.''
Wade was in Moosic, Pa., last night for the Phillies' exhibition against the triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons.
Reached at the stadium, he said he wasn't necessarily planning on speaking to Schilling. He added that his remarks weren't made out of anger.
``I just felt some issues needed to be rebutted and the record needed to be made accurate,'' Wade said.