For the past several years, the Phillies have been in the top tier of baseball. Unfortunately, big-money contracts and an “all-in” mentality has set them back quite a bit. After missing the playoffs the past two seasons, the Phils are looking to bounce back this year. Many Philadelphians are coming into the 2014 season with very little expectations out of this ball club, and I can’t blame them. To say this team is over-the-hill is an understatement; in baseball years, this team is close to the edge. Even though there’s a good group of young players on this team, the core players are primarily past their prime. Out of the 58 players invited to Spring Training, 12 of them are at least 33 years old. (I was generous to the club in my research as I could have used a 30 or over statistic.)
With Pitchers and catchers reporting to Spring Training in just 20 days (24 days for full squad) this is usually an exciting time of year, but the excitement for this Phillies team seems hard to come by around the Delaware Valley. A natural reaction when the GM brings back John Mayberry Jr. and signs former Phillie Bobby Abreu. Ruben Amaro Jr. calls it smart money, I call it dumb money. Instead of signing Marlon Byrd for $8million, give Darin Ruf a chance to prove himself and bring in a guy who can replace Ruf in defensive situations. Then use the $8mill of ‘Byrd money’ to sure up the pitching staff.
Instead of being conservative, get creative.
When an organization misses the postseason two straight years, then resigns the majority of the same players, how can they expect to win? The entire team is filled with question marks just like they were last year: Can Dom Brown stay consistent? Can Utley stay healthy? Can Adams stay healthy? Can Rollins stay healthy and remember how to hit while he’s at it? Can Asche hold his own in the Majors? Can Alfredo-Gonzalez compete at this level? Can Fausto Carmona (Roberto Hernandez) rejuvenate his career with a new name? Can Kendrick survive without Doc? Can Bastardo throw hard without juice? Can Bobby Abreu run into a wall? Can Papelbon find leadership in the clubhouse? Can Ryan Howard bounce back? Wait.. wasn’t he supposed to bounce back last year?
This is my point. Ruben, you’re doing it wrong.
We thank the Phillies for delivering a championship back to our city; however, we cannot sit here and live in the past. The 2008 team will forever hold a spot in our hearts; we’re just praying the 2014 team can somehow get us through Summer.
Sincerely, with Love,