Unfortunately this season did not go as expected. The expectations came from the last 5 years of division winning baseball, including a visit to the world series two years in a row. The problems began before the season even started. Howard was injured in the last at bat of the 2011 season. Utley showed up at spring training and said he was in pain and couldn’t play. During the season issues kept popping up. Halladay wasn’t quite himself then hit the DL. Cliff Lee was mostly a victim of run support, but also wasn’t his usual ace self. Galvis was suspended. Qualls and the bullpen overall was a bust. The list goes on and on. Nothing has gelled this team this season. If the starting pitching was good, the offense was lacking. If the hitting was good and the starting pitching was good the bullpen would blow the lead. This just isn’t our year.
So today Amaro started getting rid of some pieces. Last year we got Hunter Pence and this year we give Hunter Pence. It’s hard to say right now if what we get is equal or greater in value to what we gave up to get him a year ago, but I’m behind it. I do know that we got Schierholtz and I’m happy about that. I think it’s a good pick-up, or at least an equal one. I think as an every day player he’ll prove himself to be worth the trade in himself. I liked Pence, but I’m not too sorry to see him go. I’m kind of glad in a way, because it means they’ll (hopefully) stop showing his terrible commercials. Victorino’s too. Neither of them can act and Shane can hardly open his mouth. Speaking of Shane…
Amaro also traded Shane Victorino. We got some bullpen arms for him and that hopefully, with some work this season and in spring training, will prove to fortify the pig pen a bit. The Shane trade hurts a bit. I’m behind it, but it does have a bit of a sting to it. Shane was here for our big run. Five straight division titles, 2 back to back NL Pennants, 2 back to back world series visits and a world series win in 2008. The thing is that since then we’ve been trending back ward. Getting to the series and winning, getting to the series and losing, getting to the NLCS and losing, getting to the NLDS and losing and (most likely) not making the playoffs at all. So we need to make some changes.
It’s far from the “fire sale” that they keep talking about on ESPN and MLB Network. This wasn’t a fire sale. I thought Ruben was cool and calculated with what he did. If it was a fire sale we’d have cleaned house, which we did not. Blanton would be in Baltimore. Lee would be in Texas. We did none of that. We are bettering our team for next year. I don’t think we’re done yet either. We have lots of money coming off the books after this year (and before) with Pence, Victorino and Blanton alone. That will free up some good change to make a run at some free agents to rebuild. I could be hated for saying this, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Chase Utley traded. I mean come on, every year he plays less games. His knees aren’t going to heal. That’s just how it is. So why not trade him to an AL team in the off season? We’d likely need to throw in some cash, because he’s due to collect about $15 million before entering free agency in 2014 (I think, ha). It would of course depend on how he hits the rest of this season. It would be good for him. He can focus on hitting and continue to play the game he loves and we could probably get some good pieces for him. Also, it’s down the line, but the Phils have a huge TV contract that will billions to the bottom line for the team allowing us to spend even more to stay competitive. Fire sale? Nope. What Ruben did by getting rid of the pieces he did, combined with re-signing Hamels, was show this fan base that the Phillies will bounce back. And Cole signing knows that’s exactly what will happen.
Domonic Brown will be making his yearly big league appearance and hopefully he’ll show us something this time around. Show he’s ready to play at this level. If so, we’ll likely see him start in left or center. We’ll probably see some other promotions/demotions as the season progresses. I’d just like to see the team have some fun. Maybe become spoilers for some teams chances. Make this a pre-spring training and work on some stuff. With that said, although it’s pretty much impossible, I still hold out hope that this team will somehow sneak into the playoffs as the proven choke artists in our division do exactly that. Unlikely, but one can hope. If anything, let’s aim to get above .500 for a winning season. Just that would be an accomplishment this year.
Some other things I’d like to see happen is for Howard, Utley and Halladay to be given extra rest. If not pull Halladay all together or maybe do something weird like put him in the pen for the remainder of the season. I’d keep Chooch going, because I’d like to see where his numbers end up. Also, I think he’s up for an option next season. Pick that up and resign him with a much deserved significant increase. The last three seasons he’s made something like $9 million. I don’t see him pulling in Mauer numbers (8 years, $184 million), but a 4 year $50+ deal I can see. I’d also like to see Jamie Moyer brought back. I know he’s beyond old for baseball, but he’s still better than some other things we’ve had this season. If anything, having him in the pig pen would be great for our starters and certainly our relievers. Ruben could also hire him as a coach. I’d be fine ditching Dubee. And what of Charlie? I don’t see him going anywhere either, but part of me would like to see him let go. I like him I just don’t think he’s that great of a manager. Though if he goes, my Charlie impression that I worked so hard on would be worthless. This could be talk for 2 months from now though.
If you had told me at the start of the season the Phils would not only not make the post-season, but possibly end with losses close to our total wins most seasons in recent years, I’d have laughed at you. Maybe even slap you in the face, spit on you and thrown you out of my car. That’s a joke. I don’t have a car. The point is the Phillies will most certainly rebound from this shit season. We will right back atop the NL east next year and this season will be a bad memory.
PHILLIES 2013 Baby!