The Phillies are coming, the Phillies are coming…
Just read a decent post from Jeff Bradley on the Star-Ledger who thinks that the Mets should use the Phillies as a model of what type of franchise we want to be.
Since the end of the 2006 season, the Phillies have gone 402-296, won four consecutive NL East titles, made two trips to the World Series and captured one title. The Mets, meanwhile, have gone 349-348 and suffered two of the worst collapses in Major League history.
Still, rather than throw their hands up in the air, the Mets should take a long, hard look at how the Phillies have risen in the past five years to become one of baseball’s best franchises. First thing to notice is that it did not happen overnight, and it did not happen without the front office making a number of difficult decisions, including some bad ones.
Alderson may have to trade Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran, and he may have to settle for less than perfect deals to begin the process of rebuilding this team. He and assistant J.P. Ricciardi will have to make tough decisions on players like David Wright and Ike Davis, and determine if they are players they can build around as they scour for hidden gems. That’s the way Gillick and Co. did it when they took over before the 2006 season.
Hey, I would have no problem at all if we charted a course that will give us over 400 wins in four seasons – no problem at all. And if trading some players who we’ve all become attached to is what it will ultimately take, then so be it.
When the Phillies decided to rebuild the team, they did so by trading two tremendous offensive talents in Jim Thome and Bobby Abreu. They took a long hard look at their farm system and decided which players were worth waiting for and building the team around, and which ones should be moved to upgrade other areas of the team.
They were not afraid to dabble in the free agent market, but shopped in the bargain bins of the market where they found outfielder Jayson Werth – who they didn’t have to pay a premium price for.
They picked up a key player in the Rule 5 Draft who we all know as the Flyin’ Hawaiian – Shane Victorino.
Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins comprised their homegrown core, but they continued to focus on the draft and fill their farm with quality prospects that enabled them to trade for Cliff Lee and then Roy Halladay.
Nobody could argue that the Phillies haven’t done it right. They transformed themselves into an elite franchise by focusing on scouting and having solid drafts, developing their prospects into solid major leaguers, making several good trades, finding gold in the Rule 5 draft, and of course filling in key voids through free agency.
There’s nothing wrong with that.