As the 2012 season continues, I am starting to think back to 2009 when many of us tossed everything off our desks and felt defeated after the Phillies acquired Roy Halladay.
Fast forward to them “stealing” Cliff Lee, and were pegged the best rotation ever by some.
Now, the Phillies are 29-33, sitting in last place in the NL East.
About a week ago, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said
“I thought we lost that edge quite a while ago, if you want to know the truth. We don’t scare nobody. I’ll tell you something, we used to have a swagger. We used to be kind of cocky in a real good way. And teams used to definitely fear us. I definitely don’t see that fear no more. I don’t see that. I’m sorry. No, I don’t see where we scare anybody. Nobody backs down from us. Matter of fact, they come right at us. They take it right to us.”
For me, that is as true of a statement as you’ll hear a Manager say regarding his own team.
When Pat Gillick left, many praised the job Ruben Amaro Jr. had done. I personally have never been a fan of Amaro Jr’s work. I believe he rode the coattails of Gillick and was left with the best possible situation a new GM could ask for. A championship team with the core in their prime.
Yet now, in Amaro’s 4th year, things aren’t looking so great.
For starters, their prized prospect Dom Brown who was supposed to replace Jayson Werth has flopped big time.
Their overall outlook down on the farm is bleak at best.
When you look at their salaries, they are spending $104 million in 2013 alone on 6 players (Lee, Halladay, Howard, Utley, Papelbon, and Rollins).
Plus Pence who I believe has 1 more year of arbitration after this year, but that will cost the Phillies at minimum $11million. There is $115million right there, with everybody but Pence in their 30’s.
Currently, 3 of those players sit on the DL with long lasting injuries, and frankly, time is running out for them to produce at a high “all-star” level.
Oh, by the way, their best young starting pitcher, you know the guy who was actually on the World Series rotation as the ace…yeah he’s a free agent this year.
I find it incredibly hard to believe that Cole Hamels will be in Philadelphia next year and not with a team like the LA Dodgers.
The Phillies in my view are approaching a need for a huge discussion about their future. Their chances for winning a championship are decreasing by the day, and the core of their team is getting old and fragile.
Will the Phillies even entertain the idea of trying to trade Cliff Lee for the sake of trying to keep Cole Hamels? Lee is the only high priced talent they have that has a limited no trade clause. Everybody else is pretty secure.
It’s easy to scoff at the idea, and frankly, I’m not sure who would take his contract except the Yankees. However, if you were the Phillies would you rather have Cole Hamels or Cliff Lee through 2016?
I’d take Hamels in a heartbeat myself. I’m not taking anything away from Lee as a pitcher, but Hamels is 5 years younger and is just as good.
I personally find this fascinating, because the Phillies were set up for what could have been a late 90’s Yankee style dynasty and right now it’s looking like everything they did to achieve that status has failed.
They have a good chunk of money coming off the books after this season with Joe Blanton, Shane Victorino, Placido Polanco (option), Ty Wigginton (option).
While that will free up some money, it will also leave them without a CF, 3B and another SP.
It’s been a very quiet year in Philadelphia. Yet another example of why giving a lot of money to 5 or 6 guys can come back to haunt you should you have any success in developing young talent.
It’s easy to open up your checkbook and clear the farm. However, if it doesn’t work, you can set your franchise back a few years.
Their greed with regards to Cliff Lee or Roy Halladay could have cost them 5+ more years of quality pitching from their own homegrown ace in Cole Hamels.
What was once thought to be the makings of a dynasty, may now go down as one of the biggest flops in recent memory.