Tuesday, September 28, 2004


The six remaining games should not distract the Phillies from the enormous tasks that lie ahead. They go into the off-season with so many holes to fill the only sensible approach is radical reconstructive surgery. So, fasten your seatbelts and put up the side railings. In no particular order they should:

1. Buy out David Bell’s contract or trade him and hand the starting third base job to Placido Polanco. (I thought I would start off with the most outrageous suggestion. I like Bell but worry about his health and his fielding.)
2. Install Chase Utley at second base. (Sounds like I’m remodeling, eh?)
3. Re-sign Eric Milton. (Fourteen wins on this staff is hard to ignore. Very hard.)
4. Hold on to Mike Lieberthal. (Do they have an alternative?)
5. Hold on to Ryan Howard and at least experiment with him in the outfield. (I know he is going to come back to haunt us if they trade him. Plus, I love the way this guys fields let alone hits!!!)
6. Re-sign Cory Lidle. (Yes, I know, I haven’t been particularly kind to him in this blog.)
7. Say a fond farewell to Doug Glanville. (A very decent man who can no longer hit major league pitching.)
8. Say a less than fond farewell to Shawn Wooten (provided they can locate him).
9. Unceremoniously dump Roberto Hernandez. (Don’t forward his mail, either.)
10. Say goodbye to Doug Jones. (Get him a companion fare with Hernandez.)
11. Re-sign Rheal Cormier if the price is right. (He’s a citizen now, so we can also collect taxes from him.)
12. Increase their insurance coverage on Billy Wagner’s contract. (I am not convinced his arm is back to full strength.)
13. Sign Jimmy Rollins to a long-term deal. (His loss would be catastrophic.)
14. Reluctantly hold on to Marlon Byrd. (He wouldn’t fetch much on the open market anyway.)
15. Keep Tomas Perez. (Who else is going to throw shaving cream pies?)
16. Don’t even speak to Kevin Millwood or his agent as soon as the last out is recorded on October 2. (He doesn’t like us either.)
17. Prohibit Vicente Padilla from picking up a baseball during the off-season. (And prevent him from spending any leisure time with his friends in Nicaragua.)
18. Enroll Brett Myers in anger-management training. (Or tell him Joe Kerrigan won’t be back, whichever comes first.)
19. Test the market value of Pat Burrell. (And if it surprises to the upside, move him quickly.)
20. Don’t push Gavin Floyd too hard. (He can do his best Ryan Madsen imitation next year.)
21. Keep Madsen in the bullpen in middle and long relief. (He doesn’t strike me a starter.)
22. Give Jim Thome a few days more off every now and then. (He seemed to wear down this season though it could just be the nagging small injuries that got to him.)
23. Urge Bobby Abreu to spend a little more time working on his defense. (This isn’t going to happen, but it is the one area of his game that could stand the work.)
24. Give Jason Michaels a nice raise. (He is one of the few who deserves one.)
25. Fire Larry Bowa. (He wasn’t dealt the best hand this season in terms of injuries, but he isn’t likely to be dealt a much better one next year and everyone is tired of his act.)
26. Fire Joe Kerrigan. (His theory on holding base-runners is sufficient grounds.)
27. Fire Ed Wade. (We can dream, can’t we?)
28. Move the fences back at Citizens Bank Park. (We can REALLY dream, can’t we?)

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