Youth will be served but with a side of age.
Ever since the Phillies defied logic if not expectation and went on a tear following the trade deadline sell-off, most of us have looked to the youth movement as the key to the future, immediate and beyond.
Pat Gillick was as stunned by the sudden turn-around as the rest of us and instantly converted to a buyer, signing one aging veteran after another and telling everyone within earshot these ancient mariners, literally and figuratively, would be a steady influence on the field and in the clubhouse. It’s baseball cliché #6 in action: there is no substitute for experience, especially of the post-season variety. Frankly, I’d opt for a younger guy hitting .300 if given the choice.
The alleged brain trust can bring in all the gray beards and wise old heads it wants, but Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Cole Hamels, Brett Myers and Shane Victorino remain the key players on this ball club and the Phillies will go as far as this sextet of twenty-somethings takes them.
Jamie Moyer is a nice addition but at age 43 should engender few expectations at this point in his long journey. Jeff Conine is another solid veteran but at age 40 his best days are behind him as well. Likewise, Jose Hernandez is in the twilight of a career that has seen him hit .253 over 14 seasons. As Assistant GM Ruben Amara Jr. likes to say, the latter two are “professional hitters”. That’s a relief. This sure ain’t the time for amateurs.