I don’t know about the rest of you, but I like my humble pie served room temperature.
As argued here before, the Bobby Abreu trade was good…at least for Bobby...but it has made the question of how to protect Ryan Howard more difficult to solve. Several astute observers have suggested moving Chase Utley into the four hole and batting Howard third. While I momentarily agreed with them as recently as yesterday afternoon, I forthwith withdrawal my support. Howard needs someone like Abreu in front of him in order to even consider having Utley bat behind him. The Phils do not have sufficient players on their current roster to solve this problem. It remains to be seen whether they will address this issue in the off-season given the number of holes they have to fill overall, but it is a very big problem.
I could be considered a charter member of the Charlie-Manuel-is-doing-a-decent-job fan club. I am turning in my card effective immediately. Charlie isn’t doing a good job in those few instances per game where strategy and game management matter most. Charlie is a good guy who knows hitting (presumably) and creates a nice clubhouse atmosphere. That and $3.00 will get you a medium coffee at a ubiquitous coffee emporium.
I like Jimmy Rollins a lot and have argued his best position in the batting order remains lead-off. I am wrong. As commenter extraordinaire George S. has pointed out in some emails to me and others, Jimmy is a wonderful player who simply isn’t suited to bat lead-off for reasons we all know: he isn’t a patient enough hitter and he rarely drops down a bunt. George S. calls this type of player “uncoachable” by which he means unwilling or unable to alter his game for the betterment of himself if not the club. George is quick to point out this is not a question of bad attitude or lack of hustle; he, too, likes Jimmy. The problem is the Phils need a more prototypical lead-off man than Jimmy and years of waiting have largely been in vain. The good news is they may already have one or two players on the roster now in the persons of Michael Bourn if he can hit and Shane Victorino, who can do everything one expects of a lead-off man except for the all-important patience issue. Shane is definitely always up there taking his hacks. Whether one of the other is the answer will likely have to wait until next year.
This next one is a toughie. It’s no secret I am not a big Brett Myers fan. Some days, he can pitch extremely well; others, he comes up small when needed most. Since returning from his mini-exile, however, the huffing and puffing burly right-hander has pitched as effectively or better than every other starter on the team.. Reluctantly, I acknowledge the Phils should probably (see: still hedging even now) keep rather than trade him given the uncertainties in the rest of the rotation. I’ll just swallow my moral indignation for once and pretend baseball exists in a vacuum.
A month or so ago I argued that if the Phils wanted to re-sign David Dellucci they probably should have acted then, prior to the end of the season, before he became a free agent. My earlier enthusiasm was seriously premature. Since then, the formerly torrid-hitting outfielder with limited range and absolutely no arm has fallen back to earth at the plate, “hitting” at a clip far below his career batting average of .269 let alone the 335 clip of this late summer. In his defense, Dellucci has been banged up, but after watching him swing over the top of more inside breaking stuff than I can count, Dellucci’s return, at least as a starter or even platoon player, is no longer desirable.
Yes, I’ll have fries with that.