Remind me again what Plan C is.
The Chicago Cubs have snatched Alfonso Soriano from the beckoning arms of Pat Gillick and if the Phillies’ GM has any sense and decorum he should send the Cubbies his congratulations and heartfelt thanks.
Eight years and $136 million!!?? Precisely the kind of contract the Phillies should be avoiding. Frankly, precisely the kind of contract any team should be avoiding, but that is another story. Eight years and $136 million!!?? That’s essentially a no-trade contract. Who’s going to take on Soriano’s $17 million per year if things go sour in, say, year four or five let alone six or seven? Well, we don’t have to worry about that outcome any longer.
MLB’s haves are flush with cash and many of them are spending it like sailors on shore leave.
The Phils still have a lot of problems to address, particularly protection for Ryan Howard (sorry, Wes, but you ain’t the man) and pitching, both starting and relief. There are still a number of options out there via trades but the Phillies don’t have many bargaining chips other than Aaron Rowand. They are unlikely to move Ryan Madson given their own shortcomings in the pen and they will no longer get anything for Gavin Floyd. Who else can they offer? The other worrisome prospect is that the Phils will overspend the money they just saved to re-sign Randy Wolf. While I am a fan of Wolf the battler and athlete, I am not a big fan of Wolf the junk ball-throwing hurler. My guess is he is looking for at least a three-year deal at $5 – 7 million per. That’s too much for a veteran guy who has never shown me he knows how to pitch.
At this point the Phillies don’t need to save salary by dumping Pat Burrell for .50 on the dollar or less. I’d rather see Pat bailing out on pitches over the inside corner of the plate and taking other ones right down Broadway than have the Phils unload him for next to nothing. As much as he infuriates us, Burrell’s bat is due for a decent season if his on-again-off-again pattern holds true. It would be nice is someone, perhaps Pat himself, let us and his current team in on the status of his feet. That wouldn’t be asking too much, even from a guy who is far from loquacious.
Inquirer columnist Jim Salisbury raises an interesting question in his piece today. He wonders when the Phillies might ask Jimmy Rollins to move to third base and open up shortstop for someone the likes of Miguel Tejada, perennially unhappy playing for the sad-sack Orioles. This may be the only bad idea Jim has ever come up with, publicly. Jimmy is too valuable up the middle, where Utley is steady but hardly spectacular. Moreover, having just signed Wes Helms, it would seem that this discussion’s time has passed. Finally, by all accounts Tejada, never a spectacular glove man, has lost more than a step or two in the field. Back to the drawing board on this one.
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Ryan Howard finds out today whether or not he sweeps the post-season awards when the Baseball Writers Association of America announces its NL MVP. The bet here is Albert Pujols nudges Howard for the award. It would be hard to vote against Pujols whose home run and rbi totals might very well have exceeded those of the Howard had he not lost time to injury. In every other respect, Pujols’ credentials equal or surpass those of Howard including as Erik Grissom among others would point out, his fielding.
But there is one factor that weighs more heavily in Howard’s favor and a lot of the voters, being human, will have a difficult time ignoring it. No one, not even King Albert, captured the imagination of the nation as much as Howard did. Not a single baseball fan wanted to be caught getting a cold one from the fridge when Howard came up to bat during his tremendous run. In that respect, Howard was more than the NL MVP; for a long stretch of time he was MLB’s MVP. Albert can't say that. Nor can the voters whatever their ballots may say.