Under whelmed. That’s the only way to put it regarding the recent signings by the Phils. Has-beens . Never-weres. Guys who skipped town, even country, to rediscover whatever it was they lost if, indeed, they ever had it. Guys whose stat sheets pale when compared to their medical records. And all the while the Phils have failed to address their most critical need: the bullpen. We can argue into the wee hours whether they have enough starting pitching (talk about a few wings and a prayer) and offense, but if the Phils go into the later innings and can’t hold leads, a distinct possibility, they are in big trouble.
* * * * * * *
With Shane Victorino, Aaron Rowand and Pat Burrell in the outfield the Phillies have a decent chance to see all three starters go down to injuries, the first two because they play all out all the time and the third because his wrist and foot could betray him at any moment.
With “The Catch” burned indelibly into their psyches, fans tend to forget how many times Victorino also threw himself into walls and turf only to get up slowly. He plays every bit as hard as Rowand with more luck on his side thus far, but his style doesn’t lend itself to longevity or an injury-free campaign.
One thing I don’t look forward to seeing in 2007 is Rowand, Victorino and Utley converging on a shallow pop fly.
* * * * * * *
As a follow up to my lack of enthusiasm for the fellows filling out roster spots on the 2007 Phillies, has anyone ever considered how much of a drop-off there is between the starting nine of most clubs and their benches? Does this same disparity occur in the other major sports? There sure seem to be a lot more flotsam and jetsam in major league baseball than ever before. Jeez, even Randall Simon is being given another shot at making the roster.
* * * * * * *The next time I complain about salaries in baseball (and those of you who follow this space closely know that will be any moment), remind me that things could be worse: the Phillies can consider themselves fortunate they were never stuck with Chris Webber or, for that matter, Billy King. The Sixers have finally admitted what everyone else knew two years ago when King acquired the decrepit veteran forward in the first place: he's done. They have bought out his contract and will place Webber on waivers this AM. I love the quotes attributed to King that Webber no longer fits in the Sixers' plans. One week into 2007 and the overmatched GM has already uttered the understatement of the year.
The whole deal is beyond my expertise or interest other than to note as Phil Jasner wrote in today's Daily News, [Webber's salary is] currently listed on the salary cap at $20,718,750 this season and $22,312,500 next season, [but]those figures will be amended to reflect any reduction, with the total reduction spread over the two seasons.
Twenty-plus million per season for a guy who was shot. That's worth bitching about.