Monday, July 29, 2013

Time To Make Some Changes

We no longer need to wait for the Phillies' alleged brain trust to decide if they are buyers or sellers at the looming July trade deadline.  The players on the field have made the decision for them.

The Phils burst out of the blocks following the All Star break with a resounding triumph in their first of nine games on a three city road trip.  From that point on they found every conceivable way to stumble and bumble into one defeat after another.  Mostly lousy pitching.  Terrible defense.  No hitting.  Injuries.  A 1-8 record leaving them hopelessly below .500 for the year.

So, whether or not they admit it, the alleged brain trust is looking into a deep chasm that promises to revive those many years of mediocrity that preceded the Golden Years just past.

Managers will be fired.  Players will be traded.  Some fabulously rich and under-performing players will present a continuous drag on team finances.  Oh, and the Phillies, long absent from the international scene, signed a Cuban pitcher for $48 million and scouts are seriously divided on his value.  Translation:  the alleged brain trust finally takes the plunge and they fork over a boatload of money to a 26-year old defector currently pitching in the Mexican League.

Did we mention that the closer they signed two seasons ago for the ridiculous and ridiculed sum of $52 million says he wants out of here?

And finally, did we mention the GM, who inherited a very good team and decimated its farm system and coffers (seriously though, let's not really feel sorry for ownership) in a desperate attempt to win one more time, should be the first official firing of the post-season?

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

"I am Shocked To Learn There Is Gambling Going On Here!" (Claude Rains in "Casablanca")

Perhaps Ryan Braun should have kept his mouth closed all along.  From the Commissioner to the players to the media covering the game, baseball and its minions have always tolerated cheaters...provided they don't protest too much.

How do I know this?  Barry Bonds, the fellow who concluded one season late September resembling Olyve Oil and returned for sprint training the following season looking like Popeye.  His performance was enhanced and everyone just stood their in awe and belief.  At least publicly.

Yes, indeed, just don't protest too much.  Mark McGwire and Raphael Palmeiro could have told you all about that, Ryan.  Don't wag your finger or hold up your right hand.

Ryan Braun denied he was a cheater for nearly two years before finally capitulating yesterday and saying, yes, he deserved to be suspended for the rest of the 2013 season and post-season.  Now the holier-than-thous are all over him.  Did you expect anything else? Is Braun the only player to seek an edge from a bottle, syringe or ointment in the last few years?  If you believe that, I have a bridge....

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Begin To Rebuild

Much time has passed since my last post.  During this hiatus the Phils have lost two important starting position players and crept above .500 into second place in the generally mediocre NL East.

An item on ESPN's web site caught my attention the other day:  a listing of the top 50 MLB prospects.  Now, we all know these lists and four dollars will buy you a large coffee (or whatever they call them) at Starbucks (if you have high standards about lists and low standards about coffee), but it is worth noting only one Phillies' prospect, pitcher Jesse Biddle, makes the list.  The Phils have other promising prospects but the reality is they traded away most of the best ones to try and win it all the last two years.

The Phillies have to begin rebuilding.  Any foolish notions of post-season success this year must be abandoned.  GM Ruben Amaro and the rest of the Phils' alleged brain trust don't seem so inclined.  They think the team can catch the Braves for the NL East crown or at least secure a Wild Card spot.

The Phils have plenty of players on their 25-man roster who would bring good returns.  Now is the time to cash in on these players.  Some, such as Chase Utley, won't be re-signed here.  Others, such as Michael Young, play positions at which the Phils do have good prospects on the way up.  Still others like Jonathan Papelbon and Cliff Lee can bring much needed help down the road.

The alternative to selling is to stand pat or, worse, buy at the trade deadline.  Doing so will ultimately prolong the Phils' years in the wilderness.