So the Phillies are keeping the band together. What’s wrong with that?

Revisionist history says the Phillies made terrible decisions in giving all these longterm commitments to Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, etc.

This is just silly. What were they supposed to do with these guys? Walk away from them? Allow Ryan Howard to leave via free agency?

This group of players has transformed the Phillies from a losing franchise to one of the best in baseball. Between 1984 and 2006, the Phillies went to the postseason one time.

And then this group arrived and took them to the playoffs five years in a row, won the National League pennant twice and won the World Series in 2008.

Along the way, the franchise became monstrously successful. Citizens Bank Park opened in 2004, and 3 million became the norm. The Phillies led the NL in attendance three straight years.

So what did the Phillies do? They made a commitment to keeping the band together as long as possible. In a perfect world, their farm system would be supplying a pipeline of talent, but that’s another story.

With an older roster, Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. has done whatever he can to patch together one more run. That’s why Marlon Byrd makes sense. That’s also why Carlos Ruiz makes sense.

Yes, he may have overpaid for both players. If he stood around and waited for the market to settle, he probably could have found bargains in January or February.

But he was comfortable with Byrd and Ruiz. He thought they fit into his clubhouse. The Phillies did get younger last year as Domonic Brown made the National League All-Star team and Cody Asche and Freddy Galvis contributed.

But they’re built around Howard, Utley, Rollins, Hamel, Cliff Lee, etc. They’re going to go as far as those guys take them. If they’re all still productive, the Phillies have a chance to be a factor in a division in which the Nationals and Braves appear to be a cut above every other team.

To second guess Amaro is great fun. It’s part of the deal. Having spent his life in this game, he understands how it works.

He’s believed to be in the last year of his contract, so he probably feels some pressure to get the Phillies back on track. Now he has his manager, Ryne Sandberg, in place, and is getting closer to having a roster he believes in.

Again, it comes down to those familiar names being what they once more. In the end, that’s what matters, and it’s those guys who’ll either decide whether the Byrd and Ruiz signings pay off.

5 Comments

What’s wrong with your reasoning is that this is still a 3rd place team. If you can’t win it all, rebuild and don’t overspend for players passed their prime. If there is more to Amaro’s plan, I’d like to see it; namely David Price. But the pitching is still far from the standard needed to excel unless the old guard have years like 2007 through 2009.

St. Louis Cardinals let Albert Pujols walk in FA because they knew he was going to be too expensive and wasn’t going to be worth the money. We’re talking about one of the historic franchies in the game letting a guy walk who was their most iconic player since Musial.

What were the Phillies supposed to do? Uh, how about win? Do the smart thing as a frachise? Name one smart contract they’ve signed in the last 5 years. You can keep one high paid vet for sentimenal reasons but not an entire team’s worth.

Hey, I’m a Nats fan. I’m happy the Phillies continue to be idiots and basically lock themselves into 3rd or 4th place. I’m privately hoping my team doesn’t do the same dumb thing when they’re faced with a roster log jam themselves.

Yes, they should have let Howard walk. He’s a bat-only player with an injury history and his peripherals were trending the wrong way. This is the guy that the sabermetricians let walk away and take the early heat about doing so, because they know the tune will change a few years down the road and they won’t be the suckers hamstrung with a bloated contract for a player who can’t perform up to standards anymore.

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also add Ben Revere there to the younger talent they brought in. He’s a great leadoff hitter and will be fully healthy to start the year. You can’t change the past. They are stuck with Howard’s contract, and can only hope he can stay healthy for 500+ ab’s and drive in 100 runs and hit .250. They can’t trade him with that contract. If they want to bring up young pitchers like Biddle or Pettibone then having Ruiz around is key to their development and confidence. Asche will get a look to see what he can do with Franco in the wings to compete with him in ST. If Utley stays healthy his bat and defense are still elite at the position. A lot will depend on the Cuban SP, Martinez. If he can be a reliable #3 starter behind Hamels and Lee that will be key, and I’ll wait and see what moves are made for the back of the rotation and bullpen, which really hurt them last year. Not an ideal team, but you have to work with what you got, and the reality of the market, and whoever they put out there, I’ll be rooting them on as I have for the last 35+ years. They put out much worse teams in the ugly years of the mid 80’s through late 90’s (other than the amazing stars aligned blip in 93).

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