I will be doing a series on each of the four major sports teams in Philadelphia over the next few weeks. Each will highlight what each team has to do in the short run and the long run to benefit each respective franchise. Each team will be treated differently, as the Flyers are closer to a championship than the 76ers, and so on. The first edition of this series starts with our beloved Philadelphia Phillies. Should Charlie Manuel stay? Should Utley be traded? What are the Phillies plans for Tommy Joseph?
Short Term Fix: The Phillies are a .500 team at the moment, and they do not look any better or worse than that. Being .500 is not awful, but with a top-5 revenue and a top-5 payroll, .500 is NOT cutting it. One would hate for the Phillies to try to acquire another rental player for this season only and mortgage the ONLY prospects left in the farm system to do so, because the Phillies are not one player away from a World Series. The only way this team can be fixed in the short run is to somehow acquire a Giancarlo Stanton without including Jesse Biddle. If this can be done, the Phillies may have a chance to make the playoffs this year. But chances are even the Marlins will not trade Stanton in the division for a low return. The Phillies need to play this season out and work towards the long-term, which will be painful at first, but it is how the business of baseball works.
Long Term Fix: This is the most logical fix for the Phillies. The current roster is filled with older players in the twilight of their primes and underachieving veterans. The starting infield (when healthy) is: Carlos Ruiz (34 years old), Ryan Howard (33 with a bad achilles), Chase Utley (34 with two bad knees), Jimmy Rollins (34 years old) and Michael Young (36 years old). This makes for one of the OLDEST infields in the major leagues. The Phillies pitching staff is a tad younger: Roy Halladay is 36 (and I think he is done), Cliff Lee is 34, Mike Adams is 34 and Jonathan Papelbon is 32, other than that the pitching staff is relatively young. The issue with those four pitchers is the fact that all of them are very highly paid. The outfield is very young and very cheap, but there is not one guy who is untouchable in the outfield. Domonic Brown and Ben Revere are recently coming along, but neither of their ceilings are any higher than an average MLB player. I think the Phillies will keep both Revere and Brown for the long run, because of the low salary and ability to play everyday. Dom Brown looks to be a .250-.260 with 18 HR and 75 RBI player, which is serviceable. Revere will be a 8-hole hitter with above average defense (at times) in centerfield.
After this season, Roy Halladay, Michael Young, and Chase Utley will be free agents, and are not likely to be signed to an extension anytime soon. What the Phillies SHOULD do, and it will hurt, but they NEED to trade Chase Utley and Michael Young. Many teams in the MLB would love to add either of these two players, especially since they will have negotiating rights for the future. It is not out of the question that the Phillies could get 2 high level prospects and a handful of mid-level prospects in return for Young and Utley, replenishing the farm system (which is depleted).
The Phillies have two young guys ready to step in to replace Utley and Young right away in Cody Asche and Freddy Galvis, with Cesar Hernandez right behind them. If the Phillies could pick up a big-time outfield prospect in the Utley deal, it would pay HUGE dividends down the road.
Other players the Phillies SHOULD trade in the right deal include Jimmy Rollins, Cliff Lee, and even Kyle Kendrick. Rollins isn’t a shadow of what he was, but is still one of the better shortstops in the NL, someone would want him and they would have him for this year and at least next year. As aforementioned, Freddy Galvis could easily replace Rollins and the shortstop position wouldn’t miss a beat. Cliff Lee being traded would have to be the PERFECT deal, meaning two blue chip prospects at minimum, but it could happen. The Yankees, among others have the ammunition if they really wanted Lee. Kendrick has turned into a very good pitcher in the NL (I told you so!) and seeing as he would be arbitration eligible after this season, many teams would like to have him. If someone offers a good return for Kendrick, RAJ may pull the trigger. If Carlos Ruiz comes back strong after his injury, he could be moved in the right deal as well. It is time for catching prospect Tommy Joseph to show what he can do.
For those asking about Ryan Howard, no one is taking that horrendous contract. No one.
Personally, I would trade Rollins, Utley, Young, Kendrick and Papelbon (if the opportunity presented itself) and rebuild the hitting in this organization. I think Charlie Manuel is gone after this season, and Ryne Sandberg starts a new regime next season with a young, hungry team. The real problem is this team hasn’t been young and hungry since 2007 and 2008. With a young team paired with good pitching (Hamels, Lee, Biddle) this team would not be as far out as one might think. BUT, this is ONLY if they sell and replenish the farm system with good talent. If the Phillies lineup does NOT look similar to this in September and they are still at .500, the future will be dark.
C – Joseph
1B – Howard
2B – Hernandez
3B – Asche
SS – Galvis
LF – Brown
CF – Revere
RF – Young
It’s time for a change. I know the fan base will take a hit with all the “fans since 09″, but it really is time for a change. Everyone liked the change with the Eagles, why not with the Phillies?Tags: Carlos Ruiz, Change, Charlie Manuel, Chase Utley, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Giancarlo Stanton, Jimmy Rollins, Kyle Kendrick, Michael Young, Phillies, Phillies sellers, Roy Halladay, Ryan Howard, Sixers, trades