The Plight Of The Phillies

The Phillies stink. They’ve stunk for two seasons. They will stink for the foreseeable future, unless drastic changes are made. And therein lies the problem.

From the New York Times:

The Phillies’ executives arrived here eager to shop anybody on their roster. The problem is that very few players have much appeal to other teams. Nobody, so far, wants to help tear down an overpaid, aging roster that produced consecutive seasons of 89 losses.

“We want to get some younger people on the field,” said Pat Gillick, the Hall of Fame executive who oversees the Phillies’ baseball operations. “It’s not easy, what you say and what you can accomplish. There are challenges to getting younger, from the standpoint of contracts, trade situations, no-trades, 10-and-5, all that stuff enters into it. You can’t just” — Gillick snapped his fingers — “get younger.”

True, but nobody made the Phillies sign an aging Ryan Howard to a $25 million a year contract that has him on the books through 2017. Nobody makes them keep prospects in the minors until they are 34 (or so). Nobody made the Phillies hold on to their moveable pieces at the deadline in 2014.

The concern is that the Phillies waited too long to make deals. Amaro did nothing at the July 31 trading deadline, unsatisfied with the deals he was offered for his veterans. The Phillies, he said, have learned from that.

“We’re a lot more realistic about it than we were in July, because now you see a pretty great shift,” (general manager Ruben) Amaro said. “Teams just don’t want to give up the talent. They’d rather give up the money than the talent. So we have to have an understanding of that, and at the same time we have to identify the guys that are still pretty talented and not take a bath.

“Listen, our ownership group is not saying, ‘You have to trade these guys.’ But we as an organization, together, have decided we need to make a change.”

That change may need to come in the front office.

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