Well, seems to be some controversy amongst many fans calling the 610 WIP sports talk show in Philadelphia, many of the opinion the Phillies should have given Ryan Howard more. There were also defenders of the Phillies, but moreso negative vibes toward the team.(again!) So did the Phillies do the right thing? Every year they seem to do at least one thing that gets the fans all up in arms. Last year it was the botched Brett Myers incident. Other years it is the feeble trade deadline attempts to better the club with a Mike Williams, or Valerio del los Santos. Or they pick up Paul Abbott and let him direct a cakewalk from home to home for about a dozen or so starts, or call up Marlon Byrd for the stretch drive. Ownership is chastised for not being willing to go the extra mile on the payroll to try to get this team over the hump. The Phillies dont seem willing to budge over the 90-95 million mark. The question here again is: Should the Phillies have ponied up for Ryan Howard a bit more than they did? From the Phillies point of view, they gave the biggest award to a guy with Ryan Howards service time (900,000 K for a bit less than 2 years of service) Albert Pujols got 900,000 K but had a year more than Howard. Since Pujols signed that about 4 years ago, the average salary has risen, thus one could argue Howard didnt really get as much as Pujols. Point is the Phillies, under the rules, didnt have to give Howard more than 380.000K. They would tell you all this as arguments in their favor, and all are true. I cant kill the Phils for these reasons, but there to me is some disturbing things about this I dont like. 1) Why not at least give him 1 million even. I dont think the Phillies would miss that other 100 grand. There is something that would make a point to Ryan Howard that they(the Phillies) could say, you are a million dollar player to us. The thing that bugs me is there were reports, all true, that the Phillies had more on the table for Howard, but pulled some off when they and the Howard camp couldnt agree on a deal. In other words Howard and co. wanted more than what they had offered, so the Phils then pulled more $$ off the table. The way I see it is this. Yes, this is the Phillies last year of leverage on Howard, but he is the face of your organization, is bringing life back to baseball in a city where its been dead for years. In fact he may the face of MLB!! In this world of steriod allegations and controversy, when many sluggers are accused of doing steriods and hardly what you would want your sons to grow up to be, Howard remains a clean, role modelish image for the young fans to follow. He is polite, handles the media well, and in fact youngsters do look up to him. He is the only player to win the rookie of the year award in year one(a half a season mind you) and the MVP the next. I dont think the Phillies should have caved in to their demands and gone crazy, but I do feel with his accomplishments they could have made him a millionaire at least. My opinion is they should have given him a 1.4 million contract, representing a hair over a one million dollar raise from last years salary. Thats only 500,000 more than you gave him now, and in a few years when he could become a free agent I believe he is the type of guy who would remember that, which would work in the Phillies favor. One more thing, if the Phils had done that and not pulled money off the table, it would have shown the fan base how serious they are, that maybe there is a changing of the guard, and help rid themselves of the fans perception that the Phils have created over the years. This is a time where the Phillies can become kings of the city again and take the fans hearts back. What a message they could have sent, what an opportunity they have, and they would have easily made that money up. Again, they failed in the PR dept. amongst the fans, not as much in the amount they gave Howard, but in how they went about it. Then again its just par for the course with this ownership group.
My ideal is carlos Lee, but if the Phils get no big bat in free agency to protect Ryan Howard(not looking likely at this point) they should go for Manny Ramirez. Manny’s contract all of a sudden doesnt look so intimidating with the Soriano deal setting the stage this year. Here is why the Phillies could afford him. 1) Pat Gillick has already said it wasnt the money that kept them from getting Soriano, it was the years. Soriano is getting 17 mill per year, Manny is going to get around 19-20 mill. Not a huge difference. In fact Gillick said the money Soriano got was no problem, so that tells me they could then afford Manny. 2) Two years. That is how much time Manny has left on his current deal. Ryan Howard and Chase Utley wont be eligible for huge raises within two years, thus making Manny and his contract affordable. At the end of manny’s two years you can let him walk and then pay Utley and Howard their due. This gives Howard awesome protection in the lineup, and allows the Phillies to go right–left–right in the middle of the lineup if they want to break it up so in the late innings an opposing manager cant leave in a reliever(specialist) to get the key outs for consecutive batters like they do now. (say Howard third-manny 4th-Utley fifth) Then Manny has protection too in Utley. 3) Marketing—The Phillies would make a ton more in ticket sales, merchandise, etc. if they got Manny that the money they pay would be made up pretty much in the sales of tickets, shirts, jerseys, etc.(Moises Alou would have been nice at 8.5 for one year(as the Mets got him for that) but he is hurt a lot more now that he is 40) Anyway, bottom line is you get protection for Howard, high octane potency in the middle of your lineup, and not have to invest long term and go through what you just did from the Ed Wade era. He tied up guys like Burrell, Leiberthal, Abreu, for too long at too much, overvaluing them and making it hard to get rid of them. The hangup to getting Manny, can they find a match for a trade. Burrell has to be included, and what do the Red Sox want in return? Yeah, Manny is a head case, but so is Soriano. He is a tempermental guy too. For two years I’ll take a chance on Manny and his defensive shortcomings and weirdness as opposed to Soriano’s temperment for eight years. Manny in Phillie pinstripes?? Just a thought.
A special thanks to Cubs GM Jim Spendry(er..Hendry) for giving Alfonso Soriano that ridiculous eight year deal, thus assuring he wont be coming to Philly. I know many wre excited about the possibility of Fonzie coming to Philly to protect Ryan Howard in the lineup. However, upon further review, he is not worth committing to for eight years at soon to be 31 years of age. He will be 38 when his contract runs out. Is he a better option than Pat Burrell? Yes, I still say of course, but here is something to consider. A few weeks ago the courier post times writer Kevin Roberts pointed some interesting numbers out. Last year Pat ‘lack of big bat’ Burrell struck out 131 times—Soriano was 160. burrell hit .222 with runners in scoring position—Soriano hit .231. With runners in scoring position and two outs, Burrell hit .167–Soriano hit .197. Consider Fonzie’s defense in left field is no better than Burrell’s either. Yes Soriano had like 22 assists, but his feilding is suspect at best. Granted Soriano hit in the leadoff spot much of the year and didnt have much protection behind him, not helping his stats that I just mentioned above. I would rather have him than Burrell any day, but not for the deal he got from the Cubs. The guy I wanted all along is carlos Lee, but from everything I hear the Phillies dont have a great interest in him. To me he seems a better fit for the Phillies. he only struck out around 60 times. This Phillies lineup already has enough strikeouts without adding another K machine(Soriano). Lee still had 36 HR and 117 RBI with 100 less K’s than the Fonz, and still stole 19 bases. He hit .300 for the year. I know he may not have the best defense in left, but neither do Burrell or Soriano. One thing the Phillies should realize is if they want a top free agent they will have to overpay. Thats just the way it is nowadays. Their biggest need is pitching, but forget Zito or Jason Schmidt. They already stated they dont want to come here. I dont think Zito’s personality fits in the high pressure places like Philly or NY. They probably will not go after a starter. they should get a reliver or two, one of which I hope is Corey Bradford of the Mets. Strengthen yourself while weakening you opposition. Gillick has repeatedly stated he will NOT spend top dollar on free agent pitchers. In Toronto he mainly developed arms in the farm system and it paid off with two world series titles. He is trying the same thing in Philly, acquiring guys like Gio Gonzales in the Jim Thome trade last year. My only hangup is Phillies management(of course) They insist on keeping the payroll aroung 90-94 million. You cant tell me they cant afford to go the extra mile or two to get somne top quality guys and up the payroll some. Since citizens Bank park opened it has been a cash cow. They, the owners, once again pose the biggest hinderance to this team getting over the top, not the GM. Read my next article to find another interesting possibilty.
Not that I care if the Mets or Cardinals win that series, but I must admit it was a SWEET thing to watch Billy Wags blow up and lose game 2 for the Mets. Ever hear the saying ‘It couldnt happen to a nicer guy’.
Hey Ed and Monty, remember about two years ago when you went through that charade and bogus parade called a managerial search. Well, you stated Charlie Manuel was a better fit for the team than Jim Leyland. Just wanted to say congrats to you both(Ed, wherever you are now–in Houston or in Jersey) I thought you were nuts at the time for passing on Leyland, but you guys were the ‘baseball people’ and ‘braintrust'(your terms not mine) I should have not doubted you guys, you were proven right. Manuel is a better fit here. Leyland is actually used to being in the playoffs!!!!!!
First off, I know Robby Cano is o for 8 and has left a bunch of men on base, so there is other blame to go around. (no, I cant blame my boy Abreu here) Mussina had a average outing. But K-Rod, I would like to talk about him, but the mere mention of him is causing me to CHOKE!!!!! I hope you all understand that is why I must run now and not finish this artcile. At least I know if you dont understand, K-Rod can definetly relate to that. After all, it is the post-season.
After the Phillies traded Bobby Abreu and Cory Lidle to the Yankees I stated Lidle would have a bigger impact than Abreu. I thought because Lidle was historically a real solid August and September pitcher, coupled with the fact the Yanks so desperately needed bottm of the rotation pitching, that would translate into Lidle playing a bigger part in helping the Yanks in this trade. Not so. As for Abreu, getting big hits consistently, showing emotion and fire, hustle on a more consistent basis…whats gotten into him? I have a theory. In Philly, he was the man for years, and he didnt want to be the man. He wants to be part of the team, to just fit in, not be the focal point. He isnt a leader, he is a great complimentary player. In NY, he only has to fit in, be that complimentary player. The focus is so far off him he can relax and just play–no pressure on him. In Philly, it was not that way, and I think you are seeing a burden free, relaxed, and comfortable Bobby Abreu. I said at the time he was a perfect fit for that team. If only in Philly he could have been allowed to be that kind of player, the fans would have(myself included) taken more to him, meaning if he showed the same heart in Philly he has in NY. Then again, pressure, being the focus, has a funny way of doing things to people. Enjoy him NY, and I’m sure at years end while he has a world series ring, you and he can smile. And in Philly, we will say what we always say—same ol same ol!