Good things come in three’s for two Phillies players this week; both Shane Victorino and Joe Blanton have been signed for three years each, keeping them in the red pinstripes until the end of the 2012 season. The only other arbitration eligible player not yet signed to a deal is catcher Carlos Ruiz. With the quick progress on the first two, Ruiz may not be far behind.
Victorino had asked for 5.8 million a year prior to this deal. What he wound up getting amounts to an average of over 7 million a year; the total contract amount is 22 million. Obviously, the Phillies were committed to keeping the Flyin’ Hawaiian for some time to have gone well over his offer. Shane told many of us on the Phillies Cruise that he was extremely nervous during trade talks in July of last year where his name kept popping up. He wanted very badly to stay in Philly. He got his wish and I am very, very happy for him and for the Philadelphia fans. Congrats, Shane!
Joe Blanton’s deal was similar; 3 years for 24 million. Blanton, 29, has been a consistent starter for the Phillies, going 12-8 with a 4.05 ERA in 2009. My only real question about this deal is, if Blanton is getting 8 million a year, was not Cliff Lee worth maybe 9 or 10 million a year? I am happy for Blanton of course, but this does raise more questions about why we could not afford Lee. I understand the baseball aspect and getting the prospects, but prospects can be attained other ways. In fact, if Lee had left after 1 year, the Phillies would have gotten 2 draft picks out of it.
So yes, many of us are still grumbling about Lee. It was, and still is, a bit of a shock to see him traded away after the ½ year he gave us. Manager Charlie Manuel gave an interesting take on the trade as well saying, “As a manager in the big leagues, I look to put the best team on the field that’s possible at that moment. That’s where Lee comes into play. The financial part, I have nothing to do with that. I want to put the best possible team on the field. I don’t know if that makes me selfish, but that’s how you play the game. That’s how the Yankees do it.” Ouch. I think the reference to the Yankees expresses how most of feel. They should have kept Lee and Roy Halladay…the Yankees certainly would have.
It is hard not to dwell on what could have been, especially given the Blanton signing. But, I will try my best. It is either that, or my head might explode. ;o) Wish me luck!
At any rate, I am thrilled to see Victorino get his due and look forward to Blanton eating some innings for us. And now we await word on Ruiz…
Photo by Jenn