Over the past several weeks, the Phillies have made a number of off-season moves. Some of them make sense, some of them make a bit less sense. The following is a breakdown of the various Phillies events, the reasoning behind it and my opinion as to the real reason for the move.
Event: The Phillies send Wilson Valdez to the Reds in exchange for a minor league pitcher.
Reason: One can only assume that the Phillies wanted to add pitching depth.
The Real Reason: Having a great back-up for Jimmy Rollins is unnecessary since J-Roll is superman and cannot possibly get injured again, right? Also, Ryan Madson needed the company of an old teammate for his transition to the Reds.
Event: Brad Lidge, left unsigned by the Phillies, goes to the Nationals on a one-year, $1 million deal.
Reason: Lidge was told he was not in the Phillies’ future plans and that was the extent of the explanation he received.
The Real Reason: Lidge has lost the speed on his fastball and is almost guaranteed to get hurt multiple times based on his past track record. Also, after the awful 2011 season Jayson Werth had with the Nationals, Lidge can now provide him with moral support. The Phillies like to take care of their former players ;o)
Event: Hunter Pence received a $10.4 million, one-year deal for 2012.
Reason: To avoid arbitration. Pence is the final arbitration-eligible player therefore, no hearings for the Phils this year.
The Real Reason: Had the Phillies allowed this to go to arbitration, they would have gotten spanked by Pence and probably would have been forced to pay him more. But the real reason for the contract is simple; a happy Pence means more “Let’s Go Eat!” T-Shirt money for the Phils.
Event: The Phillies have torn out the grass on the field and are putting down brand new sod.
Reason: The Winter Classic torn up the field pretty bad.
The Real Reason: While the stated reason is valid, there is another underlying reason as well. Having raised ticket prices yet again, the Phillies now have more money than God and they need to justify that by spending a boat load of cash. Last year it was a new Phantavision screen; this year is a new field. Maybe next year they can hire more employees so the concession lines will be less than an hour wait time? Nah…dream on people.
Event: The Phillies sign former Padre, Chad Qualls to a one-year, $1.15 million contract. Qualls is a 33-year old right-handed reliever who posted a 6-8 record with a 3.51 ERA in 2011.
Reason: Ruben Amaro Jr.’s favorite saying – Low-risk, high reward. In other words, if he sucks, they did not pay much for him.
The Real Reason: Because we really miss Chad Durbin and this was the best right-handed Chad they could find.
Event: Pat Burrell has decided to retire. Amaro is “considering” a 1-day contract so he can retire as a Phillie.
Reason: Burrell retired due to a nagging foot injury. Amaro is “considering” the 1-day contract because Burrell deserves a proper send-off.
The Real Reason: The foot injury may have played a role, but really, no one was going to sign Burrell. He has passed his expiration date. And the only reason Amaro hesitates to make a decision here is because he is afraid that Burrell’s dog Elvis will pee on his brand new field.