‘Tis the season to buy lots of crap! Black Friday, Cyber Monday….here we come! The Phillies began shopping early when they signed Kevin Frandsen earlier this month to a 1-year, $850,000 deal. If Frandsen plays the way he did last year, that small chunk of change could wind up being the bargain of the year.
But the Phillies have a much longer shopping list than that. Unfortunately, even on Black Friday, not everything is on sale. Even if Ruben Amaro Jr. camped out in front of All-Star Josh Hamilton’s house all night, I am pretty sure someone with more money would be camped out in front of him in line. Fold up the tent, Ruben, and let’s work on a more realistic shopping list.
– The first item on the list should be a centerfielder. I hear our old pal Shane Victorino may come at a descent discount. But the Phillies seem to be more focused on B.J. Upton, who could rival Ryan Howard for strikeouts. They both strike out around 30% of the time and neither hit for average. Regardless, this team needs to shop for an outfielder!
– Bullpen help is needed….badly. Maybe the Phillies need to look back at a few guys they previously tossed in the trash? Here are some oldies, but goodies: Our old pal Chad Durbin had a 3.10 ERA for the Braves last season. And how about Jason Grilli, who was with the Phillies minor league system until they dumped him…he went on to record a 2.91 ERA for the Pirates last season. But my #1 oldie would be Ryan Madson. He is coming off Tommy John surgery so the bidding for him should not get too high.
– Third base: Personally, I feel a combination of Frandsen and a drug-free Freddy Galvis can handle the hot corner. But if you are the type who MUST buy during holiday sales whether you need to or not, here is who might deserve a look: Kevin Youkilis will be 34 in March, but the guy can still hit for power. At 36 years, Michael Young is not exactly young anymore….but he would be a solid veteran to keep the spot warm for a much younger Cody Asche in 2014.
– While the team is stocked with starting pitchers, maybe a few small upgrades could help? You know…get Roy Halladay a bionic shoulder to replace the bum one. Buy Kyle Kendrick an “All I Want For X-Mas is You” tee-shirt to keep his confidence high. And for Cliff Lee, donate to his favorite charity and make a pledge to get him more than 6 wins this year.
– Buy baby-faced Darin Ruf a pair of big-boy pants and put him on the big-boy team. That gamble may really pay off. What have they got to lose? And J.C. Penney has a great Black Friday sale on pants right now…
– And the final big purchase for the Phillies should be a stand-up comedian. When things start to go downhill for the Phils, the comedian can jump in and tell jokes between innings to keep spirits high. Because as a fan base in 2012, we have all lost a bit of our sense of humor. You cannot blame us though…losing is just not funny. Help us all remember how to laugh and smile again! And if the wins start coming, you can trade the comedian to a more needy team.
Happy shopping, everyone!
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Amaro photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
Considering it is the offseason, this has been a busy week for the Phillies. In an unusual roster move, the Phillies have potentially signed left fielder Laynce Nix, 31, to a two-year deal, pending a physical. I say this is unusual because in a 9-year career, Nix is a .244 hitter and from 2006-2008, he spent most of his time in the minors.
Last year with the Nationals, Nix hit .250 with 16 home runs. Similarly, Raul Ibanez hit .245 with 20 homers. And this signing pretty much signals the end of Ibanez’s career with the Phillies. So they are replacing him with a guy who is similar and only a little bit younger in baseball years. The big difference here is that Ibanez had a solid career. Nix has not.
So yes, this move is just one more head scratcher this offseason for the Phillies who seem to be going back to their roots of taking out the trash and hoping it turns into treasure. Sometimes that works out; most of the time, it does not. As for Ibanez, it certainly looks like he has been “Nixed.”
In happier news, Chase Utley and his wife Jen welcomed their first child on December 2. His name is Benjamin Cooper Utley; FYI – Cooper is mom’s maiden name. There was a photo posted on Crossing Broad but the Utley’s had them remove it.
So you can either use your imagination…or, use my imagination ;o)
By the way, the market for short stops just heated up. The Miami Marlins have signed Jose Reyes for 6 years at $106 million. He is not a Met anymore, but the NL East is still not rid of the annoying, showboating Reyes.
And his price tag also means that Jimmy Rollins may expect more money than the Phillies are able to give. As a back-up plan, rumors have been flying about interest in Aramis Ramirez. However, Ramirez plays third base. Where does that leave Placido Polanco and who will play short stop?
So many questions, so few answers… I will tell you this though, the 2012 Phillies are starting to look a whole lot different than the 2011 Phillies, although it is more of a lateral-type movement so far.
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Photoshopping by Jenn Zambri Photography
If all that glitters is gold, Phillies Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino have enough bling to go around. Both players were awarded the Rawlings Gold Glove Award in their respective positions yesterday. For the shortstop Rollins, it is his third Gold Glove in a row; for centerfielder Victorino, this makes two in a row. Rollins had only 6 errors all year, which was the best among all qualifying players. Victorino had a .997 fielding percentage, 2nd best in the NL among outfielders, and 5 assists.
On the injury front, Brad Lidge had surgery yesterday to repair his right flexor tendon as well as remove loose bodies from his elbow. It was not known before the surgery if the tendon was damaged, but it appears Lidge was worse off than anyone let on. That fact has caused quite a stir among fans who are very disappointed about the whole situation. Tell me again why Lidge was pitching with serious injuries, especially in the World Series?
But everyone must look forward now and it appears that Lidge will not be ready for the start of Spring Training. As a result, the Phillies have been reportedly looking for another / back-up closer. They need bullpen help anyway, so this is no surprise.
As for the Roy Halladay / Cole Hamels rumors, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. insists this will not happen. Again, not much of a surprise as such a trade was a long shot at best. In fact, the Jays demands are still very high, so it is possible that Halladay may not go anywhere.
Thank you everyone for the comments yesterday on this topic :O) And to clarify, I have not given up on Hamels. Odds are that he will rebound and have a better year. However, the thought of a Cliff Lee – Roy Halladay combo, two proven veterans, is an exciting thought. Think about it this way: The Phillies window to win another championship is closing. We will probably have Lee only for 1 more year as he is going to command Yankees-type money, which the Phillies historically are unwilling to pay. They may strike a deal with him, but do not hold your breath. The core of the team is intact for a while, but the pitching overall has been shaky down the stretch. If the Phillies can get a quality third baseman, improve the pen and add or develop a solid starter, they could be unstoppable in 2010. In my humble opinion, they need to toss everything, including the kitchen sink, at this 2010 team.
But sadly, the Phils do not have the payroll of many other teams; the Phillies rank 7th, which is very high, but still $88,445,143 less than the Yankees, as an example. That equals almost 4 CC Sabathia’s and nearly 8 Chase Utley’s. I don’t know about you, but I would take 8 Chase Utley’s anyday. And no, I am not jumping on the “buying a Championship” bandwagon which I hear a lot about the Yankees. I believe they still have to play the game, regardless of income. And this year, the Yanks played better than anyone else. But would an additional $88 million be a BIG boost for the Phillies or any other team…obviously, the answer is “yes.”
But that is just a dream and the Phillies will need to do the best with what they have. Hopefully, that will include a few more quality pitchers.
Photo by Jenn