The Philadelphia Phillies did not know that 2011 would be their final season as a “good” team. If you remember correctly, they won 102 games that year — easily the best record in the majors — but wound up losing in five games in the divisional series to the eventual World Series champs, the St. Louis Cardinals.
It’s been all downhill from there, slowly falling another step in every season since.
The good news is there is nowhere to go but up from here. The bad news is….where do I begin?
They have a General Manager in Ruben Amaro Jr. that insisted on leaving the core guys (Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Cole Hamels, Ryan Howard) together for “one more year” and it just has not worked out well, considering they have all (with the exception of Hamels) declined in production.
While he was probably a few years late, he was finally able to unload Rollins, shipping him off to the Los Angeles Dodgers for two minor league pitchers — Zach Eflin and Tom Windle.
Next, it has to be their ace and franchise guy, Cole Hamels.
Business decision. Let’s be clear on that. There is absolutely nothing personal but when you are rebuilding, and you have a 30 year old piece that could bring in other building blocks to get your team back to their heyday, you kind of have to pull the trigger.
So, why hasn’t Amaro Jr. pulled the trigger yet? Is he waiting for the “perfect” deal? Are the 4 years and $96 million left on Hamels’ contract a bit much for teams to give up alot for? Even for an ace like Hamels.
Do not get confused by his 9-9 record in 2014. His 2.46 ERA says he is definitely an ace. He is undoubtedly the Phils’ most prized possession, and I’m sure they want some other team’s prized possession.
Hamels even knows that this team is headed nowhere fast. When your best player says “I just want to win. And I know it’s not going to happen here”, that puts your team in a rough spot.
“That’s all any competitor wants” said Hamels, who is JUST that, a competitor. A NLCS and World Series MVP in 2008, he knows how to win, and he just wants to prove that he can still perform at the highest level on the biggest stage again.
Cannot blame the man for wanting to win, right?
The Phillies have two options obviously. They must trade him and get something for him. Or they must get something for him and trade him. Either way, a trade has to happen.
It must happen before the season starts because they do not want a Cliff Lee repeat from 13′. What would a Cliff Lee repeat be, you ask?
Remember there were numerous trade rumors surrounding Lee last season (as there always seems to be around him) and then he suffered an elbow injury in July that forced the trade talks to stop. He was forced to only 14 starts last season.
Speaking of Lee, he could be another trade target either before the season or during, but I would assume that teams would want to see how good he is coming off of the injury.
They did a good/bad thing (depending on how you look at it) by trading their most productive offensive player last year in Marlon Byrd, to the Cincinatti Reds.
Next up in the “over 34” club of Phillies is Jonathan Papelbon (34 years old), Utley (36) and Howard (35).
Papelbon and Utley have a little value, but not nearly as much as Hamels, and Howard has to prove he can still even be an everyday first baseman.
No matter what they do what those other guys, Hamels is the one guy that has to be moved if they want to think about another Broad Street parade anytime soon.
– Khristian Peel