Tough Start to Offseason for Phils
The 2004 Pistons had more balance than a tight rope walker
Ben Cherington did a masterful job of balancing the Sox. Ruben Amaro is late to the party.
The deal announced earlier this week for Tim Lincecum by the Giants has already placed the Phillies in a position of disadvantage. The Phillies were a team that was probably looking for a bargain like Linceum (of course before he signed his ridiculous deal) and now that proprsition becomes a lot harder. At the current annual average value, Linceum will sit at 17.7 million per year. Since Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee already make over 20 million each per year, the bar has been raised for number 3 starter money. Money the Phillies will be reluctant to shell out given the numberous needs they have all over the diamond and on the pitching hill. Figure that the Phillies need at least 2 veteran bullpen arms to compliment the emerging (if inconsistant) arms that already populate the pen, an outfielder, a catcher and all of this adds up to a tough decision on where to allocate the funds available to Ruben Amaro. If the Phillies are going to be realistic, (and that is not always the case on Ruben Amaros watch) then they need to realize that one or two big free agent signings will not make their offseason successful. See the 2011 offseason and the Jonathan Papelbon signing as proof positive. his contract is virtually untradable and now the bullpen has a top heavy asset allocation. And a fading asset to add insult to injury. If the Cardinals, Red Sox or any other playoff team can serve as a blueprint, let it be shown that nearly all of their bullpens are less expensive that Papelbon alone! Baseball can be a sport where a superstar is not required, with the exception of a superstar picther. The model employed by middling teams in the NBA can be a recipe for success in the MLB. The Detroit Pistons of the early 2000′s come to mind. They had no “max level” players, just a bunch of handsomly compensated all stars who had specific roles on the court that were executed night in and night out. They were the exception to the rule of having 1-2 superstars in order to consistantly contend. Now a days, that model would not work because of a top heavy system that rewards teams that have the luck (and/or location) to have superstars employed on their roster. But baseball differs, with a larger roster and more defined roles. Baseball rewards teams that allocate their assets wisely and do not overextend one area of the roster at the expense of another area. The Phillies have too many players making mega money and not enough contributors who make under 5 million, which is around the average salary now a days. A trade could help restore more balance to the roster, but the commodoties teams would want are either too cheap to part with (Dom Brown, unless you read my article from a few weeks ago on why they SHOULD trade him) or just locked up to a new deal (Chase Utley). Cliff Lee is also a possibility, but Amaro seems stubborn enough to hang onto him, foolishly believing that he is “making his club weaker” as he likes to say on a daily basis. Diversify, Roob. It’s what any stock broker would advise. But then again, they typically also advise to sell an asset at it’s peak, not it’s valley. The Phils are living in the valley looking for a way to move back on up to the peak.