Well here we are. The dog days of another MLB August run for the Phillies and for the first time since 2006, they are not in contention for a playoff spot. Unfortunately, as fans of this team we have become spoiled during the past eight years. However, all good things must come to an end. In the beginning of this season, I picked the Phillies to make one last run in the playoffs. They have proved me wrong once again. This season has been no different from the past few years, as the team has been riddled with injuries. Unfortunately, this year their talent alone could not push them forward for one last playoff run.
Last night was a milestone win for Charlie Manuel as he won his 1,000th game as a manager. This is tremendous for a coach that many Phillies fans used to make fun of and humiliate. Sorry Charlie…You have been awesome for this city and we will never forget you…just as we never forgot Jim Fregosi, Dallas Green, and Paul Owens. Cole Hamels picked up only his fifth win with a masterful complete game showing. Hamels is a disappointing 5-13 after a huge contract extension. No one can totally fault Cole as his ERA has dropped to a more than respectable 3.65 and he is once again on pace for 200 Innings and 200 Strikeouts. Hamels, like most of the Phillies has not received much offensive support from an inconsistent bunch of underachievers.
Nonetheless, it is time to blow this regime up. This team is way past its peak and there is no re tooling or replacing that can fix this team now. Phillies ownership must realize that this team as we know it is done. Believe me, as sad as it is to admit this as a fan, this team really has lost it. It always starts at the top. Ruben Amaro has been tremendous for the most part with an aggressive approach that has saw this team spend tons of money and make many trades year after year in order to compete for a Championship. However, the past few years Amaro has not been able to make the moves that could retool this team and once again put them at the top. Ruben, you are the first one that must go.
Uncle Charlie, as much as the fans love you, the reign has come to an end. The Phillies need a leader that is not afraid to discipline his players. Yes, your management style did bring the team a World Series ring,; however, that team was much different than this one. You had a younger core that was hungry…all homegrown talent…Pat Burrell, Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Jayson Werth, Shane Victorino, Carlos Ruiz, Cole Hamels, Brett Myers, Ryan Madson, and Kyle Kendrick. Burrell is gone, Howard has been injury riddled and is a shadow of what he once was, Utley and Rollins are on the downward curve of their careers, Werth and Victorino (Both who were Rule 5 Free Agents) have moved onto other teams as have Brett Myers and Ryan Madson. Carlos Ruiz is now a player that must go in my mind after a controversial involvement with PED’s and a 50 Game Suspension. This leaves only two players: Cole Hamels and Kyle Kendrick who make up 2/5 of the Phillies starting rotation.
The 2008 Team also had some extremely important key veterans like Jaime Moyer, Joe Blanton, Brad Lidge, Pedro Feliz, Geoff Jenkins, and Matt Stairs. Face it tho, it was the home grown talent that brought this Phillies era to GREATNESS. So yes, Charlie it is time to move on. The Phillies need to rebuild. So far…thats a new General Manager and a new coach. Ok, now the current roster. Contrary to what many fans have complained about, I was all for the Utley and Rollins extensions. I believe in loyalty and these two players deserve to end their career with the team they started with. They both still have a few years left in the tank, even if they are just here to mentor the next wave of youngsters.
Domonic Brown has solidified his spot as the Teams Starting Left Fielder for years to come. Ben Revere, even after an injury is still very young and brings a lot to the table at Center Field. Ok, so that means we need a new Right Fielder, possibly a younger free agent with some pop. Now lets move to the infield. Cody Ashe is your Third Baseman of the future so I would ride him the rest of this season to see what he’s got. Freddy Galvis can be your starting Shortstop until Utley retires. This leaves First Base with Ryan Howard. The Phillies need to take a long hard look at this position because if I am making the decisions, I go with Darin Ruf and somehow eat the rest of Howard’s Contract. I am sure that some American League team would be interested in his services…if only as a DH. Carlos Ruiz needs to go and either bring up one of the young guys or sign a steady free agent.
Now we head to the Pitching arena, which on paper has been the Phillies strong suit the past four years. Obviously, Cole Hamels is your ace and I firmly believe that this season is an aberration and that he will bounce back. I think the Phillies definitely need to trade Cliff Lee in the offseason and get some young talent back to rebuild the farm. Kyle Kendrick has been consistent enough to solidify a spot in the rotation. The wild card is Roy Halladay. If he comes back healthy here and is willing to sign a smaller contract to stay with the team, I am all for it. I can see Roy Halladay ending his career here and then becoming an awesome pitching coach. Then we have the two young prospects Johnathan Pettibone and Tyler Cloyd. They should both be in line for a spot. And finally, I am not a John Lannan fan so I either trade him or move him to the bullpen. Relief Pitching is another area that must be upgraded. I would scrap the entire roster, trade Paplebon and start over.
Once again, I have never proclaimed to be an expert. This is just an honest opinion from an honest fan. I just believe that the time has come to rebuild. No fan base ever wants to hear that word; however, this team as we know it is gone. So in conclusion: The Phillies need to cut their ties with Amaro and bring in a more intelligent general manager that thinks young, they should go with a manager that is tough and hard nose that knows how to get the most out of his players, one that will not be afraid to discipline and make changes. I am not so sure that Ryne Sandberg is the answer…just a thought. And then finally, the team must part ways with Ryan Howard, Cliff Lee, Carlos Ruiz, and Johnathan Papelbon all of who which can bring back some nice young prospects. And then see how Halladay does and maybe bring him back on a smaller contract that is low risk/high reward. This is my plan if I am Phillies ownership. It should be interesting to see what happens in the next five months.