I don’t want to blame the Phillies’ struggles this season on injuries. I don’t want guys being hurt to be a crutch for this organization. But what are they supposed to do?
I know every team has injuries. I know the Mets have had their share this season too, but I think the Phillies take the cake for players on the DL. Pitchers they were counting on, role players, and their two biggest bats in the lineup. I’m amazing they’ve been in contention for so long this season.
The last two months are going to tell us a lot about this team and the guys on it. Do we have guys that shrink when the pressure’s on, or do we have guys that rise to the occasion and fight adversity? I hope we have more of the latter. I want to see how these guys respond.
I want to see how Charlie Manuel responds. He’s facing his toughest test yet in his third year of managing the Phillies. Forget having a bad bullpen or hole in the lineup to deal with. His job now is to convince 25 guys that they can win ball games without Chase Utley, who was in the middle of one of the best seasons for a 2B of all time. That’s no easy task. He has to motivate these guys to come to the ballpark every day and keep working hard, no matter how bleak it looks, even though guys like Rod Barajas checked out two months ago, but that’s beside the point.
I don’t know what this team is going to do. It’s going to take a junior mint falling from the sky to rescue this team. Let’s take a look at the trade deadline, and why it matters to some of our Phillies.
C Rod Barajas: If anyone expresses any interest in him, do the deal. He’s not needed. We have two guys that can catch, and if you’re hell bent on having that extra catcher on the roster, you might as well give Jaramillo a shot. If there’s a market for Jason Kendall and Jose Molina, there is for Rod Barajas.
IF Greg Dobbs: He’s an interesting name. I don’t think the Phillies will trade him with the injury, but you have to figure that a team is calling about him. He can play at least four positions, and he’s a good lefty bat against right handed pitchers. He has some power and he makes good contact. Probably wouldn’t get much for him, so he has more value as a player with us in 2008 than as a trading piece.
IF Wes Helms: I doubt anyone would want him because of his struggles. He can hit lefties pretty well, which is something teams always love to have off the bench. He can’t play defense, so he would be best served as a pinch hitter, DH or maybe even a first basemen. There probably won’t be too much interest in him, with superior guys like Wigginton still on the block.
CF Aaron Rowand: Can’t trade him now. You can’t give up on the year. You’d like the team to have a plan and direction for 2008, and that could involve trading Rowand, but you’d be giving up on 2007. This team, this city can’t do that. The deal would have to be great to get him, but to get someone to take Rowand, you have to give them an X amount of time to negotiate an extension, and I don’t think he wants to do that.
OF Michael Bourn: He’s the kind of guy a lot of teams are interested in. He’ll be under team control for five more years after this one, obviously inexpensive, and he has some nice potential. We all know about the speed and defense, but if he ever develops gap power, he could be a dangerous guy at the top of the lineup. His eye at the plate makes him even more valuable at the top, and if the Phillies were in a position to buy, Bourn could be a good piece to move.
OF Pat Burrell: No one wants him, even with the hot bat. His contract is just that awful. Hopefully we can squeeze two more months out of him and try it all again in the offseason.
Shane Victorino: You’d have to blow me away with an offer to get me to move this guy. I know you have to give something to get something, but his unique blend of speed and power is great in the lineup. He’s a great base stealer and great defender at all three outfield positions, and like Mark McGwire, he can sock some dingers.
SP Jamie Moyer: It wouldn’t surprise me if a team or two has called about him. He gives you innings and experience. He’s invaluable to the younger members of the pitching staff, so the Phillies should try to keep him around.
SP Adam Eaton: File this guy under the category of “Pat Burrell: Why would anyone want him?”
RP Ryan Madson: I save the most intriguing option for last. He’s entering his second of arbitration, so a team still has a couple more years of his services. That’s huge this year, at the deadline, teams don’t want rentals. They want guys for more than one season. Madson not only provides that, but he’s a talented pitcher. He has three good pitches, and when he’s clicking and has command of them, he’s as good as any other reliever in the league. After the Scott Linebrink trade which saw
Yeah, that amounted to a whole lot of “keep this guy because we can’t afford to lose him.” That was probably the least insightful thing I’ve ever written, and I’m not exactly Jayson Stark in the first place.
I don’t know where the Phillies are going from here. It’s going to be a tough two months, and I hope these guys can fight through it. Everyone’s going to have to step up. It won’t be easy.
I rarely feel sick to my stomach or upset about losses, especially in baseball where you lose 70 games and you’re in the playoffs. I remember the NFC Championships losses to
However, this one is tough to swallow. Utley’s one of the most beloved athletes in this city right now, and maybe of all time. Losing a talent like him is tough. I can’t believe it. It’s just another blow. I don’t know how much more everyone can stomach before one of our teams finally breaks through. I don’t know what’s going to happen next. This is getting frustrating.