The future of the Philadelphia Phillies is cloudy at best right now. Many Phillies fans have been scratching their heads in recent days, ever since Ruben Amaro seemingly opted to stand-pat at the trade deadline. They added one potential long-term pitching prospect, but made no significant moves to either help bolster the roster for the final two month push, or set up for a possible off-season re-tooling of the roster in order to make a valid run in 2014.
While it’s true that they have a lot of decisions in the upcoming off-season, and have announced a deal to keep perennial superstar second baseman Chase Utley in Phillies pinstripes for two more years, the question still remains; did they make the right decision standing pat?
The Phillies seemed to have a viable trade commodity in Michael Young, but according to several reports, weren’t being offered what Amaro believed to be a fair deal for the Phil’s current third baseman. With Jimmy Rollins making it painstakingly clear that he would not waive his no-trade clause that offered little hope for Amaro of working a trade for the aging shortstop.
Ace stud pitcher Roy Halladay, who is scheduled to make a rehab stint with triple-A Ironpigs this weekend, is still somewhat of a question mark. He’s on record as saying he’d like to remain a Phillie, because he sees a lot of potential with this team, but if his pitch speed and command don’t return to his all-world caliber, the Phillies may not renew his contract.
That could leave the Phillies with a completely different pitching rotation than they had during the 2011 and 2012 seasons, when they had arguably the most dominating rotation – at least on paper – with Halladay, Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee and Roy Oswalt. Should Halladay leave the nest, the Phillies will need to shop around for a potential replacement for Halladay.
The Phillies will also likely be looking for bullpen help, since the bullpen has been the biggest disappointment of the season. Antonio Bastardo recently accepted a 50 game unpaid suspension for using performance-enhancing drugs, and Papelbon blowing games in which he should have won, it would behoove the Phillies to seriously look around for quality relievers.
They still have gaps at third – Michael Young has looked about as comfortable at that position, as a cat in a room full of rocking chairs. He has good stats at the plate, but without a good defensive game, Young doesn’t add depth to the field. Another pair of question marks are John Mayberry Jr. and Delmon Young have decent plate numbers, but neither one are stellar fielders. Do the Phillies go out an try to upgrade those 3 positions, or try to see how they progress?
Of course, there’s still the big and unspoken question: Will the Phillies renew Charlie Manuel’s managing contract? The Phillies’ skipper is in the ninth year of his tenure, but with hall of famer Ryne Sandberg just waiting in the wings, could this be Charlie’s swan song? He led the team to a World Series win in 2008 – and brought the city its first championship parade since 1983! Phillies fans adore the skipper, but with the team about to miss the playoffs, this year, after having been ousted last year in the wildcard game.
What the Phillies do with Manuel could signal their gameplan for the future. Should Sandberg get the managing duties, he may want to move in a different direction – especially with an aging infield.
Of course, there have been some really bright spots for the team. Dominic Brown appears to be on the cusp of becoming a bona-fide slugger. At one point in the season before his concussion, he was on-pace to knock out more than 60 homers. Not only that, he’s hitting for average as well as drive runs home when the Phills needed them. He was also one of only two selected to be on the All-Star.
Cody Asche, who only recently got called up from the minors, is already offering positive returns. Asche looks like he could be a good call-up, and a good replacement for Young at third. While it’s still too early to tell, he does seem to have a good baseball head, and a little pop in his bat!
There is still one player that the Phillies need to get clear about – Freddy Galvis. Freddy appears to be a stud fielder, whether at short or second. He’s quick on his feet and was beginning to have a really nice bat. Then had to return to the minors when Utley returned. Surely the Phillies could have found a spot for the blossoming fielder, right? There was never any reason given for his sudden demotion to the minors, after having an excellent season to that point.
Hopefully, the Phillies can figure out where they can place Galvis, so he can continue to grow as a player.
The Phillies can return to the playoffs, providing they make the right moves in the off-season. If they do, they will most likely fill Citizen’s Bank Park to capacity again, and get rid of the foul taste which will be left after this season – which looked to be very promising. Right now though, it still looks uncertain