What to do, what to do…
The Phillies are an absolute mess. And this is not the 76ers bad where it’s ok since we see a clear plan towards improvement. This is not the Eagles bad where a bad year can very easily be followed up with a good year. This isn’t even the Flyers bad where you have the confidence that the owner will do anything and everything to change the outlook of the team going forward.
No, the Phillies are their own, unique kind of bad.
They are a loyal organization, which I am considering a flaw for an organization as opposed to a positive sign to hang their hat on. Even when the Phillies know that a person within the organization is failing, they won’t simply fire them or remove them from the organization.
Instead, they would prefer to move them throughout the organization, so as to get them out of the public eye but still stroke their ego and let them have influence on the team. So, yes, this team is broken from the top down to the minor league system that hasn’t produced anyone of merit since Cole Hamels.
I’m sure I’m not breaking news here by saying that the biggest problem with the Phillies is Ruben Amaro Jr. At this point, I don’t believe that anyone in the city of Philadelphia, or for that point, anyone following baseball on earth and middle earth, has faith that Amaro will be able to turn around this franchise.
The problems with the Phillies has never been more evident than it has been this past season. Between poor hitting, older players still thinking they are in the prime of their careers, players signed to outrageous contracts with insane vesting options, and a rookie manager, the Phillies had no shortage of issues. The largest problem is narrowing down these issues to just one to investigate further.
Don’t worry, I did it for you. Think back to the trade deadline during the season this past year. I was thinking specifically about the Phillies inaction at this trade deadline.
As I mentioned, the Phillies are broken.
Ruben Amaro apparently didn’t view things the same, however, as he decided that keeping all of our players at the trade deadline, thus indirectly stating that keeping the status quo, was the best possible option available. He came out after the trade deadline and told reporters that he, in essence, blamed the other 29 general managers for under valuing his players and low balling him with their offers.
Now, I am no general manager, nor am I a professional baseball scout. What I am though, is logical. When I am doing anything, at all, and 29 other professionals at that particular task tell me the value of that task is one thing, I am not going to bitch and moan about how I think it is more.
It occurs to me, that this opinion is a strong one. Therefore, let’s take a step back. Maybe Ruben has an idea about what he is doing, and just sounds like a complete bafoon in the media. So, what could his plan be?
Best guess, compensatory picks. Compensatory picks are the way in which the MLB tries to to even out the league and create some sort of competitive balance between teams in small markets and teams in large markets. The basic concept is that when a team can’t resign one of it’s players, the MLB gives that team a first round draft pick.
The actual rules from the CBA state:
1. Starting in 2012, “Type A” and “Type B” free agents and the use of the Elias ranking system will be eliminated.
2. The current system of draft pick compensation will be replaced with the following system:
A. Only Players who have been with their Clubs for the entire season will be subject to compensation.
B. A free agent will be subject to compensation if his former Club offers him a guaranteed one-year contract with a salary equal to the average salary of the 125-highest paid Players from the prior season. The offer must be made at the end of the five-day free agent “quiet period,” and the Player will have seven days to accept the offer.
C. A Club that signs a player subject to compensation will forfeit its first round selection, unless it selects in the top 10, in which case it will forfeit its secondhighest selection in the draft.
D. The Player’s former Club will receive a selection at the end of the first round beginning after the last regularly scheduled selection in the round. The former Clubs will select based on reverse order of winning percentage from the prior championship season.
This is interesting because the concept of keeping our players (Rollins, Utley, Hamels, Ruiz, Byrd, etc.) throughout the duration of their contracts and getting the draft pick compensation for them. While the first round in the MLB draft is by no means the same as the NFL or the NBA, these draft picks are incredibly valuable. Mike Trout was drafted via the compensatory pick that the Angels received. There are several impact players throughout the league who were acquired via the compensatory picks.
Then, Amaro started trading our players.
Rollins has been shipped out to Los Angeles, Byrd was traded to Cincinnati, and the Phillies are actively shopping Howard and Hamels. Now, I don’t want to misrepresent the situation. The Phillies need to move their aging stars. We need to get younger, as our core was no longer able to win in this league. I am fully in support of the Phillies trading these players.
The problem is the timing doesn’t quite make sense. Instead of making a deal at the trade deadline, which may have brought in more talent to Philadelphia thanks to some desperate teams, Amaro proceeded to state that no one understood the true value of his players.
Now, Amaro is trading anyone and everyone. So, this must mean that Amaro believes the other 29 teams are offering him fair compensation back for our players.
Amaro is starting to figure out what type of a hole he has dug for himself and realized that his players do not have the appeal that he previously thought or would like to think that they do. In fact, I would go so far as to say the reality of Amaro’s situation is slapping him in the face and he is desperately trying to prove that he can rebuild a roster.
I will not begin to pretend like I know the proper process for rebuilding a baseball team and minor league system. It is one of the most complicated processes in sports. However, that is what Amaro is assigned to do with the Phillies. The problem for Phillies fans is that Amaro consistently proves that he is inept at carrying out his job requirements.