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The future is “murky at best” for the Philadelphia Phillies

Aug 31, 2011, 11:33 AM EDT

Ryan Howard dark skies

Yeah we have even more Phillies-related posts today than usual. But if Rany Jazayerli is correct in the column he just wrote for Grantland, it will all even out very soon when the Phillies suck and no one cares about them.

The problems: An aging roster which is getting more expensive as it declines, a relatively fallow farm system and a division in which the competition is younger and on the rise. Money quote: “But the Phillies’ biggest concern in the near term is, as always, the Atlanta Braves …”  Ahhhh.

All of which leads to this payoff:

“… for a team on the verge of its greatest season ever, the future is murky at best. The Phillies have climbed to the top of the mountain. There might be a cliff up ahead.”

We’ll accept “he’s just a hater!” responses for the first few minutes after this post goes live because I know you guys can’t help yourselves when it comes to mistaking criticism for bias. But then you all are going to actually have to read the article and explain how, exactly, Rany is wrong.

314 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. zakharovsa - Aug 31, 2011 at 11:37 AM

    Looking forward to this one sitting on top of “most commented” for a week.”

    • halladaysbiceps - Aug 31, 2011 at 12:34 PM

      I’m getting tired of the articles and Sabermaticians that post on this site. The articles on this site are anti-Phillies all the way and the Sabermaticians are like some religious cult. Instead of giving the Phillies it’s due and posting articles on the site that list their accomplishments, you post articles that either denegrate them or the organization. I just don’t understand why this is the case. It’s the Sean Forman’s and Rany’s of the world that don’t enjoy baseball unless they quantify every aspect. That’s sad.

      • Gobias Industries - Aug 31, 2011 at 12:47 PM

        Boo.

      • Gobias Industries - Aug 31, 2011 at 12:47 PM

        Hoo.

      • phillyphreak - Aug 31, 2011 at 12:49 PM

        What’s sad is your lame personal attacks. What’s also sad is that you can’t wrap you head around the fact that people who like to look at numbers can also enjoy a well pitched game, or a guy getting thrown out at the plate. Stats and enjoying baseball are not mutually exclusive. If this is how you respond to people who write critiques of your team, you need to really grow up.

      • skipperxc - Aug 31, 2011 at 12:50 PM

        Funny, the “some religious cult” comp, when you hail the virtues of the Phillies franchise while remaining blind to its faults. You’re old! And expensive! It’s math!

        And to be fair, the saber-friendly folk here are probably sick of you, too. It’s okay, ‘cepts. Sometimes you win an argument, sometimes you lose. Badly.

      • kcrockett1 - Aug 31, 2011 at 1:00 PM

        Ladies and gentleman, the homerific halldadyasbiceps………c’mon man, you hafta know baseball better than that, if a fan of any other team lets their loyalty cloud their judgement, you call them out, don’t be a hypocrite, you’re better than that

      • uberfatty - Aug 31, 2011 at 1:16 PM

        Hey ‘cepts, as Keith Law would say, “Door’s on your left.”

        Articles “denigrating” an organization usually are not well thought out, well reasearched, and well written pieces of analysis.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Aug 31, 2011 at 1:48 PM

        I’m still wondering why an article like this is written about a team who hasn’t won the World Series in 3 years? Can someone tell me why this article wants to talk about how the Phillies future is “murky at best” when they will have Doc, Lee and Hamels for at least the next 3 years. So he obviously thinks those guys are going to decline pretty quickly, right?

        Nope…”So long as Halladay and Lee and Hamels are competing with each other for Cy Young Awards, the Phillies are almost guaranteed to be competitive. But for a team on the verge of its greatest season ever, the future is murky at best. ”

        So what does that mean? Doc and Lee and Hamels futures are murky at best? Or the offense’s future is murky at best? Or the team as a whole is murky at best, even with Doc and Lee and Hamels competing for the Cy Young award every year?

        I just don’t get the point of the article, why it was written, and how it matters that the Phillies offense, which is ALL THE WAY DOWN TO 6th in runs scored in the NL(of course the author fails to mention that the phillies starters are putting up historic numbers as a whole because I guess that just wouldn’t fit the mold of the future being “murky at best”)

        I have a request for all the national writers and others who obviously either hate the Phillies, are jealous of their success this year, or both…can you at least let them win a frigging World Series before you already start talking about their decline from the top…the top of what? Best record in baseball by 4 games on August 30th? Geeze.

      • Alex K - Aug 31, 2011 at 2:18 PM

        Chirs, Just because someone writes something that isn’t all flowers and puppies about the Phillies doesn’t mean that they “hate” the Phillies or wish an ill will on them.

    • Alex K - Aug 31, 2011 at 2:19 PM

      Name spelling fail….I meant Chris

  2. halladaysbiceps - Aug 31, 2011 at 11:40 AM

    Here’s this clown’s bio:

    Rany Jazayerli
    “Rany Jazayerli runs the Rany on the Royals website and co-hosts The Baseball Show with Rany and Joe podcast. He is one of the original founders of Baseball Prospectus, and works as a dermatologist in suburban Chicago.”

    Stick to treating skin disease, moron, and keep watching the Phillies win division after division while your puke Royals continue to stink up the American League.

    • uberfatty - Aug 31, 2011 at 11:43 AM

      This is completely uncalled for ‘cepts. Rany is highly respected for his writing and analysis and your personal attack is not cool, funny, or acceptable.

      • halladaysbiceps - Aug 31, 2011 at 11:46 AM

        I never heard of him of him before. He writes a blog as his side job. He doesn’t work as a baseball insider for any major network. His opinion means as much to me as a fart in the wind.

      • leokitty - Aug 31, 2011 at 11:49 AM

        Guess what? Your knowledge of someone doesn’t determine if they are important or not. A lot of people you do know about listen to Rany and respect his opinions.

      • The Common Man - Aug 31, 2011 at 1:19 PM

        You haven’t heard of Rany because you’re a jackass with your head in the sand. Rany’s been writing about baseball and analyzing it since the 1990s. You’re pissed because that fart in the wind is more than your constipated ass has let forth over however many spite-filled years you’ve been alive.

        If you don’t like his opinion, that’s fine. I mean, he knows more than you, is more successful than you, and is a much nicer guy than you (well, I haven’t met you, but Rany’s a great guy), but you don’t have to read him. And if you want him to stick to treating skin disease, I humbly ask you to continue to shovel rhinoceros dung out of the Philadelphia zoo or whatever you do for a living.

      • halladaysbiceps - Aug 31, 2011 at 1:51 PM

        Common Man,

        You illustrate my point exactly. Both you and Craig know this Rany guy personally. Apparently alot of people on this site are inflamed that I called the guy a clown and a moron. Who is is, the god of baseball? Guess what? Most people don’t know him. I never heard of this guy from a hole in the ground and he has an article about the demise of the Phillies posted on a mainstream site like NBC? Are you serious? Why doesn’t this guy stick to blogging about the inability of his precious Royals to do anything close to competing and instead is concentrating his “spare time” to tell me, a Phillies fan, the faults of what my organization are and tell me that we’re all but doomed?

        Explain that to me, Common Man?

      • gogigantos - Aug 31, 2011 at 2:02 PM

        oh my, taking on the Common and Craig,,,,,
        is this guy going to get some special treatment to calm him down, maybe a day at the yard with Rany? or a visit from TCM???? things I dream of for years having read and respected with my mouth shut for so long, are these things, something nearly as cool, going to happen because this &*(^^&&*^( spouts off and needs a spanking????
        or will this man simply open his mind to more than what he sees,,,
        stats
        ball
        humans
        and all that happens at the yard
        dammmmmmmmmn Sam
        ready to walk from the Shyster is a sad day

      • halladaysbiceps - Aug 31, 2011 at 2:08 PM

        gogigantos,

        This is a Phillies thread and we speak about the future of the Phillies, not the Giants. What’s the matter, mad that you’re “gigantos” are going to miss the playoffs and want to give me a hard time about trashing some blog writer’s piece by a guy that I never heard of?

      • The Common Man - Aug 31, 2011 at 2:13 PM

        ‘Cepts, I only know the guy personally because of his writing. Which he has done a lot of. For years, and years, and years. It’s not my fault you apparently decided to start reading about baseball yesterday. The fact is that most people who follow baseball, and who have been reading about it on the internet, know who Rany is. You, as this comment thread makes clear, are apparently not indicative of this group. You are ill-informed and ignorant. Rany, meanwhile, is respected. And, more importantly, he’s respected by the respected. Neither of which describes you even a little bit.

        Why should be branch out from his Royals? I assume because Grantland (another mainstream site that trusts his analysis) paid him to. Because they trust his analysis and his writing. While I tend to believe in the power of Amaro to chart a sustainable course in the relatively near future, Rany’s concerns are couched in logic and in math. Not in fandom. Which, again, is a good reason to take what he says seriously, as he’s not blinded by fandom and spittle, as you seem to be.

      • The Common Man - Aug 31, 2011 at 2:17 PM

        Nobody is going to hand you a list of writers and say “these are the names you should know.” Perhaps you should take a little ownership over your own education about who and who is not a big deal in the baseball writing game. And even if someone is not Jayson Stark, Buster Olney, or Rany Jazayerli, that doesn’t mean they don’t have something useful to say.

        Unless their name is “Halladaysbicepts”, in which case, they don’t ever have anything useful to say. Never ever.

      • halladaysbiceps - Aug 31, 2011 at 2:53 PM

        Common Man,

        You stated:

        ” It’s not my fault you apparently decided to start reading about baseball yesterday. The fact is that most people who follow baseball, and who have been reading about it on the internet, know who Rany is.”

        I’ve been watching baseball for over thirty years and have been reading about it in “Newspapers” for that long. Just like I never heard about you and your little “Platoonadvantage” blog as well as this Rany’s blog. Don’t tell me I don’t read or know baseball. You people crititice me as a commenter, but you have your own blog. Why do you care that much about what I say? Did I hurt your feeling, platoonadvantage? Write on your own blog. Like I said, I just comment on an NBC website.

        You guys, in my opinion, are professional writer wanabes. You have your own daytime jobs but have to come on an NBC sports blog and flaunt your aspirations. I’m not impressed. Get a life and stop busting my stones.

      • uberfatty - Aug 31, 2011 at 3:05 PM

        Hate to break it to you ‘cepts, but writers who are paid for their writing and analysis by sites like Fangraphs and Grantland are professional writers, by definition.

        And you are write, you are just one measly commenter on a blog, spouting an opinion with no facts to back it up. Unlike the “bloggers” who actually know what they are talking about.

      • halladaysbiceps - Aug 31, 2011 at 3:16 PM

        OK. Uberfatty. You got me. I have a simple question for you. Why do you or anyone else care what I think about the article in this thread or the writter? Answer that. Are all you guy’s related to this Rany guy? Seriously.

      • Alex K - Aug 31, 2011 at 3:33 PM

        People are getting on your case because 1) they thought your opinion was incorrect 2) you made unwarranted mean spirited copmments about a very respected baseball writer.

        I’ll turn the question on you – Why did you care enough about what someone wrote concering a baseball team to call them names?

      • halladaysbiceps - Aug 31, 2011 at 3:39 PM

        Are you joking, Alex K? There are national writers on this site that are all the time insulted for their opinions. No one ever lifts a brow. However, when hated ‘bicepts insults a blog writer of the HBT nepotism network, all hell breaks loose. Why is that the case, Alex?

      • uberfatty - Aug 31, 2011 at 4:14 PM

        “Are you joking, Alex K? There are national writers on this site that are all the time insulted for their opinions. No one ever lifts a brow. However, when hated ‘bicepts insults a blog writer of the HBT nepotism network, all hell breaks loose. Why is that the case, Alex?”

        …I have no idea what you are talking about here. I assume by national writers you mean people like Heyman, who through many years of hypocritical and poorly thought out articles actually earn some of the comments levied against them. The comments are also usually kept about how stupid someone’s opinion is, like Heyman’s MVP thing the other day which was completely backwards.

        On the other hand, you are a blog commenter who insulted someone’s personal life and writing while:

        1) admitting you had never heard of them or read any other pieces they have written,
        2) bringing up even one detail of said article as a point of debate, or
        3) stating their opinion means nothing to you

        If you can’t see the difference then I don’t know what the point is in continuing.

        Finally, who are you to ask the reason for anyone taking you to task for your comments? Would any response to that question truly make any difference? Way to deflect the conversation onto other commenters’ motivations and ignore anything else.

      • Alex K - Aug 31, 2011 at 4:28 PM

        Are you talking about people who make fun of Heyman, Chass, etc.? I never support them being called names, either. I tend to disagree with a lot of what those two say, but I don’t attack them personally. So I’m not sure what you’re getting at. Are you asking why people don’t get taken to task for insulting Chass and the like? I can’t answer that. The only things I have said to you about name calling are “Calling someone a moron isn’t a personal attack anymore?” in response to you claiming you never personally attacked the writer. And the reply that you are replying to. In the second I only stated why I thought people were taking you to task. So I can’t really answer why others don’t care when some are insulted and do care when certain people are insulted.

        But if I had to hazard a guess it would be the tone in which you wrote it. Or maybe because you didn’t attack his opinion as moronic you attacked his him as moronic in general. Or maybe because you claimed that since you hadn’t heard of him his opinion was invalid.

        You didn’t answer my question? You questioned why others care what you say to respond, so why do you care enough about what Rany said to call him names?

      • halladaysbiceps - Aug 31, 2011 at 4:45 PM

        I give up, uberfatty and Alex. You both are as dumb as door knobs and you waste my time. You obviously do not see my point of view nor ever will. Be lovers of this Rany guy and all that is good with comment protocol. Instead of moron and clown, I should have called Rany a baseball savior. I could have escaped the Rany lover’s tentacles.

      • Alex K - Aug 31, 2011 at 5:15 PM

        This went in the wrong place before.

        Jim-

        What was your point? I’m curious. Was your whole point you disagree with Rany? If that’s the case I got your point loud and clear.

        You could have simply disagreed with him and stated why you did so. Maybe take your own advice and just talk baseball, not call people morons and clowns.

        I try and be respectful to everyone I comment with on this board…I would ask the same from you when commenting back to me.

      • The Common Man - Aug 31, 2011 at 6:58 PM

        I still can’t get over the notion that you’re incredulous that you haven’t heard of Rany, when so many others clearly have and appreciate his work. And yet, somehow, that’s Rany’s fault that you’re such an ignorant wretch. Should every single baseball writer simply come to your house and talk you through their work so that they’re sure you, because you’re so special and enlightened, understand it? That seems to be the only other option here, other than you getting off your ass (or on your ass, as it were) and doing a little research on your own, dou’cepts.

    • zakharovsa - Aug 31, 2011 at 11:43 AM

      So which points do you feel he got incorrectly? And what credentials must one have before one criticizes God’s Own Team?

    • Craig Calcaterra - Aug 31, 2011 at 11:45 AM

      ‘cepts: I know Rany personally. He’s one of the more respected baseball analysts going.

      • halladaysbiceps - Aug 31, 2011 at 11:49 AM

        I’m sure you do. However, he’s not known in mainstream. Just like that Sean Forman guy from a few weeks ago, and he was buried. It seems to me that every blogger out there has to be known by everyone and there opinions are gospel. He says the team will be in decline in a short time span. I disagree with him 100%.

      • halladaysbiceps - Aug 31, 2011 at 11:52 AM

        Notice there to I didn’t insult the guy personally, besides calling his writing clownish. How can anyone with any incite say this team is going to be in decline. They have one of the best farm systems/scouting departments and have a payroll that can replace any player on the fly.

      • skipperxc - Aug 31, 2011 at 11:52 AM

        Heyman’s known in the mainstream. It’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

      • zakharovsa - Aug 31, 2011 at 11:54 AM

        Sean Forman runs a site called baseball-reference and writes for the New York Times, a publication you may have heard of.

      • The Dangerous Mabry - Aug 31, 2011 at 11:55 AM

        The man co-founded Baseball Prospectus. It’s not ESPN, but it’s an extremely well-known source of baseball analysis.

      • Mark - Aug 31, 2011 at 12:02 PM

        For a guy who routinely posts in MLB fourms such as this, biceps, it’s pretty surprising that you wouldn’t know who Rany is. While I don’t follow BP, it’s very well respected, and Rany is well known as an analyst.

        Just because the content hits home and you don’t agree with it, doesn’t give you the right to blast off insults like that or suggest he’s an idiot. That’s the kind of crap that got you banned in the first place.

        Next time, you might want to actually look into who you’re insulting, before you go off spouting like that.

      • Ace - Aug 31, 2011 at 12:11 PM

        Yeah ‘cepts, I remember you heaping your disdain on Sean Forman in that thread a couple weeks ago, which was also really uncalled for. Forman created Baseball-Reference.com, the single greatest resource for baseball statistics on the web. His influence on baseball analysis is immeasurable. (Also, I find it amusing that you dismiss a guy for blogging about baseball as a side-job on the former Shyster’s blog, of all places.)

      • gogigantos - Aug 31, 2011 at 12:21 PM

        the man said he knew him personally, like a friend, and you rant on in an insulting manner that makes it impossible to ever read your comments again, you have had a bad bad week with established journalists and bloggers little t
        oh my

      • phillyphreak - Aug 31, 2011 at 12:27 PM

        Bicepts- if by buried you mean you commented more than Sean then sure…you totally buried him.

      • Alex K - Aug 31, 2011 at 12:36 PM

        Calling someone a moron isn’t a personal attack anymore?

      • The Common Man - Aug 31, 2011 at 1:22 PM

        Rany is known in the mainstream. He helped found BP, has written for ESPN, and now is on Grantland. He’s just not known by idiots who apparently haven’t cared enough about the game to read about it over the past 15 years.

    • thefalcon123 - Aug 31, 2011 at 11:52 AM

      Wow! Mellow out dude! By all means, explain why his criticism is wrong, but bizarre ad hominem attacks rarely helps one win arguments. I’m all for insulting people, but this reads like you’re accusing him of pouring sugar in your case tank and calling your mother a whore.

      • thefalcon123 - Aug 31, 2011 at 11:54 AM

        …and yes, I managed to misspell “gas” in the post above as “case”. That’s pretty incredible, actually.

      • halladaysbiceps - Aug 31, 2011 at 11:56 AM

        Not at all. I threw an initial statement out there and I supported it through conversation above. He, in my opinion, wrote a piece that doesn’t take into account the great scouting department that the Phillies have as well as the payroll aspect.

        If you want to write an article about future projection, fine. Don’t tell me that this is something the Phillies won’t substain. BS. I disagree.

      • uberfatty - Aug 31, 2011 at 12:04 PM

        Cepts you didn’t support anything above. You called him a clown, moron, and also said that his opinion means jack to you because you have never heard of him before.

      • thefalcon123 - Aug 31, 2011 at 4:29 PM

        How did you support it above? You’re defense was pretty much on par with “I called him a motherf**ker because he IS a motherf**ker”. Then said he was a nobody because he only co-founded one of the best most cited baseball sites on the web and then blabbed about Sean Foreman whose website gets cited constantly by “mainstream” baseball writers. You further defend this by trying to claim that only people on networks have the smarts to talk about baseball, ignoring the fact that a network employs Tim McCarver.

        But I will say, you argument that “don’t tell me that this is something the Phillies won’t substain. BS. I disagree.” was solid material. You’ve clearly though hard and rationally and put forth a lot of facts to back up your position. I plan to use your argument to take a day off work.

        Employer: Why didn’t you come in yesterday?
        ME: Don’t tell me I wasn’t here. That bullsh*t! I disagree

        A winning strategy!

    • vintage1496 - Aug 31, 2011 at 12:01 PM

      Wasn’t it just last week that you criticized a Philly journalist who you “never heard of,” only to find he won a Pulitzer and had been writing for the Inquirer for like 30 years?

    • phillyphreak - Aug 31, 2011 at 12:10 PM

      Bicepts that was a totally uncalled for attack.

      And you know what? He’s not that off base. The Phillies are getting older and the offense isn’t what it was a few years ago. The next few years will be an interesting time for the Phillies. Do they go all in every year and buy free agents (can they even afford to do this?) or do they ride this wave and then restock the farm through the draft. Every team goes through these ups and downs (minus the Yankees probably). It’s not a personal attack on your team if there is a shortcoming on the horizon.

      I think that there is talent in the farm system (and with the younger ML players) but it’s not A+ talent. Let’s not confuse Worley with a no 1 starter or Mayberry Jr as a top OF. They’re good players but you need to give them more than half of a season to show you that they can continue with the current paces they are on right now (see JA Happ). And Galvis is more known for his glove than his offensive ability.

      But the one thing about farm systems is that they aren’t static. What the situation is now could be different from a few years from now. We have to let it play out and realize that the team will (hopefully) address these concerns.

      What I don’t understand, as a die hard Phillies fan, is why every time someone writes a critique of this team, do people take it so personally. If you can’t see weaknesses that may exist, then you’re not paying close enough attention. The Phillies front office needs to see these weaknesses (and they do notice them) and be proactive in correcting them for the future.

      Being a fan doesn’t mean that you have to always be so rah rah rah about your team.

      • vintage1496 - Aug 31, 2011 at 12:12 PM

        Possibly the best comment I’ve read on this message board at any time. A+, fine sir.

      • dutchbrowncoat - Aug 31, 2011 at 12:59 PM

        “Possibly the best comment by a Philies fan I’ve read on this message board at any time. A+, fine sir.”

        FTFY

      • evo621 - Aug 31, 2011 at 1:44 PM

        Will someone please spell biceps right?

      • FC - Aug 31, 2011 at 2:08 PM

        I’m not blind to weaknesses I just have higher confidence that the FO will successfully navigate the issues. Unless I’m misinterpreting what “murky” means.

    • gogigantos - Aug 31, 2011 at 12:18 PM

      HBT co founder
      been reading him lot longer than have been ignoring you
      thanks for your best behavior
      little t rises his ugly head and goes strait for the insult
      the man is not not not a clown,,, mirrors little t
      now you say he is a moron,,,,,, little t little t
      get a grip man,,, Rany is one of the Gods and you are
      but
      a
      little
      t
      forever and a day more turdly one

      • Gobias Industries - Aug 31, 2011 at 12:31 PM

        What in the hell just happened?

    • mississippimusicman - Aug 31, 2011 at 12:25 PM

      …and ‘cepts just defined “Ad hominem attack” pretty well with his last sentence there. On most boards, that gets a ban hammer.

    • Gobias Industries - Aug 31, 2011 at 12:34 PM

      I fondly recall the days when HBT=HardBall Talk and not HalladaysBiceps Talk.

      • gogigantos - Aug 31, 2011 at 12:40 PM

        if it was spelled with a little t,,,,,,,,

    • phillyphreak - Aug 31, 2011 at 12:55 PM

      You know what’s funny about this post. “Stick to treating skin disease, moron,”…..

      Dermatologists are pretty smart people…..and I’ll preempt the attacks…it’s not all pimples (see Seinfeld).

      • phillyphreak - Aug 31, 2011 at 12:55 PM

        WTF why did this post here? HBT fix your site!

    • gogigantos - Aug 31, 2011 at 2:05 PM

      you called him a clown
      you didn’t
      you said what you did and meant it
      back down and mmmmmmmmmmmmm little t
      you get a rise out of me and make me hard
      in a totally straight and angry angry unthinking want to (#$(*#&$ you
      shallow of me
      maybe we should both return to Kindy and relearn the things we are assumed to know when we interact with other humans,,, internet or otherwise,,,, dammmms Sam you make me hard and angry

    • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Aug 31, 2011 at 4:35 PM

      I keep coming back in here and clicking thumbs down on the ‘Cepts post, but then I realize, I already did as soon as a logged in…

    • Alex K - Aug 31, 2011 at 5:10 PM

      Jim-

      What was your point? I’m curious. Was your whole point you disagree with Rany? If that’s the case I got your point loud and clear.

      You could have simply disagreed with him and stated why you did so. Maybe take your own advice and just talk baseball, not call people morons and clowns.

      I try and be respectful to everyone I comment with on this board…I would ask the same from you when commenting back to me.

  3. halladaysbiceps - Aug 31, 2011 at 11:41 AM

    And there is a cliff up ahead, Rany, and his name is Cliff Lee.

  4. grapes911 - Aug 31, 2011 at 11:44 AM

    The Yankees and Red Sox don’t have a window for winning. They’ve built franchises that can be competitive year after year. The Phillies are approaching that and can sustain it if done correctly. As long as they keep the stadium packed they make money that can be spent on players. Player help them win, which keeps the stadium packed. I know its not that simple or all clubs would do it, but I certainly think it’s a possibility. Plus, the farm isn’t great right now, but it’s not as bleak as some make it out to be.

    • zakharovsa - Aug 31, 2011 at 11:46 AM

      The Phillies don’t have an unlimited budget, and they’re about to pay a ludicrous amount of money to a decent 1B on the decline. So there’s that.

      • besnoah - Aug 31, 2011 at 12:00 PM

        What are the Phillies budgetary restrictions? Seriously, does anyone know?

        They’ve increased player payroll, essentially, every year since CBP opened. As Rany points out in the article, they’re second only to the Yankees in payroll. They’re making money hand over fist and selling out every night. They have a large regional fanbase and the third highest TV ratings in baseball.

        Maybe they won’t have the capacity to deal with Howard’s ludicrous contract and maybe they’ll have to slash contracts and sell-off players, but, since moving into CBP, all they’ve done is spend money and I have no reason to believe that anyone not in the front office knows their budgetary limitations.

      • vintage1496 - Aug 31, 2011 at 12:39 PM

        Since moving in to CBP, their attendance has increased every year, which led to their payroll increasing every year, which led t their record improving every year. Teams tend to have higher attendance when they put a better product on the field. New stadium = more fans = more money = better team = more fans = more money = better team, etc etc.

        If/when the product doesn’t improve, attendance will drop, money will dry up… you see where this is going. That’s their budgetary restrictions.

      • besnoah - Aug 31, 2011 at 12:52 PM

        That’s not a budgetary restriction, it’s a hypothetical decline in revenue based on the same team decline hypothetical.

        Additionally, attendance did not improve every year at CBP within the same time frame, it fluctuated pretty significantly between 2003 and 2006.

  5. kopy - Aug 31, 2011 at 11:47 AM

    I don’t know why people have to get so upset. He’s not saying anything that a Phillies fan that follows the team closely doesn’t already know, except for a hefty amount of historical evidence and comparisons.

    • kopy - Aug 31, 2011 at 11:48 AM

      *shouldn’t already know

    • evo621 - Aug 31, 2011 at 1:46 PM

      *selective – highly selective – historical evidence.

  6. Jonny 5 - Aug 31, 2011 at 11:48 AM

    Matt Rizzotti
    John Mayberry Jr.
    Dom Brown
    Trevor May
    Jose Rodriguez
    Freddy Glavis
    These are off the top of my head. They’re very good players, and if I had the time I’d actually look up more top prospects in the Farm. But these guys I listed are really good imo.

    • Jonny 5 - Aug 31, 2011 at 11:53 AM

      How can he write about the future of the Phillies and ignore the farm? I think that’s a typical bait job really… Shortsighted bashing to get clicks really… He looks like he worked hard on that article, but not hard enough imo.

      Oh and i left Worly and Schwimmer out too.

      • manifunk - Aug 31, 2011 at 11:56 AM

        Worley is at best a 4th starter and Schwimmer is still an unknown quantity at this point.

      • Jonny 5 - Aug 31, 2011 at 12:02 PM

        Halladay was lucky to be a #4 when he was a rookie too. Then next season his era was over 10. Your “prediction” is as meaningless as Madam Cleo’s were.

      • manifunk - Aug 31, 2011 at 12:04 PM

        …erewhile yours is the gospel truth?

        For every Holliday turnaround there’s 10 J.A. Happ’s declining as predicted

      • Mark - Aug 31, 2011 at 12:06 PM

        He means Worley’s ceiling is a #4 starter, not that he’s currently a #4 starter. Halladay was always projected to be a top of the rotation starter.

        I don’t believe anybody has ever suggested he’s a top of the rotation guy. As a guy who’s a neutral pitcher (not particularly strong FB/GB) who does half his games in Philly, it’s likely that he’ll start giving up some more homers. And when he does, he’ll probably sit around a 3.75ish ERA or slightly worse. Not elite like Hamels/Doc/Lee, but a viable mid to back of the rotation guy depending on where he settles in as.

        XFIP said 3.69, so I was kind of close.

      • Jonny 5 - Aug 31, 2011 at 12:08 PM

        No, I’m not saying that. I’m just tired of people acting like they KNOW how a rookie will turn out when there are so many that transform later on down the road. Nobody KNOWS what Worley will be in 5 seasons do they? It’s a guess based on the past performances of a kid.

      • Jonny 5 - Aug 31, 2011 at 12:10 PM

        And I never suggested he is a top of the order guy or lucky to be a #4. He’s growing and you can’t put a ceiling on him right now.

      • kellyb9 - Aug 31, 2011 at 12:16 PM

        @manifunk – For every rookie sensation, there’s a billion “can’t miss” prospects that never make it out of AA. Worly may never be an ace on this staff, but I think its shortsighted to ignore the success he’s already had. I’m sure if he wasn’t surrounded by players that could be ace’s on everyone else’s staff, he’d be pitching a little bit higher in the rotation.

      • thefalcon123 - Aug 31, 2011 at 4:34 PM

        “Halladay was lucky to be a #4 when he was a rookie too. Then next season his era was over 10. Your “prediction” is as meaningless as Madam Cleo’s were.”

        And Rick Ankiel was a #1 the day he set foot on a big league mound. How’d that work out?

    • manifunk - Aug 31, 2011 at 11:55 AM

      As a Phillies fan, let me say that this is a pretty sad list of prospects. Mayberry is 27, a little old to be called a “prospect”. Rizzotti is gonna be mainly a platoon player. All the other people you listed (Brown aside) are still a couple years out. Close-to-the-majors talent in the organization is a problem with the team.

      Brown is good, but it’s hard to be an impact player if you’re wallowing in AAA.

    • phrontiersman - Aug 31, 2011 at 11:59 AM

      Brown and May are the only guys who look to potentially be impact Major Leaguers. Mayberry’s hot streak right now is nice, but I think we all know he’s destined to be a 4th OF (though I guess there’s “impact” in that if he’s good). Rizzotti is hitting well in AA but at 25 and in his second tour, Rodriguez might be a depth reliever and Galvis could be a utility guy.

      It’s not bursting with depth, but it isn’t barren, either. I think it falls somewhere in a gray area between Rany and PHI perspective.

      • Jonny 5 - Aug 31, 2011 at 12:06 PM

        I’m not saying the cupboard is brimming with outstanding talent. I’m saying he’s ignoring the Farm which is short sighted. I’m also saying there are guys in the farm that can be good for the Phills in the future. Which the author totally circumvents. He didn’t do a good job here.

  7. hateradeonrocks - Aug 31, 2011 at 11:49 AM

    haters. this article sounds like, “we know we can’t beat the phillies but hopefully they won’t be this good forever.” So when Domonic Brown and Mayberry are our star players hitting 300 and hitting 30 HR’s what happens? That article is just false the young players will develop and some will become star players.

    • thefalcon123 - Aug 31, 2011 at 11:55 AM

      John Mayberry ain’t that young.

    • manifunk - Aug 31, 2011 at 11:57 AM

      You’ve named a 4th OFer who is gonna be 28 next year an a horribly-managed prospect who doesn’t have any friends among the front office and may not even make the starting roster. If we phillies fans are banking our futures on the likes of Mayberry and Brown, we’re gonna be disappointed.

    • phillyphreak - Aug 31, 2011 at 12:18 PM

      Can you point me to the season where Mayberry even hit .300 with 30HR even in the minors?

  8. Bryz - Aug 31, 2011 at 11:50 AM

    @ ‘cepts: If you read Joe Posnanski regularly, then you should know Rany Jazayerli.

    • zakharovsa - Aug 31, 2011 at 11:50 AM

      JoePos is one of those damn statheads (i.e. people who apply some sort of critical thinking to the sport) so I wouldn’t count on that.

      • gogigantos - Aug 31, 2011 at 12:32 PM

        so, tell me, how is Poz not one of the best sports writers of our time, who makes a lot of a lot of a lot of words available to us all for free for many years and has, maybe not, influenced the thinking of most clear thinking of us reading for years,,,,, sarcasm detected above,, none here,,, absolutely, how can you call Rany a clown when he is a man known by one name only here and near everywhere baseball fans read????????

  9. hateradeonrocks - Aug 31, 2011 at 11:51 AM

    and craig calcaterra’s last 15 articles have been about the phillies declining. Someone’s scared that it won’t happen. Craig also the braves have an even smaller window than the phillies. they won’t be able to re-sign all of their pitching. Plus the future star of the team hasn’t proven he’s even a big league player yet. Worry about the braves.

  10. andrewlondon22 - Aug 31, 2011 at 11:52 AM

    Of course the future looks murky when you are on the verge of the best regular season in the history of baseball. That’s like saying you can only get better next year after going 0-162. I’m sure they won’t consistently win over 105 games each year, but a contender each is what fans want.

    • Kevin S. - Aug 31, 2011 at 12:35 PM

      Alright, lay off the Kool Aid. The Phillies are going to win 100 games. They aren’t going to win 110.

    • phukyouk - Aug 31, 2011 at 12:42 PM

      ” best regular season in the history of baseball.”

      ummmm what? the Phils got 29 games left and lets say that they win the rest of their games for the rest of the season (wont happen) that would only put them at 114 which is 2 less than the (2001?) Mariners and equal to the 1998 Yanks. now lets be a bit realistic and say that the Phils lose at least 8 – 10 more games this season. that puts them right about 105, while nice, is not close to the best. the 2009 Yanks won 103 and while impressive is not all that. don’t get me wrong.. 105 is a great number, hell anything over 98 is great i would think but i cannot STAND when fanatics get all ” greatest of all time BS”. seriously check your numbers before posting something like that.

    • thefalcon123 - Aug 31, 2011 at 4:45 PM

      Best regular season in history?

      Other teams that have had a .648 winning percentage or higher

      1927 Yankees- 110-44
      2004 Cardinans- 105-57
      2001 Mariners 116-46
      1954 Indians- 111-43
      1946 Red Sox- 104-50
      1969 Orioles- 109-53
      1970 Orioles- 108-54

      …and that’s just off the top of my head!

  11. joshuavkidd - Aug 31, 2011 at 11:53 AM

    i keep hearing that the Phil’s have no farm system yet every year they trade this same farm system for star players… Plus the Phillies used to spend no money, that’s clearly changed. Tell me the great team, that has a deep farm system, and isn’t spending a lot of money. They don’t exist!!! One,. Two year wonders at best and then they crap out.

    • zakharovsa - Aug 31, 2011 at 11:56 AM

      You can still fool dumb GMs with prospects that aren’t all that great. See: the Oswalt trade, aka Ed Wade is dumb part XXVIII

    • Mark - Aug 31, 2011 at 12:08 PM

      I don’t think the point is that the Phillies never had a strong farm. They had guys like Bourn, Singleton, Happ, Cosart etc. But now those guys are gone, and the major league ready talent is limited to Brown and…well that’s pretty much it.

      There’s a few guys in the lower minors with high ceilings, but no guarantees they pan out. And with the Phillies aging roster, I think the point is that there isn’t really anybody ready to step in.

  12. vince9663 - Aug 31, 2011 at 11:54 AM

    If I’m going to bust his chops for anything, it’s for retreading that whole “OMG they lost all the tiem b4 the 1950’s hurr” line to try and make a criticism of the organization today. I tuned out after that.

    As for the mined quote, that’s not criticism, that’s a fact — fact the fans have known for a while. I think most of us have gotten over the freakout stage.

    • evo621 - Aug 31, 2011 at 12:28 PM

      Agree. How many WS did the Red Sox win since the 19-teens again? What relevance does that have when they are a juggernaut today?

  13. Dash Treyhorn - Aug 31, 2011 at 11:54 AM

    As a Phillies fan, I have to agree that he isn’t wrong in the sense that the team is old. The core is old, the pitching staff is aging (but will be effective for a while), and they don’t have a ton of MLB ready talent in the farm system.

    That said, it’s old hat (the “Phillies are old schtick” has been done to death this season), and it’s short sighted because the author doesn’t take into account the fact that the Phillies have a great scouting program and are very good when it comes to drafting talent, which is why they can afford to make a big trade every season.

    True, the team is old, but it’s foolish to think that they aren’t going to bring in more young talent via free agency or trades over the next few years to complement their pitching staff. There is a lot to like about the future of the Phillies. Just because they are aging now doesn’t mean they are going to turn into dust at the end of the season.

    Also, the author does make two bogus claims. One, that the Phillies’ farm system is “tapped,” as he put it. It seems that way, but the Phillies have no shortage of talent at the lower levels and are far from lacking bullets and future stars.

    Two, that “the Phillies’ offense isn’t particularly good.” It’s easy to look at runs scored as a way to judge an offense from an overall standpoint, but since Utley returned from the DL in late May, they are averaging nearly five runs per game.

    As a Phillies fan, the future concerns me, due to age and injury concerns and Ryan Howard’s contract, but having been a first-hand witness of how this team has changed its philosophy since the first part of the last decade, I can honestly say that this team won’t rest on its laurels while the rest of the division makes moves.

    • Jonny 5 - Aug 31, 2011 at 12:15 PM

      I’m not “concerned” for their future. I’ve been a lifelong Phills fan and if they sink back to “middling” I’ll be ok. I’m in love with the fact that Amaro and Montgomery have been able to pull this off and i’m not likely to forget it either.

    • evo621 - Aug 31, 2011 at 12:30 PM

      I’m sure the Reds would trade their “explosive” offense for the success the Phillies have had with their “bad” offense.

      • Alex K - Aug 31, 2011 at 1:38 PM

        I’m sure the Phillies would trade their offensive output with the Reds output.

      • evo621 - Aug 31, 2011 at 1:50 PM

        If the Reds explosive offense can’t hit good pitching (which the last two nights and last year’s playoffs demonstrated) then what good are they?

      • Alex K - Aug 31, 2011 at 2:27 PM

        So you’re telling me the Phillies don’t want to have an offense as good as the Reds?

      • evo621 - Aug 31, 2011 at 2:38 PM

        No, I’m saying it’s a zero sum argument if there is no improvement against good pitching, which is all you will see in the playoffs; regular season stats mean nothing in Philly anymore (unfortunately). Plus, Phils offense since Chase has come back and since acquiring Pence is almost tops in the league anyway. I heart Votto, though, that dude is a stud against non-elite pitching.

      • Alex K - Aug 31, 2011 at 2:56 PM

        So if the Phillies had the same pitching and the Reds offense they wouldn’t be a better team? You don’t think they would have a better chance of winning the World Series?

      • thefalcon123 - Aug 31, 2011 at 4:49 PM

        Seriously evo…no offense, but this is the single dumbest thing I’ve ever read.

      • evo621 - Aug 31, 2011 at 5:01 PM

        @Alex K – regular season? possibly, but PHI has already closed the gap to a negligible amount at least in terms of runs since Utley’s return, even better since Pence. Playoffs? No, I do not think it would make a difference, since they cannot hit good pitching any better than the Phils can. Interesting to think about though.

        @thefalcon123 – thanks, do tell!

    • FC - Aug 31, 2011 at 2:15 PM

      Run differential is a great tool for season long trends. Phillies are +167. The Offense is not #1 but it doesn’t have to be it’s good enough. The Reds have scored 629 runs vs the Phillies 596 runs so the difference isn’t all that great, but they’ve allowed 590 runs vs the Phillies 429… which is the best in baseball BTW.

  14. papasadappa - Aug 31, 2011 at 11:55 AM

    I have read a couple of these “aging phillies” articles and this one is actually has some meat to it. This isn’t some “philly basher” but someone who has actually researched trends and looked at the Phillies division competitors and made a pretty good hypothesis. Like any hypothesis it may or may not pan out but at least it has some merit to it for discussion and analysis.

    • Jonny 5 - Aug 31, 2011 at 11:57 AM

      It’s not Meaty enough imo.. Where’s the Farm “meat”?

      • papasadappa - Aug 31, 2011 at 12:04 PM

        he does address the farm system correctly in stating that the team is missing an impact bat currently and that they do have some promising arms. I dont see anything wrong with that

      • uberfatty - Aug 31, 2011 at 12:09 PM

        Jonny, the thing is that every team has prospects. Compared to other teams, I don’t feel like the Phillies’ group will be near the top next year. So it is erroneous to assume that their prospects will continue to lead them to glory.

      • Jonny 5 - Aug 31, 2011 at 12:21 PM

        Who said the farm was going to lead anyone to glory? I said it was pretty much ignored in the article. And yes, compared to other teams with much less money their farm isn’t a top notch farm. But they don’t need it as much either because, like I said, they have more money.

      • uberfatty - Aug 31, 2011 at 1:21 PM

        But it wasn’t ignored. He mentioned the farm when discussing all of the high ceiling prospects traded away recently.

  15. prionogenic - Aug 31, 2011 at 11:56 AM

    With Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay, and Cole Hamels (at least for another year) leading the rotation, Hunter Pence, Chase Utley, and Ryan Howard in the line up for the foreseeable future, it’s hard to imagine this team being bad in the next few seasons.

    And although the Phillies don’t have top prospects in the higher levels of the minors, they do have a number in the lower ranks. Also, the Phillies do a great job of bringing up their young pitchers that weren’t highly lauded and turning them into effective major leaguers–examples of which are Vance Worley, Antonio Bastardo, Michael Stutes, JA Happ (who they flipped for Oswalt), etc. Moreover, the team has done a good job in past years of finding underappreciated talent like Shane Victorino, Jayson Werth, John Mayberry Jr.

    Although I don’t think the Phillies will always be the top team in the NL (or even NL East), Ruben Amaro Jr. and the front office, scouting team, and draft selections often seem to put the team in a good place.

  16. Chris Fiorentino - Aug 31, 2011 at 11:56 AM

    OK, I don’t necessarily think this guy is a hater(although see #4). He’s just wrong…unless he is defining the future as 2016.

    First, the Phillies future is murky…as murky as the Yankees and the Red Sox futures. Yet, while it is a known fact that they will spend the money, why won’t the Phillies? They sell out their ballpark and they print money in the basement of CBP.

    Second, Doc will be around until at the very least through 2014 and Lee through 2015. Hamels will sign a 5 year deal for what Weaver got or maybe a couple million more a year. So he will be around through 2017. Throw in Worley and others and you are talking about a pretty formidable starting staff for at least another 3 or 4 years.

    Third, the Phillies are built for today…with a very big eye on tomorrow. They draft extremely well, and still have a pretty stocked farm system even after all their trades for “overvalued” all-star players mid-season. This guy makes it sound like the cupboard is bare when from everything I have read, it is definitely not.

    Fourth, why is this article even written? I mean, I don’t remember seeing an article about how the Yankees were destined to suck again in 2001, after their run, when they went from sucking for 15 years to 4 WS in 5 years. Or an article about how the Red Sox were going to suck after their second world series in 2007.

    Why does it SEEM that every national writer gets their kicks picking on the Phillies? Again, we are talking about something that may or may not begin 3 or 4 years from now. And this article is written today? Why?

    • vince9663 - Aug 31, 2011 at 12:07 PM

      Page views (I have ads blocked btw, sorry). The boss says “those Phillies fans show up in droves when we write about them, keep turning the crank on articles about them”. Or in this case, blog posts about blog posts.

    • Mark - Aug 31, 2011 at 12:17 PM

      I wouldn’t say Boston’s future is murkier. Their farm is generally considered better and has players that are closer to the majors. Their core guys are entering their primes or currently in it, whereas a lot of Phils core players are on the wrong side of 30.

      Doc & Lee will be around for a fair amount of time, but the question is how effective they’ll be. Doc’s gonna be 35 and Lee will be 33 next year. They’re still extremely dominant, but it’s a good question as to how long they’ll stay that way. Don’t get me wrong – I think Doc will still be dominant for the next few years, but it is a question worth asking.

      The Phils do have some high ceiling guys, but they come with risks, and they’re not close to the majors. They can keep flipping them for vets, and that would make them better for today. Which is fine, because they’re built to win. But it would make them a riskier bet in the future, which again is his point.

      Why was the article written? Because the Phils are a dominant team, and it’s a legitimate, and interesting point to wonder how long they’ll remain that with an aging core.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 31, 2011 at 1:17 PM

      I mean, I don’t remember seeing an article about how the Yankees were destined to suck again in 2001, after their run, when they went from sucking for 15 years to 4 WS in 5 years

      Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty. Book by Buster Olney written about the ’01 World Series loss. Should check it out sometime.

      Why does it SEEM that every national writer gets their kicks picking on the Phillies? Again, we are talking about something that may or may not begin 3 or 4 years from now. And this article is written today? Why?

      Why do you fans get so riled up about people writing anything non-positive about your team? You don’t question the actual facts, you just complain that someone is writing something negative? It’s getting to the point of acting like a spoiled child “wahh why won’t they say anything nice about my team?”

      As Craig and others have mentioned above, Rany is a really respected writer in the biz. If you have 20 minutes to spare, enjoy reading about history and a little about religion, read this piece(1). If you have another 20 minutes to spare and want to read a piece [albeit dated] on the protests in the Middle East, read this piece (2)

      1. http://www.ranyontheroyals.com/2010/07/abd-el-kader-and-massacre-of-damascus.html
      2. http://www.ranyontheroyals.com/2011/02/roots-of-revolution.html

      • Chris Fiorentino - Aug 31, 2011 at 1:59 PM

        Church, as I have said a couple other times on this post, I just don’t get why this kind of article is written about a team who hasn’t even won SQUAT. Why is the national media so concerned with the “murky” future of the Phillies? Did I miss the article proclaiming the Phillies the winners of the next 10 World Series? If so, please point me to it.

        You call it “riled up”. I am just looking for a purpose for this article.

        p.s. And Buster Olney is an ass and that book only proves it to me even more.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Aug 31, 2011 at 2:02 PM

        Also, don’t lump me in with bicepts here. I have no personal problem with the author or his baseball intelligence.

        I just have a problem with his reasoning behind writing an article that has no basis in reality. He never explains what he means by “future”. If he said “The Phillies are going to have problems next year” or in 2013, then there would be a place to begin debating. To say the future is “murky at best” is nothing more than a cop-out because it is too vague. If he means 2013, then tell me exactly why, without the pithy comment on Howard. If he means 2015, then why write this article today when nobody know what their future will be in 4 years.

      • uberfatty - Aug 31, 2011 at 2:40 PM

        National writers are paid for one thing: page clicks. Nothing gets more page clicks than writing something negative about the Phillies, hence the stories about the Phillies. Then the Phans come out and complain and whine and question (not lumping you in with ‘cepts on the personal attacks of course), and the cycle repeats. It doesn’t need to be wondered why he would write it. The article generates discussion from the very people who complain about why it was written in the first place. Why was it written? Asked and answered. Please move along to another debate/complaint.

        My question is, why whenever someone writes a well thought out piece that is researched and written professionally, why are the attacks on the motivation of the writer rather than actually trying to analyze what he is saying? Who cares about the motivation? It was a thought provoking piece (obviously) and I have seen little by ways of analysis of the author’s general point. Which is that Phillies fans should enjoy the ride because nothing is guaranteed in the future (hence MURKY, which implies “unclear” rather than “bad”). There is a lot of uncertainty built into having an old group of position players and not a lot of immediate help.

        Back to the topic at hand:
        Chris, I do agree with you on the pitching looking dominant for the next 2-3 years at least, and I think Rany would agree with that as well. His “murkiness” as shown in the artile is with the age/injury/decline of most of the old position players on the team, who can not reasonably be expected to contribute in the future what they have contributed in the past. Phillies will certainly be a good/great team for the next 2-3 years assuming health of their pitching no matter what becomes of the position players and prospects.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 31, 2011 at 2:43 PM

        I just have a problem with his reasoning behind writing an article that has no basis in reality

        There’s plenty of reality in the article. Am I reading the wrong version or something? He goes about half the article praising the moves RAJ has made and how great the pitching staff has been. Does that not happen? He also mentions how the majority of the hitters are getting older and/or declining. Is that not true?

        I just don’t get why this kind of article is written about a team who hasn’t even won SQUAT

        You have and I haven’t got to that part yet. What else do you want them to write about? He’s a paid writer for a major online (haha, sorry difficult to say with a straight face) sports site. The WC/Division races are practically wrapped up. The only intrigue is the major awards at the end but that’s been written to the death about. No one seems to care about Yankees/Sox save those fans. So they have to write something.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Aug 31, 2011 at 3:03 PM

        uber…OK, so you are agreeing with me that his “murky at best” comment is likely looking at 2014…if so, then doesn’t that seem a bit unfair at best and stupid at worst when most team’s 2014 can probably be described as “murky”? Also, I could go point by point on all the inaccuracies of his article, but I would just advise searching for “evo621″ and read what he wrote. It’s good stuff.

        church…so “what else does he have to write about” is a good enough reason to write an article that bashes the Phillies future? OK, I guess so. And if you don’t think that writing “The Phillies future is “murky at best” is bashing their future, then you and I can agree to disagree on that one.

        Which is where my biggest complaint about the entire article is…

        The Phillies offense is down because they are down to 6th in the NL in runs. However, it really isn’t if he took the time to look at the offense SINCE UTLEY’S RETURN he would see that they are AVERAGING 5 runs a game since his return. So how down is it really???

        The Phillies pitching should be OK for the next few years, provided they sign Hamels and he, along with Lee and Doc, continue to press each other for the Cy Young award every year.

        So where’s the murkiness of the future? Am I allowed to disagree with the guy or is that a personal attack? Or is it me just whining that the article is all bunnies and flowers about the Phillies?

  17. yankeesgameday - Aug 31, 2011 at 11:57 AM

    Eh, they have been saying this about the Yanks forever yet they won 99 division titles on a row. Don’t let it get you down phillie fan, you have a good gm, and ownership that will spend money. Let’s revisit this article in ten years and see what actually happened. I have a feeling this Braves are going to be red headed step daughters for a while still.

    Why’d I say that, I loooooove red heads.

  18. icanspeel - Aug 31, 2011 at 11:58 AM

    I’m impartial to the Phillies, but really, they are 1 of the best, if not the best team this year and all it takes is a few free agent signings to make the future less murky. I think they will be fine for years to come

  19. thefalcon123 - Aug 31, 2011 at 11:58 AM

    Every team has ups and downs and this like this is the cause of it. Unless you’re the Yankees, winning doesn’t always happen. I’ll use the Cardinals of the 00s as an example. They sold off their young talent for guys like Scott Rolen, Jim Edmonds, Larry Walker, etc. The won a lot of games and a World Series. Then Edmonds and Rolen got old and the Cardinals were left with a $100,000,000 roster of aging players, a depleted minor league system and were no longer an automatic in to the post season.

    It happens to pretty much every successful team.

    • evo621 - Aug 31, 2011 at 12:35 PM

      Right, but a huge missed point in the article is that he doesn’t realize that PHI has joined the BOS/NYY moneyball tandem now that virtually guarantees a competitive, if not elite, team year in/year out. Many well-regarded journalists have made the point that you cannot compare the Big 3 Moneyball teams to the rest of the league.

      • thefalcon123 - Aug 31, 2011 at 12:49 PM

        What on earth makes you think that? The Phillies are hardly the first team to ever have a 5 year run of good teams. Almost all of those teams increased payroll with attendance, won some more, then lost, lost attendance and spent less. How is this an exception?

      • evo621 - Aug 31, 2011 at 1:27 PM

        @thefalcon123 – I’m not sure how your post rebuts my post. You said: “Unless you’re the Yankees, winning doesn’t always happen.”

        My simple point is that it’s not just the Yankees (as your statement asserts) and everyone else anymore. In the mid-00s, it became NYY/BOS and everyone else. And now, its NYY/BOS/PHI and everyone else. These three teams, as you recognized with your statement quoted above, do not go through the typical down cycles as long or as deeply as the rest of the league does.

        See what I mean now?

      • nategearhart - Aug 31, 2011 at 1:40 PM

        You can’t say that the Phillies have avoided the “down cycle” just because they’ve been on top for 4 or 5 years. How long were the Astros and Mariners stretches of awesomeness in the early ’00’s? Where are they now?
        You can’t compare PHI to BOS/NYY. StL is a great comp. I would say HOU too, but they don’t have multiple generations of fans like StL and PHI do. But as the commenter that you replied ot stated, the Phillies started this off a lot like the Cardinals a decade ago did. They need to not make the same mistakes that team has.

      • evo621 - Aug 31, 2011 at 2:18 PM

        @Nate – you’re simply wrong, for several reasons.

        HOU, SEA, and StL RARELY cracked the top 10 in payroll this century – even in their peak years – let alone the top two or three.

        Second, at StL’s peak, they never cracked even the top 4 in payroll, and have consistently been a top 33-50% team in terms of payroll. They do not have the financial power that PHL has, so StL is a very poor comparison.

        NYY has always played moneyball, and they have always been an MLB powerhouse. Since BOS began playing moneyball in the 2000s, they have usually been second only to the NYY in payroll, and have been a threat and MLB force ever since. Since the Phils decided to play moneyball, they have been a threat and an MLB force ever since.

        The point is, a good GM spending wads of cash keeps a team consistently competitive, which (barring injury and other uncontrollables) lessens the down times and sustains the up times. The only proper comparisons here to what PHI is doing is BOS/NYY.

  20. hateradeonrocks - Aug 31, 2011 at 12:03 PM

    falcon no comparison. phillies spent way more money than the cardinals and have more money, nice try. the phillies will be good as long as the red sox will be good. How come no one writes this article about the red sox. Pedroia, Lester, and Youkilis are the same age roughly as the phillies players.

    • thefalcon123 - Aug 31, 2011 at 12:59 PM

      The Phillies spent more money, yes, but it’s not like the Cardinals were the A’s…
      You can spend all the money you want…you still have to spend it wisely. The Cubs have always been near the top in payroll and it hasn’t gotten them anywhere recently. One of the points the author is making is that the Phillies *aren’t* spending it wisely longterm. In 2013, they’ll have $80 million wrapped up on four players 34 or older.

      I can’t predict the future any more than you can. But evidence of roughly 100 years of baseball has shown that teams go through cycles of winning and losing. Due to the Phillies reliance one expensive players who will still be under contract when they aren’t performing at a level to earn that money, odds are they will be going through much less elite cycle too.

  21. diehardcubbiefan4life - Aug 31, 2011 at 12:04 PM

    Here we go again. Look, every team goes through a cycle of winning and sucking. They buy good players and get some from the farm, but when the contracts are up and the farm system drys up, the teams proformance goes down. Then, at the trade deadline, the bad teams get more prospects and years later they come up and help the team climb back into contention. Simple as that. Its a cycle.

    Except for the Yankees. They just buy all their players. LOL. Let the thumbs downing begin.

  22. hateradeonrocks - Aug 31, 2011 at 12:06 PM

    @ manifunk you just completely made that up. First of all Jayson Werth = John Mayberry. Mayberry was a 1st round pick that always had this potential but his swing was too long. Ever since he started crouching he’s finally realized his potential but cutting his swing down. Brown is very raw but within 2 years will be Cargo and has not at all fallen out of favor with Amaro you just blatantly made that up. But again let the haters hate and watch the trophy’s pile up.

    • manifunk - Aug 31, 2011 at 12:10 PM

      So you make an insane comparison based on ~250 ABs and suddenly *I* am the one making things up? Mayberry is a good 4th OFer, but he’s hardly Jayson Werth 2.0. I’m a huge Brown fan and really hope he busts out, but the fact is that Cholly had to push Ruben to call him up this season, and Rube isn’t all that enamored with him.

      And please, don’t call me a hater because as I said earlier, I am a Phillies fan. I’m just rational enough to admit that the Phillies player’s aren’t superhuman.

      • FC - Aug 31, 2011 at 12:18 PM

        Mayberry is a good 4th OFer, but he’s hardly Jayson Werth

        Jayson Werth is hardly Jayson Werth these days…

      • Jonny 5 - Aug 31, 2011 at 12:28 PM

        I’m not all that enamored with Brown either. Just being honest. I think he needs much work still.

      • Kevin S. - Aug 31, 2011 at 1:24 PM

        I think the point was that expecting Mayberry to replicate what Werth gave the Phils is a tad bit much.

      • CJ - Aug 31, 2011 at 1:56 PM

        No one’s asking Mayberry to BE Werth…just pointing some similarities in their their careers regarding a late resurgence.

        We’re asking PENCE to be Werth, which is very fair IMO. A Brown/Mayberry platoon (with Mayberry getting most reps) can easily replace Ibanez production, that’s not asking much.

      • FC - Aug 31, 2011 at 2:20 PM

        I agree with CJ’s assessment. Considering Raul’s age, a Dominic Brown / Mayberry platoon should cheaply get the same production (and about the same defense). Both guys are controllable for a # of years. I’d say Ruben doesn’t have to worry about the outfield for the next 2-3 years (it would be interesting to see what happens with Pence later).

        Mayberry has made some notable changes at the plate, if he can be consistent he may well end up being the Phillies regular LF. Brown is a definite work in progress but you have to like that despite his avg falling off a cliff his OBP is till .400 his plate discipline has made a quantum leap. If he can improve in that area that much I’m sure he can correct his other deficiencies. The question is how much time he needs.

      • CJ - Aug 31, 2011 at 2:40 PM

        of course you agree, FC, you’re a reasonable enough person :)

        Mayberry’s a far better defensive player than Ibanez but I guess you can’t consider it much of an upgrade if he splits time with Brown and his atrociousness in the field. Calling it even seems fair.

  23. kellyb9 - Aug 31, 2011 at 12:09 PM

    Baseball is as much about the here and now as any other sport. I’m happy with the product they are going to put out on the field for the next 2 or 3 years, I doubt many fans in baseball can say that about their team. They mortgaged part of their farm system to give us that reassurance.

  24. funkygoorilla - Aug 31, 2011 at 12:11 PM

    The Phillies buy all their championships!

    • kellyb9 - Aug 31, 2011 at 12:24 PM

      Aside from Cliff Lee, they didn’t “buy” anything. Every other big name starter was obtained via trade.

      • Kevin S. - Aug 31, 2011 at 1:28 PM

        Right, and giving Doc $20 million/year wasn’t a pre-requisite to that trade?

      • kellyb9 - Aug 31, 2011 at 3:48 PM

        Hey – Doc was gonna hit free agency one way or another. I don’t necessarily think you can call it buying a player if you already have the right to him.

      • Kevin S. - Aug 31, 2011 at 4:03 PM

        And I don’t think you can say they didn’t buy the player when negotiating a $20 million/year extension was one of the conditions to acquiring him.

  25. evo621 - Aug 31, 2011 at 12:13 PM

    I think the first, and most glaring error that he (and many analysts continue to make regarding well-run teams in any sport) makes is that he addresses everything in a vacuum. In other words, everything stays still, management makes no moves, and simply stares sadly on the sidelines as the team withers and dies. With all due respect, anyone who has followed RAJ/Gillick the last few years knows that’s foolish.

    Here are great examples of the vast flaws in his logic:
    ’08 – in a vacuum, the Phillies never acquire Stairs or Blanton during the season; ergo, the Phillies likely don’t ride a solid Blanton arm through the Playoffs, or get Stairs’ contributions.
    ’09 – in a vacuum, the Phillies don’t pick up Lee/Pedro/Francisco; ergo, given Lidge and Hamels’ struggles that year, Phils likely don’t make the Playoffs or if so, don’t go as far as they did riding a red-hot Lee and above-average Pedro.
    ’10 – in a vacuum, the Phillies never acquire Oswalt, who pitched lights out late-summer ball en route to the NLCS
    ’11 – in a vacuum, the Phillies never address their right-handed bat issue by acquiring Pence. That story is still being written, but no one can debate that it has worked out pretty well so far.

    Every single year of those acquisitions, everyone said the Phillies were maxed out financially, they can’t make any more moves. And in a vacuum, they were right. In reality, they were wrong, to the tune of about $80-90M. Philly has crossed over into moneyball territory with NYY and BOS, and they will not relinquish it easily or readily.

    So, looking at this team in ’08, any prospective assessments of the team in a vacuum would look ridiculous by today’s REALITY. Additionally, any reference to the 80s, 90s or even early ’00s is silly, as the Phillies have never had the commitment to spend money or the brains in the front office that they have now.

    If the vacuum towards Phillies decline is present in his article, so too is his opposite vacuum towards the Braves’ (or other NL teams’) ascension. The performance of ATL’s players, both minor and major, are viewed universally in the positive with no attention to any potential weaknesses (to name one example, he praises Heyward’s 2010 year while ignoring his disappointing 2011 year), and presumes that ATL will in fact KEEP all those players. With lousy fan support in a city that is ambivalent towards pro sports (b/c it is full of other states’ transplants), and a middle of the pack payroll, ATL’s ’11 blue-chippers will be seeking high-dollar deals elsewhere as soon as they are able (and assuming they stay good) from bigger market teams and in cities that have a pro sports pulse – possibly, in fact, from Philadelphia :-) I’d fear a better-run NYM team (if that ever happens) with money to burn more than a glorified Marlins team in ATL who will simply fatten up their stock of players to be sent elsewhere.

    I won’t even begin to go into the numerous conclusory statements made in his article, as I think the above says enough. Okay fine, just one – the statement that the Phillies farm team is “tapped out.” No support given, no recognition for the fact that prospects traded away have largely failed thus far. And again, in a vacuum, the Phils farm was tapped out in ’09, ’10, ’11, etc., and yet here we have a slew of youngins’ in 2011 arguably the unsung heroes of the season so far in Stutes, Bastardo, Mayberry, Worley, etc. If that’s “tapped”, then the MLB should fear the Phillies when they are stocked.

    Craig, you honestly could not objectively take this argument apart?

    • FC - Aug 31, 2011 at 12:22 PM

      Craig, you honestly could not objectively take this argument apart?

      You are assuming he has any interest in doing so, he tossed that out there to rile you up :)

    • CJ - Aug 31, 2011 at 12:36 PM

      Easily the best rebuttal on this thread. To think the Phillies won’t do anything to address an issue everyone’s aware of is silly.

      The author’s whole article is based on the thought that yeah, the pitching is good but the hitting is in decline. Well, the Phillies won when the pitching wasn’t so good and the hitting was in its prime. As the hitting has aged (and regressed) they’ve improved the pitching. That’s not a coincidence. It’s the pitching staff that’ll keep this team in contention for the foreseeable future. With this pitching staff any perceived-to-be “significant” dropped in run production is meaningless. The fact that they are 6th in the NL should not be concerning when they have the pitching that they do.

      Also lost is that although the team appears to be tapped out in dollars and prospects, Blanton, Moyer, Lidge, Ibanez and other bloated contracts are coming off the books. Rollins and Madson may too…we don’t know yet. Many of those guys will be replaced by low cost players on the farm or inexpensively on the current roster. They have a ton of bullpen talent in the minors and it wouldn’t totalyl shock me if they went with Bastardo as closer next year to save $$$. I wouldn’t be shocked if Rollins was allowed to walk either.

      That frees up significant dough to infuse young talent where needed and retain young talent such as Hamels.

      This article is clearly written in a vacuum and assumes one thing: this the core of this team will still be the core of this team 3 years from now. Anyone who’s followed Amaro’s track record as GM should know by now that that’s the one thing you can guarantee WON’T happen.

      • donniebb23 - Aug 31, 2011 at 12:55 PM

        To me, Rany’s point was not at all that the Phillies aren’t going to do anything to improve their team. It’s that they don’t have many options to do so. Could a prospect nobody’s heard of become the next Chase in three years? Sure. Could Amaro pull a rabbit out of his hat and convince some other idiot GM to trade a young stud 3B for a pupu platter of B prospects? Perhaps. But as it stands now, barring some major salary dumps or the owner’s willingness to bring the payroll up to Yankee territory, the Phillies just don’t have the prospects in their system that they can either rely upon to be major contributors on their team or major pieces in a trade for somebody who will.

      • CJ - Aug 31, 2011 at 1:13 PM

        But there’s no evidence to support the point that they don’t have anything. Every year fans of other teams laugh and mock and say the Pjhillies don’t have the talent or payroll to bring in a big time acquisiton, and every year they do it anyway.

        There’s also this thing called free agency where you can sign players without giving stuff up in a trade. Not sure if you’ve heard of it? And to your next point about not being able to afford any decent FA’s while naming Hamels, Howard, and so on, I’d like to bring up the contrary point of their payroll increasing every year since the ‘Bank opened, and the likes of Lidge, Moyer, Ibanez, and so on.

        Rany’s point was freeze framing this team and saying it’ll stink in 3 years because you have assume they can’t do anything except for just that. They dont’ have the $ or the prospects, blah blah. That was his point, I read the whole article. And it’s the same thing that was said nationally leading up to the Halladay, Oswalt, Pence and Lee (version 2.0) moves. Why is this scenario any different from those?

      • evo621 - Aug 31, 2011 at 1:13 PM

        @donniebb23 – “barring some major salary dumps or the owner’s willingness to bring the payroll up to Yankee territory…”

        As it happens there is a lot of payroll coming off the books after this season, plus RAJ never stated that payroll couldn’t conceivably go higher for the right reasons.

        And to me, Rany’s statement about the farm just smacked conclusory without a reasonable assessment of the prospects that are there and getting pretty good reviews. Someone mentioned the Phillies Phutures site which I whole-heartedly recommend.

        So again, it’s a great vacuum argument, good for page hits and shout-outs by other blogs. But it bears no relation to reality, and its dishonest to assert that it is without a comprehensive analysis. It’s like saying “The bridge is going to collapse, unless…” and then ignoring the unless part.

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