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Phillies’ downward spiral highlights cracks of riding success

Aug 21, 2013, 10:15 AM EDT

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This is about the Philadelphia Phillies, but let’s start with the Chiefs. I have always been fascinated by the Kansas City Chiefs of the 1970s. You probably know that the Chiefs of the late 1960s and early 1970s were among the best teams in football. They played in Super Bowl I, and they won Super Bowl IV. In 1971, they went 10-3-1 and lost the game I believe was the greatest ever played — a 27-24 playoff overtime loss to Miami on Christmas Day. For most of those incredible years, they featured SEVEN Hall of Famers: Quarterback Len Dawson, dominant defensive tackles Buck Buchanan and Curley Culp, brilliant linebackers Willie Lanier and Bobby Bell, cornerback Emmitt Thomas and kicker Jan Stenerud. I have long believed receiver Otis Taylor also should be in the Hall of Fame. Their coach, Hank Stram, is a Pro Football Hall of Famer. We are talking about an all-time team.

But as the 1970s progressed, the players got old. And the Chiefs just, well, they just watched the players get old. The year after the Christmas Day game, the Chiefs went 8-6 with 37-year-old Len Dawson at quarterback and aging players everywhere. In 1973, they were 7-5-2 with the same aging players — they still had enough class to hold their own but not enough youth or energy or exuberance to more than hold their own. In 1974, the Chiefs imploded. They went 5-9 with most of the same players, Hank Stram was shoved out, and the Chiefs would have losing records for 12 of the next 15 years, making the playoffs only once, and becoming such a non-factor that there was serious talk of moving the team out of town.

This comes to mind because in 2010, the Philadelphia Phillies had to make a decision. The Phillies were an amazing team. They had won the World Series in 2008, lost the World Series to the Yankees in 2009 and lost in NLCS to San Francisco in 2010. They were on a spectacular high, and the city was alive with baseball, and the atmosphere at Citizens Bank Park was fantastic, and the core of players — Ryan Howard, Carlos Ruiz Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino, Jayson Werth and so on — were Philadelphia icons. It was a magical time.

But you know — you could see the cracks. They weren’t hard to see. I have little doubt that general manager Ruben Amaro — for all the heat he has taken in Philadelphia lately — saw the cracks. Look:

  • Howard had turned 30, he’s the type of player who doesn’t age well, and his production had dropped significantly.
  • Utley had turned 31, he missed about 50 games with injury, his power numbers had dwindled.
  • Rollins had turned 31 and his offensive production was way down from his MVP season.
  • Victorino was about to turn 30.
  • Werth, coming off a career year, was a free agent and about to leave.

These were impossible to miss signs. And Amaro, manager Charlie Manuel, ownership, the fans of Philadelphia, everybody had a decision to make: What do you do? Do you break things up now, when things are so good? Do you begin the process of rebuilding when the team is at its height? OR do you double down, add a few big money pieces, hold on tight and hope that the ride will last for a while longer? It’s one of the great questions in sports.

The Phillies, as we know, did not just double down. They tripled down. They quadrupled down. They signed Ryan Howard to a huge extension that would not even kick in for two years, an extension that made absolutely no sense when it was signed and made progressively less sense every single day that passed. But they were committed. Utley was already signed. Rollins was already signed. They signed Cliff Lee to a huge contract, thus securing what many of us called the greatest four-man rotation of the generation — Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt. They brought back everybody except Werth — eventually replacing him with Hunter Pence — which meant that their starting team had nothing but 30-somethings. No player under 30 got 300 at-bats for the 2011 Phillies.

And … they were awesome. The pitching staff was so absurdly good, it almost didn’t matter how many runs they scored. Halladay finished second in the Cy Young voting. Lee finished third. Hamels finished fifth. In games when the Phillies scored three or more runs, the 2011 Phillies won EIGHTY PERCENT of the time. That made up 90 of their 102 wins. Yes, the team finished seventh in runs scored. Yes, Utley got hurt again, and Howard’s decline continued, but the season was glorious. Well, the regular season. Then it was the playoffs, and the Phillies lost to the Cardinals in five games — losing the last game 1-0 when Chris Carpenter out dueled Roy Halladay. Howard also got hurt running to first. And it was the beginning of the end.

Amaro had to see this. Manuel had to see this. But what was there to do? The Phillies had to double down again — they were too far in to fold now. They signed Jim Thome. They signed Jonathan Papelbon. They signed Juan Pierre. They signed Chad Qualls. At this point, it was like Amaro was jamming his fingers underneath the window, trying to keep it from closing. There was some vague talk about getting younger — start prospect Dom Brown was about ready, young Vance Worley had shown some moxie as a 23-year-old pitcher, but that was basically window dressing. They were old (or “experienced”). They were declining (or “accomplished”). Amaro knew all about the holes in the boat. He believed it had enough strength and experience to make it to shore one more time. He really had no choice but to believe it. He had made his bet.

The boat didn’t make it to shore. Halladay collapsed. Howard caved in. Utley got hurt again. Victorino at 31 wasn’t the same player. Like those early 1970s Chiefs, the team had enough class to break even — they finished 81-81. But the ride was over. This year, the Phillies came in as a bloated and ancient team of the past. They have tried to get younger. The lineup now has players in their 20s, the rotation too. But the team is 15-games under .500, in fourth place, and manager Charlie Manuel was fired.

Manuel talked with CSN Philly’s Leslie Gudel and in his folksy way said that he knew the Phillies were doomed the last two years and seemed to blame the Phillies for not adding pieces. I can’t blame him for feeling that way — I mean the guy just got fired and I’m sure he’s hurting — but I kind of think he’s talking out of pain. I suspect he believed. I think they all believed. That’s the human equation. The Phillies could have played it differently when they were the best team in the National League. They could have gotten rid of Howard, traded Utley or Rollins or both, gotten a lot younger, not signed all those old players to patch the holes, taken a step or two back in order to take a step or two forward (and heard the screams and boos that come with such maneuvers). They chose to ride it out. It was the human thing to do. And it led to where it always leads.

  1. natstowngreg - Aug 21, 2013 at 10:36 AM

    This has to be one of the hardest things for a team on top — knowing when its time at the top is coming to an end. I’m not saying Amaro should be exempt from criticism for how he’s run the team. Just saying that trying to keep the Phillies on top a little longer was understandable.

    The same is true for players. One could compile a very long list of good (and great) players who held on too long. Just off the top of my head, start with Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle and Steve Carlton.

    [BTW Joe, I just read your book on Buck O’Neill. Excellent.]

    • robmoore - Aug 21, 2013 at 11:00 AM

      The New England Patriots are the anti-Chiefs in that regard, seems like. Seems like they are merciless in cutting players that are on the cusp of getting too old – of course it’s easier in the NFL due to the lack of guaranteed contracts. I do think it is possible to walk the tightrope and stay at the top, but it requires the ability to not let sentiment rule – the Cardinals seems to be doing this pretty well. They let Pujols walk, whereas the Phillies couldn’t bring themselves to let Howard come even close to walking. The Rangers may be pulling the same trick off right now, we’ll need to see.

      • Francisco (FC) - Aug 21, 2013 at 11:35 AM

        The other thing the NFL has an advantage in is that the time from Drafting a rookie and making him a productive NFL player is much shorter. There are also larger roster sizes. Churn tends be more frequent for support teams and backups.

      • deepstblu - Aug 21, 2013 at 11:55 AM

        But Andy Reid’s Eagles always tried to get rid of players before they declined too much, and the same people in Philly who scream about the Phillies getting old will never forgive Andy for letting Brian Dawkins go.

      • mgdsquiggy17 - Aug 21, 2013 at 12:04 PM

        also helps that when you cut a guy in the NFL you don’t owe him his entire salary like you do in baseball. Makes that decision a lot easier.

      • Francisco (FC) - Aug 21, 2013 at 12:09 PM

        At the risk of straying too far from the beaten path. More than one sportswriter argued that the problem wasn’t getting rid of Dawkins but not getting a proper replacement for him.

  2. number42is1 - Aug 21, 2013 at 10:36 AM

  3. kvanhorn87 - Aug 21, 2013 at 10:36 AM

    They kept 4 players from that team. Ruiz will be gone this year. How many other teams do the same? Plenty. No one can ever take the 08 series, 09 appearance away from us. For that I have gladly traded last 2 years and next 3

    • kyzslew77 - Aug 21, 2013 at 10:52 AM

      It’s great that you’re a Phillies fan and are happy about their success, but maybe next time read the article. Sometimes it helps to put your finger under each word as move it along the lines as you go.

      • rpiddy - Aug 21, 2013 at 12:42 PM

        Next time you try to respond to a comment try to understand the point the person was conveying instead of typing a haphazard response that only shows your overall turd-ness.

      • kyzslew77 - Aug 21, 2013 at 4:08 PM

        Maybe try taking your own advice, dumbo. Posnanski’s point was definitely not THE PHILLIES SHOULD NEVER HAVE GONE FOR IT IN 2011 AND 2012, THEY SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF THEMSELVES which is what kvanhorn seems to think was the point. kvanhorn’s response was a defiant, mouth-breathing fanboy cry of OH YEAH BUT WE GOT RINGZZZ FLAGZ FLY FOREVER which is misplaced here. Thanks for your concern though.

    • lanflfan - Aug 21, 2013 at 3:19 PM

      I have the same feeling for the 1988 Dodger team that won the Series. There wasn’t much to celebrate for a few years after (and no titles since), but no one can take away my memories of that magical season.

  4. proudlycanadian - Aug 21, 2013 at 10:36 AM

    Well written Joe. I am sure that the Phillies need to rebuild, but instead they extended Utley. Whomever eventually replaces Amero will have a tough job.

    • Francisco (FC) - Aug 21, 2013 at 10:43 AM

      Actually the Utley extension is unlikely to bite the Phillies the way the other signings have. It’s only for two years and at a very reasonable price. Utley has been performing great. If he breaks down and doesn’t meet the PA to vest his options then the team buys him out. Basically he is signed for as long as he is useful.

      Had Amaro waited till Howard hit FA he might have had the leverage to force a similar contract on him and for a lower price. (Werth would have been gone either way, he chased his $$$ all the way to DC).

      And the truth is the Phillies do not have an MLB ready prospect to play 2B (Galvis most certainly doesn’t count, I think he serves the Phillies best as a super utility player).

      • s0krat3s - Aug 21, 2013 at 1:32 PM

        Exactly. So sick of people complaining about the Utley signing. Utley was signed because 1) Everyone I talk to names Utley as their favorite Philly. He brings in a ton more revenue then he costs. 2) His play hasn’t completely fallen off the table, he’s not hitting under .200 (like my Braves 2nd baseman…). 3) He is a stop-gap. Philly doesn’t have many great options for 2nd base right now.

        The same thing could be said for Michael Young. People can complain about Amaro signing another old guy all they want. Most of those people probably don’t know the complete lack of talent that was available in free agency for third base. So he signed Young because the Phillies 3rd base propsects were still 1-3 years away from the majors. He was a stop-gap.

        The same can be said for Jimmy Rollins. He’s still a good defender, isn’t the worst bat in the world for a shortstop, but more than anything he is a stop-gap until Roman Quinn is ready or they can find a more suitable stop-gap.

        The only truly bad offer was the one to Howard, which wouldn’t have been nearly as bad if Charlie Manuel didn’t allow Howard to drag his feet around the field and employ zero plate discipline. Manuel’s hands off approach only aided the decline of Howard & Rollins.
        In fact, Sandberg just told Rollins he needs to have better plate discipline and that is probably the first time he’s heard such, that is saying a lot…

    • biasedhomer - Aug 21, 2013 at 12:21 PM

      Utley signing is not that bad. It’s not like he is blocking any highly touted prospect.
      And that is where the problem ultimately lies, the farm system is shallow.

      • s0krat3s - Aug 21, 2013 at 1:36 PM

        What minor league depth was there when Amaro took over? Drabek & Singleton, that is it. Drabek has a 5.34 ERA, 1.67 whip in 30 MLB starts. Singleton is hitting .214 in AAA.
        NOW they have Cody Asche, Roman Quinn, Maikel Franco, Tommy Jospeh, Cesar Hernandez, Ethan Martin, Jesse Biddle, Darrin Ruf, and quite a few others. (And Ben Revere was just 24 when they got him a year ago).

    • bpjoyce10 - Aug 21, 2013 at 9:34 PM

      whoever*. if whomever was used, the sentence would have to be able to be reworded as “him will have a tough job.” since it’s obviously “he will have a tough job,” the correct word is “whoever.” just because whomever is a word, and makes you sound smart, doesn’t mean it’s always the right word.

  5. Francisco (FC) - Aug 21, 2013 at 10:37 AM

    Manuel: Is that the Logical thing to do Ruben?

    Ruben: No, but it is the Human thing to do.

  6. dlem7 - Aug 21, 2013 at 10:42 AM

    Great writeup. Next few years will be tough for me to watch and stomach but it was a hell of a ride.

    • Francisco (FC) - Aug 21, 2013 at 11:01 AM

      We lived through the rest of the 90’s, the Phans will be Phine. :)

      • deepstblu - Aug 21, 2013 at 12:22 PM

        A big difference between now and the late ’90s/early ’00s is that back then the fans (and Scott Rolen and Curt Schilling) didn’t think that the owners could or would spend what it would take to be competitive. We now know that they will. The trick, of course, remains figuring out how to spend it wisely.

  7. cohnjusack - Aug 21, 2013 at 11:01 AM

    I don’t think the Phillies situation now is all the different from the Cardinals a few years back. After winning the 06 World Series (with just 83 wins, let’s remember), the Cardinals made themselves older instead of better. The re-upped 37-year-old Jim Edmonds coming off his worst season, resigned Mark Mulder coming off a god-awful injury plagued season, signed 32-year-old Chris Carpenter to a huge contract, added Kip Wells at $4 million dollars and signed 31-year-old Adam Kennedy who was coming off one of his worst seasons. The result was predictable enough. Carpenter missed the next two seasons (but then came back!, so not all bad!), Jim Edmonds put up an even worse season, the ghost of Mark Mulder pitched just 12 more innings, Adam Kennedy posted a sub-600 OPS, Kip Wells did exactly what everyone should have expected him to do and the Cardinals finished under .500. They went into 2008 with an old, washed up team and one of the worst minor league systems in baseball.

    …and it took them almost no time to dig their way out. They fired Walk Jocketty, shipped off Edmonds + Rolen, rebuilt their farm system and stepped back from signing over-priced free agents to fill every void. In 2008 they won 86 games, were back in the postseason in 2009 and won a WS in 2011.

    It doesn’t have to be several years. The Phillies just have to realize they can’t expect to keep winning doing what they did before.

    • ryanrockzzz - Aug 21, 2013 at 11:24 AM

      Very good comment to this article. I agree with much of what you say in here. The only problem I forsee with the Phillies doing it that way, is that Ruben is still entrenched as GM, for at least one or two more years. Ruben only knows the checkbook way of being a GM. Asking him to scout, use sabermetrics to evaluate talent, or find the Pat Gillickesque bargins will never happen under his watch.

      By re-signging Utley, still having Howard’s contact on the books along with Rollins, and all three OF positions essentially spoken for next year (RF may be open if the Phil’s move Ruff around some) it will be hard for the Phillies to change things in the next few years. It almost seems Amaro is preparing for year three of keeping his fingers under the preverbial window of greatness. He knows he has two untradeable players in Rollins and Howard, and his best two assets– Hamesl and Lee are probably still worth more to the Phillies than any other team.

      The funny part is the Cardinals series in 2011 is what I will always remember as the downfall of the Phillies. I will remember how awful the offense was, and Ryan Howard grabbing his achilles as he completed his fall from grace.

      I’m pretty sure we all saw that to…..but then Amaro went out and thought not having a solid closer was the reason they couldn’t score runs…..

    • bluesfan58 - Aug 22, 2013 at 6:01 AM

      And using the Cardinals as an example of why NOT to stick to the status quo, contrast today’s line-up with the one that won the WS only 2 years ago. 3 or 4 current starters either weren’t on the team or played minor roles (in particular, Alan Craig, Matt Carpenter, Carlos Beltran), the bench roster is almost entirely different from ’11 and they’ve had a major overhauls in pitching staff (including Shelby Miller, Joe Kelly and several relievers). It highlights the benefits of a good farm system, and demonstrates that even a team that loses a future HOFlike Albert Pujols (the centerpiece of the team through 2011) doesn’t have to miss a beat…

  8. yankeepunk3000 - Aug 21, 2013 at 12:47 PM

    Joe gotta say this was a great article and exactly what I’ve thought over the years. They had a strong and beautiful run but as we all know if you keep the team together eventually they get old. Look what’s happening to the Yankees, hell it happend to the Lakers in basketball. Now the hard part is uploading and starting over somewhat. atleast they have the cash to try. still it was a good run.

  9. ochospantalones - Aug 21, 2013 at 1:11 PM

    As bad a job as Amaro’s done at the Major League level, there needs to be some focus on how poorly the team has done identifying and developing young talent. They traded boat loads of young prospects away, and all of the ones who are now fully developed suck. Some of the younger guys (Travis d’Arnaurd and Jared Cosart) still look good, but it seems that even had they not gone all in on over-priced veterans they would still be in a lot of trouble.

    The team hasn’t developed a front line starter since Cole Hamels, can’t seem to find any good young relief pitchers (except maybe Bastardo, depending on what you think of him) and has only developed one good everyday player (Dom Brown) since Carlos Ruiz. And I don’t think anyone thinks the way they’ve handled Brown is a shining example of how to handle a young talent.

    So maybe the real problem here is letting Mike Arbuckle leave? I don’t know if he would have been a good GM, but could he have been worse than Amaro?

  10. rmfields - Aug 21, 2013 at 1:48 PM

    Brilliantly written.

    As a Phillies fan, I too saw all of the red flags. It has been painful these last couple of years watching our franchise die a slow death.

  11. El Bravo - Aug 21, 2013 at 1:49 PM

    Go Braves!

  12. s0krat3s - Aug 21, 2013 at 2:02 PM

    In three years this will be the Phillies team (ages as of 2016):
    C) Tommy Joseph (24), 1b) R.Howard (36)/C.Asche (25), 2b) Cesar Hernandez (25), SS) R.Quinn (22), 3b) M.Franco (23), LF) D.Ruf (28), CF) B.Revere (28), RF) D.Brown (28).

    SP1) C.Hamels, SP2) C.Lee, SP3) J.Biddle, SP4) K.Kendrick, SP5) E.Martin

    (and all of this isn’t counting any free agent signings whatsoever)

    The team will have a new GM and the fans will praise this new GM for finding such an enormous level of young talent all around the diamond. Completely ignoring that it was the work of Ruben Amaro.

    • ochospantalones - Aug 21, 2013 at 2:50 PM

      This is insane. There is a zero percent chance that this is the Phillies 2016 lineup. At least half of these are low probability events, for them all to happen would be like winning the lottery.

      Tommy Joseph had a terrible year, has concussion problems, and may never make it to the big leagues. If Ryan Howard is still starting for the Phillies in 2016, this team is totally screwed. Cody Asche may be an ok 3rd baseman, but he doesn’t hit nearly well enough to be a first baseman. The jury is still out on whether he’s a legitimate player at all. I haven’t seen anything out of Cesar Hernandez to make me think he’s more than a utility guy. Roman Quinn is too far away to project much about, but having a .669 OPS in low-A ball is not encouraging. I’m not writing him off, but I’m not penciling him into any lineups either. I like Maikel Franco, I can see him becoming a good starting 3rd baseman, but he’s far from a sure thing. Revere and Brown likely will be in the 2016 outfield, and I think they will both be at least adequate. Brown should hopefully be significantly better than that. I doubt Ruf is an everyday outfielder, but he may be on the team in a 1B/LF platoon/pinch hitter role.

      Hamels and Lee probably will be starters for the Phillies in 2016, though there is a decent chance Lee will get injured before then and the Phillies will exercise the 2016 buyout. I hope Biddle becomes a reliable major league starter, I think it’s reasonable to think he could be a 3rd or 4th starter by 2016. Kyle Kendrick will certainly not be in the organization by then, and probably won’t be on the team next year. He’s about to get pretty expensive for how mediocre he is. Ethan Martin is not a major league starter, though he may be a decent bullpen arm. You can’t be a starter and walk 4-5 guys per 9 innings. Trying to project a 5th starter 3 years out is a pretty fruitless enterprise to begin with.

      So… if this is their lineup in 2016 they are in a lot of trouble.

      • s0krat3s - Aug 21, 2013 at 9:57 PM

        Clearly you are a man who doesn’t understand hyperbole.

        You sound like the kind of guy where if someone claims Arian Foster is going to be the #1 RB this year and if he finishes #2 by two points you have a hissy fit.

        My point should have been clear. Ruben Amaro inherited a farm system where talent was pretty much the following: Kyle Drabek was the prize prospect, Dominic Brown, Jonathan Singleton, J.A. Happ, & Vance Worley.

        Amaro shipped out Drabek, Happ, Worley, & Singleton. Drabek has been horrendus, Happ & Worley have been pretty bad post-Philly. Singleton is currently hitting .211 in 62 games at AAA (after coming back from drug suspension). He got a lot out of players who played way above their heads in Philly.

        Now the farm system is stocked MUCH better than it was 5-6 years ago.
        And by the way, I don’t give a darn about Quinn’s OPS. Quinn is going to be a lead-off hitter. The only metric that truly matters for him is OBP. And so far his minor league OBP is .347. A decent mark which more work could really improve.

        I wasn’t implying that was automatic the 100% starting lineup for 2016. The point was that the Phillies have someone in their farm system that can contribute for nearly every single position. Something they couldn’t have come close to saying in 2008. They will supplement these players with free agent signings (By then the contracts of Rollins, Papelbon, Halladay, etc. will all be off the books and the Phillies will have tons of free space to use for signing players).

    • jrbdmb - Aug 21, 2013 at 9:53 PM

      … and this 2016 Phillies team will slouch their way to a 65-97 record. Then, hopefully, if the next GM is able to get a few decent draft picks and parlay a Howard hot streak into a few prospects, then the fans will have a future team to look forward to.

      • s0krat3s - Aug 21, 2013 at 9:58 PM

        Learn to read between the lines.

  13. Walk - Aug 21, 2013 at 2:05 PM

    The new wildcard format is also going to have an effect on teams in rebuilding mode. More than half the league is going to believe that they are in contention which will make it harder to move veterans for younger players. Players are still going to be had through the waiver wire, but it is most likely veterans with large contracts or mid level talents at best. We may be nearing the end of seeing multiple trades for veteran players and seeing an infusion of young talent in return. I believe that the teams that draft well and grow their own players are going to have a greater advantage than ever. This years decision for philadelphia was a tough one and it is not one that i hope my team has to make, but it is coming for all of us sooner or later.

  14. misterj167 - Aug 21, 2013 at 2:08 PM

    Maybe the greater lesson in all this is that the teams with mid-and low-level payrolls aren’t even tempted to offer those kind of contracts to their players. If Amaro didn’t have the kind of money to throw at Howard and that pitching staff to begin with, maybe the Phillies would have a better team now.

  15. mikedi33 - Aug 21, 2013 at 4:14 PM

    The Phillies also have money and will have much more once the next tv contract is signed.While money does not gaurantee success( see the Angels) it does help to cover some mistakes.They dont have to be as perfect as Tampa Bay for example in their decisions. It will be hard for them to hit rock bottom and have to totally rebuild.

  16. phillyfrank - Aug 21, 2013 at 7:41 PM

    Well-reasoned and accurate article, Joe. Watching the Phils has been tough for the past two years, but I appreciate your perspective. Hopefully Ryno can bring some pride and discipline back to this team. Now, if only Amaro would stop playing fantasy ball (and get some better scouts), maybe the Phils can become contenders again sooner rather than later.

  17. 1historian - Aug 21, 2013 at 8:49 PM

    The fils should hire Bill Belkichik – he is as merciless as they get – look at the results.

    Of course it doesn’t hurt to have #12 on your side for 13 years.

  18. grnthghs - Aug 22, 2013 at 12:12 AM

    We must go back in history to Curt Flood in whom I think ruined baseball. Yes, the players were treated as property or slaves, however it is a business and they are really employees. Yet, it is a kid’s game elevated to the business thing. Still, when free agency hit now we had a problem to maintain the dynasty approach of grooming replacements. Instead at the end of the initial time from rookie control to free agency, now they market themselves and the team needs to cough-up the doe or let them go (ah poetry!). Hence, now baseball has all these old millionaires with the teams fooled into paying them. Look at Pujols now what a shame! And Papelbon can’t consistently throw 95 any longer. He’s around 91 most the time. He looks like he is through. But the list goes on and on as of these guys past thirty show their poor nutrition and bad hydration habits. Gatorade and Powerade – give me a break! Still the point is that we have a money problem because players in their mid to late 20’s are leaving for the big money now. In other words, to keep Ryan they had to pay the big bucks. What do you do let 30 homers and a hundred ribbies leave town. They would have had Amaro’s head and may still after this season. I realize Howard is way down now and hurt – but he will probably come back and do better for a few more years – the guy can hit homers and always gets the ribbies). But back to the issue, it really is about the free agency thing and what to do? You start letting productive guys go to free agency will not cut it. GM’s will be losing jobs left and right unless the front office will allow weathering the storm for a few years. Never happen. It is about now and not later as few can see down the road – that is why the proverb prevails “The Lucky Bums.”

  19. raysfan1 - Aug 22, 2013 at 12:13 AM

    Excellent as always.

    Also, I completely agree that Otis Taylor belongs in the football Hall of Fame.

  20. kvanhorn87 - Aug 22, 2013 at 5:27 PM

    kyzslew77, never believe you have a clue of what anyone was saying. Not a fanboy at all. I understood every word of his article. I just happen to disagree with it. Yes the Howard signing is an albatross. However, he should have some balls and wrote this article some time before their demise instead of when it is obvious. He wrote this at a time when they only have 5 guys locked in from that team. He writes it like they still had 10 players on the roster from 08 and 09. Utley was not a bad signing, neither was Jimmy. Carlos Ruiz has been responsible for catching a very good when wealthy staff. Every team with deep enough pockets would love to have Hamels on the team. After this season only Utley Rollins Hamels and Howard remain. So 4 players is holding on too long? I just respectfully disagree. Foolishly Amaro decided that he would keep his aging players and go after better pitching to offset the reduction in runs. Was it right? Obviously not. Tell me what SS, 2B LHSP or catcher they should have gone after to move on and be better off? You can’t bc you have no clue about this team. Again the run was a blast, Amaro thought he could hold on and reshape team as an elite pitching team without getting rid of the core of the last decade of baseball in this town. He was wrong. And so are you if you have any clue about me, my comprehension skills or far superior knowledge. Good night fool.

  21. kvanhorn87 - Aug 22, 2013 at 5:30 PM

    More summarily explained: when you win first championship in 27 years, who can blame anyone for holding on too long? Besides fans from other teams?

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