Friday, June 16, 2006

flags at half-mast

Is it too early for me to do a State of the Phils address? I don't think so. This week was a perfect time to start complaining, and as a Philadelphian, it doesn't take much, does it?

The boys in red got swept by the division rival Mets, who are like 9 games ahead of them now and look to have stopped underacheiving on their big-name, big-budget lineup. Philly is not going to catch them... unless they do something. As in, make a move. Will they do it?

Right now Philly is right at .500 and there's a bunch of teams in front of them in the NL. I really doubt the Reds or all those NL west teams who've started off well will hold up, but the Astros and Braves always might come on. The division looks lost, but it's early and the Mets could be peaking (although, they will likely add people if they can, cough, ahem, Alfonso Soriano, ech). So... it wil be a rough road to the playoffs, but they can do it. IF THEY ADD SOMEONE!!

This is a good year for management to prove they care about winning. They can send a message to fans that their nice new ballpark is giving them reason to spend more cash, that they're not going to dick around and hope the farm system comes through. Last year, it looked lost, with them dumping Kevin Millwood early on and falling behind early in the year. When BIlly Wagner said they were done, we believed it. But they came on strong and finished just one game out.

Based on that strong finish, they would do it in the offseason, right? Get the job done with free agents and stuff? Nope. Even though they brought in a new GM, Wagner still left to the Mets - a real killer this year - and they dumped Jim Thome, hero for the past few years, thinking he was dead. Well, Thome is not dead, although I don't argue the logic of the trade. They needed a centerfielder who could hit at the top of the order, and Ryan Howard did great at first and cleanup. But isn't there a way they could have put Howard in the outfield? Wouldn't you rather have him and Thome, even with bad defense, than him and Pat F-----g Burrell? By the way, if they swing a trade, is there any possible way that Pat the (weak) Bat can be a part of it?

Oh, and they didn't pick up a front-line starter, instead going with youth and some guy named Cory Lidle. Their pitching staff might have potential, but for now it ranks as the least intimidating out of all the NL teams trying to make it. I don't want to give up on these guys too early, but if you could get a known commodity like Barry Zito or Dontrelle Willis, why not? They still have some years left.

So, Pat Gillick, it's up to you. You walked into a situation where they never paid money and waited for the farm system. Well, you can change that. You can use some of those prospects to get good players for now and for the immediate future. I assume that's what you were hired for... to change things. You need to get a good starter for the stretch run. Wolfpack coming back isn't going to cut it. Ryan Madson certainly is NOT cutting it. Cole Hamels, Brett Myers, and Gavin Floyd mgiht make a good rotation someday, but again, stop waiting.

I'll be watching the transaction page for the Phils as much as I watch the scoreboard and standings. If they don't make a move, soon the new ballpark will be just like the Vet, only more costly.

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