The Four Horsemen Will Be Phillies

Most of the talk about the Mets’ offseason has involved boring business words like “payroll flexibility,” “fiscal responsibility,” and “being prudent.” It’s gotten to the point that Sandy Alderson could be replaced with Dana Carvey-doing-George Bush Sr. in the middle of a press conference, and it’s likely that no one would notice a difference. “A thousand points of light” and all that.

But that’s the way things have to be for now. Being heavily involved in the market for heavily used pitchers is not the way the new front office wants to operate. It is the way they have to operate, because — as I’ve said before here — it takes longer to clean up messes than it does to make them. The Mets’ biggest addition of the offseason is going to be the new front office itself, which is why we’re currently getting bombarded by the Sandy Alderson media tour to fight insanity. Sandy talks to reporters! Sandy talks to bloggers! Sandy skypes with fans! Sandy talks to the pope! The team is promoting their biggest addition of the offseason: ideas. Meanwhile, quietly off stage, things are getting better … if only because they’re not getting worse.

The reason the Mets need to go digging through the bargain bin this offseason — while distracting us with, and maybe making us all a tiny bit sick of, our dear saberleader’s face — are easily remembered. The team salted their farm system with trades and over-committed on free agents over the past five years: Pedro Martinez, Carlos Beltran, Carlos Delgado, Johan Santana, Francisco Rodriguez, J.J. Putz, Jason Bay, Luis Castillo, Oliver Perez, and so on. The team made these moves because they were going for it all every season from 2006-2010, but doing so over and over isn’t sustainable. The bottom finally fell out this offseason, when it became clear no more talent was emerging from within and they couldn’t afford to add any from the outside. You can only go all in so many times before it blows up in your face.

So here’s the deal: The exact same thing that is happening to these Mets is going to happen to the Phillies, and it’s going to happen soon. Only not yet of course. The 2011 Phillies will be a very good team. The addition of Cliff Lee to Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, and Cole Hamels makes for as good of a front four as anyone has seen in a decade, maybe even the best front four ever. When healthy, Chase Utley is still the best second baseman in baseball, and Ryan Howard, Carlos Ruiz, and Shane Victorino provide a solid group of good position players. Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge are still top arms in the bullpen. This should be a good baseball team.

But they are also going to be an old team. With the exception of noted Twihard Hamels and outfielder Domonic Brown, every single important player on the Phillies’ 2011 squad will be 30 years of age or older. They have two rapidly declining players in key roles, Raul Ibanez in left and Jimmy Rollins at shortstop. (Wtiness Rollins’ shrinking OPS from 2007-2010: .875, .786, .719, .694.) They lost their most valuable hitter and right fielder, Jayson Werth, to the Nationals this winter. Behind Lidge and Madson, the bullpen is shaky. This should still be a good team, but they have issues, primarily with age and depth. If Rollins and Ibanez continue to decline, if Brown disappoints, if the bullpen implodes, and if a pitcher gets hurt — and at least one pitcher always gets hurt — things could go really wrong for the Phillies.

But probably not. Have you seen that rotation? They wouldn’t even have to use Hamels in a five game playoff series. It’s not fair.

However — and this is the important part — the Phillies have sold their future to go all in today. Their farm system has been annihilated by the trades for Lee, Halladay, and Oswalt, sparse at the top and filled with toolsy guys (read: no discipline, speed guys) at the lower levels. Ryan Howard, who is not even a the top five first baseman right now, is signed to an inexplicable extension that will pay him $25 million a year through 2016, when he will be 36, with an option for 2017. The Phillies have between $131.5 and $159 million dollars already committed for 2012, and $75 million committed to just four players in 2013, all of them over age 33. By then, everyone on the team will be old, injured, and declining; talent won’t be coming from within, and they won’t be able to afford anyone else. It’s going to look just like these current Mets. The Phillies picked better players than the Mets to make their big bets with, but the team’s future beyond next season starts to look ugly. It’s win now or win never.

That said, for now, it’s exciting to be a Phillies fan. They’re on a run every fan dreams about: four straight division championships, two pennants, and one World Series victory. They appear posed for even more this season. They swoop in as a mystery team (presumably in a Mystery Machine), expand their payroll, and sign the best available pitcher. Baseball, if you can recall, can be fun. And it’s been awhile.  So it’s okay to be jealous. No, really. It is. This is what we all want as fans. Give in to your anger. Let the hate flow through you. Make a Chase Utley voodoo doll, stuff its greasy hair and stupid emotionless face full of pins, and then comment how the lifeless effigy has more personality than the real life Utley. Troll ESPN’s Jayson Stark on Twitter. Look at pictures of Cole Hamels and feel better about yourself, your dog, and the manners in which you choose to transport that dog. Let it all out. You’ll feel better after.

But remember that the cracks are visible. Only the Yankees can function over the long term in this sort of manner, because the Yankees exist in their own universe with special rules — both light and money bend around their gravity. The ever frustrating Phillies are going to win the NL East in 2011. That’s okay. This wasn’t going to be the Mets year anyway. The Amazins will have a good lineup, but hilariously little pitching, no depth anywhere, and no immediate help from the farm. The organization is spent from a poorly planned run at mediocrity, and it takes time to recover from that.

For right now, the Mets don’t have any money, or resources, or new players, or any of those things that translate into immediate success. But they do have a plan now — a real one — and they have ideas — good ones — and these are the sort of things that translate into sustained success. Maybe everyone is sick of hearing about these plans and these ideas and things like “prudence” and “flexibility” and “responsibility.” Every Sandy Alderson speech does sound more and more like a father lecturing an overeager teenager. But that also means the parents are in charge now. Patience everyone: This is the Phillies’ time, but it won’t be forever. It will end, maybe even sooner than you think. Ya gotta believe.

77 Comments

Filed under Columns, Mets, Words

77 responses to “The Four Horsemen Will Be Phillies

  1. srt

    Couldn’t agree more, Patrick. Well said.

    Cliff Lee wasn’t for the Mets this year. Alderson has a plan and right now, I believe in that plan.

    Met fans have been down this road the Phillies are just turning onto. 2011 won’t be fun, but here’s hoping 2012 and going forward the Mets will be in a position to compete year after year after year.

  2. Why is Mike Francesa the pope?

  3. You gotta believe? Are you kidding me? In what???
    Mets haven’t won since 1986!? ya gotta believe? What a joke.. this is so amazin! haha . I’m sick to my stomach right now… How can you look forward to baseball… This is contingent on the Mets making good decisions, since when have they done that. They want to trade away our only good players.. (Reyes and Beltran)..pay their salary and get so so prospects.. WHAT!!!!? I’m soo sick and I hate this team..

  4. If you dont mind, I’m just going to copy and paste a link to this every time I have an argument with one of my “overeager teenager” Mets fan friends.

  5. Not sure where you get your info that the Phils farm system is annilihated. They are stacked in A ball. D.Brown is better than any player anywhere in the Mets shittty system. The Phils apparently have way more payroll flexibility than the Mets do, obv huh?

    The Mets great potential next year off season they’ll have money to spend, but so will the Phils: Rollins, Ibanez, Oswalt, Lidge, Madson all come off the books for the Phils. That is about $50mm to spend. And we know the Phils will spend it, we don’t know if the Mets will spend.

    • tjc

      The Phillies farm system being annihilated is a huge myth. They’re a top-10 farm system, even after all their recent trades.

    • Patrick Flood

      John Sickels and Keith Law both had them bottom ten this past year, and that was before the Oswalt trade. They have a lot of talent at the lower levels — but so does everyone. The upper levels are sparse.

      • D.Brown != Sparse.

        All it takes in one more great/good corner stone player to work out though given all their other core players.

      • They are gonna have that player in Jonathan Singleton who is their left fielder of the future. Plus they still have a big trade chip in first baseman Matt Rizzotti who is killing it in the minors. So they could improve the few holes they have by trading him.

      • tjc

        Before the Oswalt trade…as in before all of that minor league talent emerged in Lakewood. As the season progressed, players like Jarred Cosart, Jon Singleton, Brody Colvin emerged and by the end of the year the cupboard was again nice and full with toolsy, high-ceiling prospects.

        The Phillies have the best young pitching below AA in all of baseball, talent that can easily be flipped in 2011/12 to fill any number of holes in the lineup. Brown is a top 5 prospect in all of baseball. Cosart and Colvin are top 25 prospects. May and Singleton are top 100 prospects. The minors are well stocked and ready to help the big club.

        It might make Mets fans feel better to say that the Phillies minor leagues are annihilated, but it’s pure fiction.

    • To be fair though, not all money “comming off the books” is created equal. You may be right about $50M comming off the books for the Phils, but thats also alot of pieces to replace. The $50M isnlt exactly clearing dead weight. Your talking about your SS in Rolins, starting left fielder, front of the rotation starter, closer, and set up man. So yes the contract are expiring but in order to not have a tremendous amout of holes, some of those guys will need to be resigned or replaced as they are key contributors.

      The Mets on the other hand have guys like Perez, Castillo, and Beltran comming off the books. With cases like Perez and Castillo, it really is JUST money comming off the books. They arent contributiong anything and the $$$ can go right to adressing other needs, not replacing them since they are worthless.

      And Beltran could even be considered in that was too, as they have gotten very little from him the past 2 seasons as well.

      • Don’t the mets have a SS and a closer and a CF coming off the books? How is that any different than philly, SS, closer + another bullpen piece + LF. If anything a LF is easier to replace than an allstar CF, albeit he hasn’t been healthy enough to be an allstar in quite a while. Which of their starers comes off teh books next year? Oswalt? He could be their 4th starter that year…Plus I thought they had an option for the year after this?

      • Each will get offered arbitration except Raul, which will equal multiple first and second round picks until losing a player like Perez and Castillo where you won’t offer arbitration and get nothing if they lease (Like the Phils getting a second and the 1st comp pick this coming year for losing Werth) That can also be a quick way to restack a team when you have 3 1st round picks 3 comp picks and 5 second round picks along with a very deep and talented lower level minor league system…

  6. ZDT

    Patrick, I agree 100%

    The Mets won’t contend for at least 2-3 years which will hopefully coincide nicely with the Phillies declining.

    Plus, we have the added benefit at some serious schadenfreude if the 2011 or 2012 Phillies falter and either miss the playoffs or get bounced from them early.

    Don’t forget, they had 3 of these 4 this year and got bounced by the Giants.

    • schadenfreude…you mean like having one of the highest payrolls in the league and not making the playoffs? or not coming in second? or how about coming in third?

      cause if you think schadenfreude is playing in a giant market, having a huge payroll, having a 3 year average payroll of $140mm, winning around 75 games, collapsing in the last week of the season twice, then I, my friend, have just the team for you…

  7. Well said Patrick. It’s not like the Mets were in a position to bid on Lee themselves and I’m pretty sure the front office doesn’t expect to be a title contender for a few years anyway. So the difference between Philly winning 95 games or 100 games in 2011 really shouldn’t matter to Mets’ fans.

    I find it hard to believe though that the Phillies don’t have some idea of what they’re doing. Unless they have started taking secret advice from Steve Phillips they have to understand that this is not a sustainable financial model, right? Or do they see their own doom on the horizon and have decided to go all in now and deal with the decline later?

  8. Nice piece Patrick. I could not agree more. This time reminds me of the early 1980s when Frank Cashen took over and he had a far worse mess to clean up than Sandy has. Good things are coming but patience is the virtue now for Mets fans.

    • Why are mets fans so optimisitic? This is a 5 year project and the fans and media will lose patience after 2. The only chance this team has to regain any credibility is to blow it up and focus on the draft and stockpiling youth. With the current state of this pitching staff what’s the point of paying Wright and Reyes. What has Florida done with Hanley? The deminsions of this park require a team built on pitching and defense.. were lacking both.

  9. Because the Pope is supposed to be infallible, meaning
    he does not make mistakes.

  10. According to Cots, they have about 115 committed next year, which includes buy outs and Lee, but not arbitration awards for Hamels (or resigning Rollins.)

  11. You guys are delusional. Completely out of your freaking minds. You sound like you are looking forward to winning 72 games next year. Lets enjoy holding off the Nats for 4th place in the NL East.

    Too bad sandy can’t put on a uniform and play, all you guys swinging from his nutz would be confident he could hit .300 with 30HRs…

    • The Mets were 2 games off .500 without Bay for much of the season and absent other key players and with Manuel as their manager. There’s no reason that the same team, minus injuries (and with some added depth as cover), and with a manager that doesn’t stomach excuses, that they can’t either reach .500 or push to go above. The difference between a .500 season and a 90 win wild card season is 9 games.

      • Oh, and I guess by added depth you mean guys like, um, well, wait, give me a minute.

        And I’m sure you are expecting Santana to pitch at 100% for the full year cause that happens all the time.

        You really think these Mets are going to win 90 games? Just first get to .500 and then we are almost at 90 wins which would have left the Mets where exactly, in third????

  12. Mets fans are hilarious. Full disclosure, I’m a Phillies fan seeing how the Mets are coping with the Cliff Lee news and attend grad school in Queens. I will readily admit that we are not the Yankees and that we can’t operate like them. But don’t pretend that this doesn’t close the division for at least the next 3 years. First correction, we gave up some prospects in deals but the prospects we gave up in the trade for Lee were beyond useless, the main kid in the Halladay deal was Drabek who struggled with the Blue Jays, and for Oswalt we gave up A prospect whose position are already filled long-term at the major league level. Cliff Lee is the only pitcher on our staff who will potentially be making more money then Santana. Bobo is right, we have the best A ball prospects in the league. And we will be shedding a lot of payroll in the coming years with Lidge, Rollins, and Ibanez next year and Polanco, Hamels and Oswalt the year after. The only player we may have truly overpaid was Ryan Howard and most of that overpayment was due to the fact that he won a MVP with a 400k salary. While the Mets are attempting to shed payroll, they still have committed a ton a money to a pitcher who is injury proned every since he stepped foot in Queens, a dead-pull hitter in a doubles/gap hitting ball park, to Ollie which was a headscratcher from signing day, and K-Rod who is unstable both on and off the field. We also don’t have Bobby Bonilla on the payroll

    • Patrick Flood

      This is fair and logical.

      My only counter is that, while the Phillies do have money coming off the books next year and the year after — have you seen the FA market? It’s not what it has been in years prior. Werth, Crawford, and Lee were the only difference makers this offseason. You can add on through today’s free agency, but you can’t rebuild on the fly. The talent has to come from somewhere, and it can’t all come through free agency.

      And I don’t think the Phillies farm system is as good as Phillies fans keep telling me it is. Every team has talented guys at A-Ball. John Sickels and Keith Law both had the Phillies in the bottom third of their rankings before the season, and that was before trading for Oswalt.

      • Here is the Phils current starting rotation:

        Halladay
        Hamels
        Oswalt
        Lee
        Blanton

        Next year they’ll need to replace an outfielder and bullpen. Are there any easier positions to replace? They aren’t going to need all-star at either spot.
        They could play Mets castoff wilson valdez again at short like they did this year and be better than the mets.

        You guys try to spin signing Cliff Lee as a bad thing are crazy. You guys try to spin competing for a WS and the playoffs like it is a disaster are crazy. Mets Fans sitting here, “whew, that was close, good thing we didn’t sign Lee would have really messed up 2016″. Yah right, you and the cubbies fan are sitting around saying the same thing…there is always next year.

      • No one is spinning anything. The Phillies with Lee have one of the best rotations in baseball, period. The Phillies lineup is solid and up there as well with the best in the Majors.

        As Mets fans all we are saying is that this is very reminiscent of the Yanks (who we know quite well as neighbors) in that the Phils are an aging team that’s built to win now. Unfortunately you are not capable of adding another 50M in payroll like the Yanks do if some unforseen event occurs if all these guys start breaking down at once.

      • ARGGG…the Phils have $50mm coming off their books NEXT year.

        They will have payroll flexibility at some of the easiest postions to fill.

        I don’t understand why this is so hard to understand.

      • Shortstop is one of the easiest positions to fill?

      • Nice reading comprehension…I said in two posts above they could fill SS with Wilson Valdez again. they got as much production out of him as they did Rollins for 1/8 the cost. OF and Bullpen are easy to replace, and they’ll have money to do it.

      • Wilson Valdez is your answer?

      • You are a delusional Mets fan…whom do you want them to go after. Their owners spend money, maybe they’ll get someone else. Given they played last year more than half their games with Valdez and won 97 with Oswalt for 1/2 a hear and no Cliff Lee at all why couldn’t they do it again smart guy?

      • I agree with you that the free agent market won’t be what it has been now but the Phillies have done well with lower level free agent that have turn into stars such as Werth and Victorino. Also under stand that this team is “aging” but it is no where near Yankee level. All of our starting pitchers are under the age of 33 and most will not be with the team or with a reduced salary when they hit 37. The core of the teams average age is 31 with Victorino, J-Roll, Howard and Utley. By the time they tail off, we will have some farm hands ready by then and start to rebuild.

        The Mets, however, are stuck in between rebuilding and reloading. They have committed a large amount of salary to Santana, Beltran, and Bay who are all over 30. By the time the Mets are done rebuilding, Wright and Reyes (if they keep him) will be over 30. The rest of the position players are question marks. The rest of the pitching staff are either over 30 or have serious questions about durability. The Mets are not going to be contenders for a while especially if the Braves continue to retool and the free agent market is as weak as you think it will be in the future.

      • This is the most damning thing of all. If the FA market is indeed weaker, the Phillies will have a clearly superior winning record, as much payroll as the Mets (along with greater revenue), and will have roughly the same amount of money coming off the books. So why would any free agent want to come to Flushing?

      • Patrick, you are talking about how the free agent market isn’t good going forward, but at the same time, Alderson is talking about waiting to spend money later on, while the Mets supposedly aren’t broke. They want to stay on this artificial number for whatever reason. As I’ve read previously, the Wilpons supposedly have a financial goal for the team – break even in lean years, so that in the good years, they will make their big profits. I presume, all the while, as the team gets worth more money, that’s a nice “on-paper” appreciation on their investment. I do understand, in some ways, how a baseball team is a business, etc. It’s just that baseball is America’s national pasttime, with anti-trust exemption from the federal govt. They threaten to leave towns if their cities don’t finance new stadiums, yet they owe their fans nothing, from what I hear a LOT. And then, if they do badly, they get revenue sharing anyway, to spend as they please. Of course, the Mets aren’t in that boat. But also, I see the other side. Fred Wilpon has tried other stuff – thrown money at the Bonilla’s, etc. and seen that just because a player is out there and you throw money at them, sometimes that can be a fiasco. So, Alderson, I have mixed feelings about, as I also do, his “strategy”. He won’t admit responsibility for his part in the steroids on his A’s – I’m not convinced on his version of what he knew and when he knew it. Whether he was ignorant of what was going on on his watch or involved, either way, he should “man up” and take responsbility, but he never has. Yet he has been given the helm of the Mets. I understand that he has been involved in many good revolutionary ideas that are now a part of the game, too. As far as what he’s doing now, I endorse some of it, but he needs to spend more – he should have gotten Garland or someone like that and maybe a Wigginton for 2B or even Kepenger. I’m not convinced that Murphy will cut it on defense at 2B. No matter what the Mets want to do longterm, after what the fans have been through, I find it highly insulting and extremely wrong for them to expect us to be patient to the point of not being willing to raise their budget for 2011. At the same time, I will reserve judgment ultimately to see what kind of roster we end up with on Opening Day. I can only hope the 2011 team surprises us. But I find a lot of what I perceive as a blind trust reminiscent of what was on hand for Omar, way past his better days. I guess it’s the nature of bringing so many outside experts in, but I also find it highly frustrating to wait for these guys to get acquainted with a team that us laypersons/fans already know so intimately.

      • Patrick Flood

        I agree with waiting to reserve judgment until seeing the Opening Day lineup. I think we’ll be happy, if only because last year’s Opening Day lineup was hilariously awful. Jacobs, Matthews Jr., Cora, Francouer.

    • tg1

      first off, i would like to say that i hate all of you philly fans. you are the lowest class human beings and the worst fans int he league, you no it, i no it, and everyone else knows it.

      all that being said, i totally agree with everything you have just stated. it is why i HATE the Mets Owners there cheap and do not understand spending, whether its on the draft, international signings or in just raising payroll to compete with teh Phillies!

  13. Delusional………Phils are in great shape……Rollins, the last two years, has been horrible….if he is even mediocre, it’ll be an improvement….Ibanez only hit the ball once before September…..if he does anything, it’ll be an improvement….the only thing they are lacking in the minor leagues is middle infielders….they’ve got exactly 0…save for one who is a gold glove caliber SS who swings a wiffle ball bat…..Phils will fine…trying to compare them to the slide the Mets suffered, come on…..their not dumb enough to break the bank for goofballs like Bay, Beltran, F Rod and Santana, whom, by the way, throws about 87 mph now…..seeya!

  14. If you take a real good look at the Phillies salary structure they have done a nice job of staggering the end years of these deals and should they be able to maintain this payroll they can replace/resign the players they are losing without money problems. Having 60 mil coming off the books and losing Rollins, Ibanez, Oswalt and Madsen is not a bad spot to be in. They have set up that sustained flexability we hear Alderson talking about.

    But the lack of a farm system will be the real problem, unless they find a gem with the 1 or 2 prospects they have left.

    • Patrick Flood

      That’s fair. But, like I replied above to someone else, the free agent market isn’t what it used to be. This year was Lee, Werth, and Crawford. Even if a ton of money is coming off the books, who are they signing with it?

      The same problem can be said for the Mets, but they are in rebuilding mode and can trade players for prospects, and not the other way around.

      • OK, you answered a bit of what I wrote above regarding the Mets being in the same boat with upcoming free agent markets. Another issue is this: Lee called up the Phils and asked if there was any way he could come back. That, when he had two teams begging him to come and offering way more cash. He is the exception to many who will sign for the highest salary. But there is his quote after he was traded to the M’s, where he said regarding the Phils “it was a true team”. A catch 22 for the Mets right now, since they need to somehow become a desireable destination. That happened briefly, or so the legend goes regarding them overpaying Pedro brought Beltran, etc. We just have to hope that Alderson really knows what he’s doing and can make Flushing a place of high interest to talent again.

  15. “By then, everyone on the team will be old, injured, and declining; talent won’t be coming from within”

    Is this a joke? Phillies have pitchers Cosart, Colvin, May, Julio Rodriguez, and more, all of whom dominated A-ball this year. At least one, and probably two of them will be more than ready to step in by 2013, if not earlier.

    I agree that the young outfielders in our system are still tough to gauge, but between James, Castro, Gillies, Alvarez, etc., one of them is bound to step up in a couple of years. We also have young C Sebastian Valle who has been steadily progressing and should be on the threshold by 2013.

    As far as middle infielders, everyone knows SS Galvis can’t hit, but Cesar Hernandez is definitely a name to keep an eye on.

    Do some homework next time before trashing a farm system you know nothing about.

    • Well, you think your manager knows a declining franchise when he sees one? After you guys were sent home for the winter by the World Series champs, you’re own manager said your team has two or three years left to make a run.

      You don’t win big league games drooling over A-Ball players who may never reach the majors, or be successful. That’s the shelf life of most prospects. Disappointment. Domonic Brown thus far looks lost. Rebuilding and then actually excelling at the big league level is long process, and judging by the Phillies combined 2 World Series Championship in over 100 hundreds years, that hasn’t worked out very well.

      Enjoy your run while you can. You had your chances in 2009 and 2010 for another and didn’t get it done. Next offseason you have 10 players under contract for at least 115 mil. That’s going to increase when Hamels gets a shiny raise. After next season you’ll also need a shortstop, bullpen, more starting pitching, a bench, left and right fielders who can actually produce. After this season, you’re team isn’t looking any near strong as it has the past few. A weak offense isn’t going to fair well against the pitching of the Braves and Marlins,

  16. So to summarize. The Phils are good, the Mets aren’t.

    BUT if the mets just wait around long enough the Phils will stop being good, with no real change in the Mets, which will make the Phils even with the Mets.

    Got it everyone?

  17. “Wouldn’t be prudent.” “It is your money after all.”

    It is hard to be excited for the team you loved from when you were a kid is falling farther back out of contention. At this rate, the Mets will be chasing the Phillie for another three to four years. Then the Braves organization should be fully recovered to torment us again.

    The next four to five years is really going to stink!

  18. Depleted Farm System…hmmm, I don’t think so.

    1. Domonic Brown, OF
    2. Jonathan Singleton, 1B/OF
    3. Brody Colvin, RHP
    4. Jarred Cosart, RHP
    5. Trevor May, RHP
    6. Sebastian Valle, C
    7. Jiwan James, OF
    8. Jesse Biddle, LHP
    9. Domingo Santana, OF
    10. Aaron Altherr, OF

    All top prospects! I’m sure the Phillies will be trading for future prospects as well.

    • Patrick Flood

      It comes down to their A-Ball pitchers — and they have very good pitchers at A-Ball. If they can develop over the next two years, things will look okay for the future Phillies. If not, it’s going to get ugly fast. Is that fair?

      • Yes very true, they could not develop as hoped. But you have to agree Rueben Amaro is a smart GM and I think he has a plan for the short and long term.

      • I think that remains to be seen. Amaro too over a team that was ready made to win. He has chosen to go all in the last couple years and win now, which is fine, but to conculde at this point that his plan for the long term is smart would just be un informed, because at this point, there really isnt a long term plan to speak of.

  19. Another weak argument by a delusional mets fan. Four years from now when the mets lose again to the phillies its gonna be “oh just wait 2 years and it’ll fail” For years now mets fans have been saying that and its never paned out. With the mets dismal ticket sales they will have a tampa bay like crowd and we’ll see how the organization reacts then.

  20. I want to believe that the Phillies will collapse under the weight of their senior citizens in 4-5 years, but we have to realise, in 4-5 years, they can restock their farm through the draft and through trades. They can totally revitalize it in that amount of time.

    Their GM knows what they’re doing. I suspect that they will be fine.

  21. Also, a nightmare scenario: With Rollins coming off the books next year, what’s to stop them from going after another FA ss, like Reyes?

  22. Congratulations Phillies, you are this years “Paper Champions!” Having the best rotation in baseball sure is awesome but what good does it do to have such a rotation if the Phillies are ousted in the NLCS again? They put that 162 game schedule together for a reason. The rotation, along with the lineup, need to stay healthy and continue to produce what is on the back of their baseball cards. If the Phillies do not win it all in 11,they will have some issues that will need to be addressed when the season is over and a big one will be the age of the club. They will be contenders with aging, top paid veterans, while everyone else in the division gets younger and more athletic. I am looking forward to see how this all plays out even if it means more mediocre baseball from the Mets(who aren’t going anywhere for a while).

    • Contestant: “I’ll take Legendary Pitching Staffs for a thousand.”

      Alex Trebek: “They ask the Phillies 2011 staff ‘Who’s Your Daddy?”

      Contestant: “Who is the SF Giants’ homegrown staff?”

      Ding ding ding.

      Good luck next season, Mets. Hope you best the Phillies every game.

  23. Phillies are in great position we are not. lets tip our hat to them their running a fine organization that is selling out their stadium, we will get better but have nothing to show nothing to brag nothing to talk about we suck. lets hope things change but lets not knock the Phillies if we had the chance to switch players we would do it in a heartbeat.

    • Its all about perspective. For the short term, yes the Phillies are in a great position, but thier long term prospects remain to be seen. Having a ton of money committed to old players is def. something of concern.

      Could it all work out and no one gets hurt and they all play well into thier mid-late 30’s, of course they can, but at the same time it could all come crashing down, and when it does, it would really crash hard for a team in that situation, much like we’ve seen from the Mets.

      So I agree the phils are in a great position for next season, and maybe the year after, but beyond that, there’s no guarantees of anything.

      • I think most people realize there are no guarantees with injuries, age, prospect developments and contract negotiations. I think in baseball, it’s always seems to be about the present or short term. Take it when you can attitude.

    • I agree with your post.

  24. Phillies will be hamstrung by Lee’s contract down the road but every one overpays on the back end. It’s a part of the free agency tradition. But to say they have mortgaged the future…well we can only wish that was true.

    Baseball America still has them Top 10. They had the 3rd most wins in Minor League Baseball last year and the best overall record by far in Single A. By 2013 when all the old (homegrown) talent goes belly up, the new kids might be ready.

    Wow, what a concept. Build from within with homegrown talent. Keep some, trade some and add through free agency.

    We have had Wright and Reyes for years and wasted the opportunity. Let’s stop trying to will the Phillies bad luck and instead imitate their game plan.

  25. It was so much more fun when the Mets were good and the rivalry had some meaning.

    Like Mets fans wouldn’t kill to have he opportunity to say the Mets lost in the NLCS.

  26. Was moved to shout “Hell yeah!” at the end. Beautiful work, as always.

  27. Thank you all. Brings back vivid memories of my junior high school playground back in the ’70s. The only thing that has changed is the names of the teams and the players. Ain’t life grand?

    I think I’m going to go get drunk and barf on somebody’s kid or run around a packed stadium. Nahh, my team is going to make the playoffs in 2011 so I’m thinking up my dream craigslist ad for how to prostitute my wife so I can get some WS tix. Silly me, no copycatting. I need to get creative and do something immoral, stupid and/or disgusting that hasn’t been done before, then win the ultimate trifecta: get myself arrested, embarrass my family, and lose my job. Phillies win, yay.

  28. Patrick, I think you have the baseball smarts of the chair you’re sitting on. The Phils have not made the market on the players they’ve signed and have signed guys like Halladay and Lee who offered concessions to the team in signing. Oswalt came with a $12 million check from the Astros. It’s not like the New York teams where players want top dollar.

    If you know anything about minor league talent, you would know that the Phils have one of the best farm systems in baseball with a candidate much stronger and deeper than two years ago before people like you started bleating about the team getting old and over the hill. Next time write about something you know something about, say, macrame weaving or making peach preserves. For baseball commentary, you’re a joke.

  29. 7 up with 14 to play, need I say more?

  30. The Mets have a plan now? What might that be?

    And they have ideas? Good ones?

    What are they exactly?

    Quite frankly, I’m not concerned right now with the Phillies future. I’m having too much fun in the present.

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