By now, you know the grim reality.
The Phillies we unable to make it to their 3rd straight Fall Classic. They were outplayed and beaten by a group of castoffs that compromised the San Francisco Giants roster, a team that eventually won the World Series against the Texas Rangers.
To sum up these chain of events, it’s actually quite easy. The Phillies did not deserve to have a chance to win there second World Series in 3 years. In addition to out-performing the undisputed most talented team in the National League, the most surprising element of the series was that the Giants were clearly more motivated than the Phillies.
It was almost like you were watching the 2008 Phillies when you saw the Giants and how they performed on the field. Opportunistic, clutch, always able to come up with the big play, manufacture that one run, or come up with that big pitch, a team who had not been to a World Series in eight years dismantled a Phillies team who was expected to roll to the World Series based on their overall talent and experience. In terms of comparing this Giants team to the ’08 Philadelphia team that won the title, their NLCS run was awfully remnicent, in regards to their play and their approach, to how the Phillies took apart the heavily favored Dodgers in 2008.
Well that, and both teams had one common link that helped carry them to victory.
The one, the only, Pat Burrell (and his .143 BA this postseason).
All jokes aside, while it still irks me that Burrell and Cody Ross (who was on the Marlins of all teams three months ago) are celebrating a World Series title while the city of Philadelphia is not, the show must go on.
The show, in this case, is the off-season.
Here are 3 questions the Phillies need to answer before Spring Training starts.
1. Will Jayson Werth be the starting RF for the Phillies on opening day?
Is Werth worth it? In this case, if his rumored asking price for a long-term deal is true (15-18 mil a year for 4-5 years), I am inclined to say no. I think the Phillies will echo that as well, especially with Domonic Brown, the #1 overall prospect in all of baseball in 2010, waiting in the wings. With letting Werth go, and implementing Brown as the starting RF imposes a clear lineup imbalance (over-abundance of LH hitters), a possible platoon for a year with Brown and another RH hitter (Ben Francisco, John Mayberry Jr., or a FA) seems to be economical move, and in my opinion, the right one. Unless Werth is willing to take a paycut (11-13 mil a year over 3-4 years), the most popular player (at least according to the female demographic) on the Phillies will no longer be able to call his home Philadelphia come the 2011 season.
2. Which members of the 2010 roster will no longer a member of the club come 2011?
If Werth goes, who else will join him? Just a couple days into the off-season, we likely know a couple of those names. The Phillies front office decided against exercizing the contract options SP Jamie Moyer, LHP J.C Romero, and UTIL Greg Dobbs, while the contract of 1B coach Davey Lopes was not renewed. With Lopes gone, Moyer likely headed towards the retirement home, and Dobbs to the minors, the only one who even has a chance to come back is Romero, who would have to take at least a 50% paycut and and accept a 1-year deal. Don’t really see Romero as one who would make many concessions when it comes to something like that.
Outside of Romero, Moyer and Lopes, there are only a couple Phillies who are not locked up in long-term deals they could hit the highway. For all those that think SS Jimmy Rollins and OF Raul Ibanez may be on their way out, don’t. That’s not going to happen. Well, at least not this year. The starting lineup outside Werth is almost guaranteed to remain the same. The bench, predicting that the contracts of INF Wilson Valdez, 1B Mike Sweeney and 1B/OF Ross Gload will be renewed, should stay the same as well (although I think they will add an outfielder who specializes in hitting LHP pitching). As of right now, the pitching staff is where the most turnover could be. While the starting rotation seems to be set outside the 5th starter spot, there are four names that could potentially be on other teams at the start of the season.
RHP Chad Durbin (FA)
RHP Danys Baez (Outright release)
RHP David Herndon (Trade/Outright Release)
SP/RP Kyle Kendrick (Trade)
My prediction on this. Even though Baez under contract, I believe he has the highest chances out of the four of not being on the roster due to an extreme lack of productivity this year. And that’s putting it kindly. Outside of that, I think it’s likely that the Phillies bring back Herndon and Kendrick because they are as both under contract as well, and if Durbin is willing to take a one year deal, he should be back as well.
3. Are the Phillies to old?
If the Phillies playoff roster happens to be the 2011 opening day roster, with Brown supplanting Werth and the addition of John Mayberry Jr. as a utility OF who hits right-handed, they will still only have seven players (out of 25) under the age of 30. That will make them the undisputed oldest team in baseball. Now with that, they aren’t THAT old. There are 3 players who will be 30, and Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, and Jimmy Rollins will all be 32 years of age or under, which means that they should be still within the prime of their respective careers.
The point I’m trying to make is that while the Phillies aren’t a kernel of puppies by any stretch of the imagination, they aren’t a softball team at an old age home either. With the way the contracts lay out though, there are not many ways they will get any younger throughout the season. A large majority of the current big league team is, as I said before, under contract, and even if the organization wants to get younger, the Phillies traded away a good majority of their pro-ready prospects in deals to acquire Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay, and Roy Oswalt in the past year and a half.
So to answer this question, I don’t think the Phillies are too old right now, but it’s also clear that they aren’t in any position to get any younger.
As long as they win, age won’t be an issue.