When Hall of Fame general manager Pat Gillick talks, it’s time to listen. I don’t care if he’s recommending what type of dressing to put on a salad, I’m going to follow his advice.
Yes, Thousand Island does taste good Mr. Gillick. On behalf of everyone who waited almost three decades for a second Philadelphia Phillies‘ parade, we honor your wisdom and thank you for your embellishment selection.
Gillick advised this week on Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia that he believes the Phillies’ current veteran core (namely Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins) have one, or possible two seasons left to win a championship. Beyond well-earned reverence for this man’s projections, his advice makes sense.
Howard is 33, while Rollins and Utley are 34. Being middle-aged, by baseball standards, means that this iconic trio isn’t finished. However, it’s fair to calculate the countdown of their individual (or collective) production at this stage of their careers.
Anyone who has followed this team for a period of time, let’s say at least back to the 1970s, knows that the current squad is on par with the original “golden age” contingent that played from the mid-1970s through the mid-1980s. I can’t say that one group is better than the other, because both teams appeared in two “Fall Classics” and earned one trophy apiece.
When considering the health, contract status and realistic production of each man, seeing the 2013 season as the potential finale for this threesome might be right. Utley’s contract ends after this year, while Rollins’ deal is guaranteed through 2014 and Howard’s agreement is secure through at least 2016.
Gillick was right to say that they might have two years left together. The Phillies could extend Utley’s contract beyond this season if he proves that his chronic knee condition is under control and appears in at least 130 productive game this year.