The only member of the Philadelphia Phillies franchise who is guaranteed to end the 2013 season with the team also happens to be the largest and greenest. The Phillie Phanatic‘s position is secure.
Frankly, he’s just about the only one who can safely rest easy. Phillie players can’t be so assured. There will be trades. Injuries will almost certainly eliminate a few more. Anyone remaining will be surrounded by new faces. Fingers crossed.
Take the outfield … please. Domonic Brown and Laynce Nix are decent trade bait. Despite Brown’s recent uptick in production, he’s not a player around which to build a team — too young, too immature, and too inconsistent, he also has yet to turn on his GPS guidance system when tracking fly balls.
Ben Revere might make it to season’s end, but he won’t recognize his colleagues on either side of him. Delmon Young can’t behave for the balance of the season and he’ll feign injury when things get dicey.
Oh, and what about John Mayberry, Jr., you ask? Whatever leverage he has on someone in Phillies management will wane and he’ll be gone. He will not see the end of the season in Philadelphia. It can’t happen too soon.
The infield? Ryan Howard‘s power production will continue to decline and he’ll ironically come down with an injury to alleviate the pressure. Trust that the same will happen to Michael Young and Jimmy Rollins for at least part of the season.
Chase Utley and Carlos Ruiz will do their best but with their infield buddies falling prey to the coincidental injury syndrome, but they’ll also find it difficult to produce at All-Star levels.
Freddy Galvis and Kevin Frandsen will do their utmost to fill in so that the team doesn’t completely fall apart. But, they’re not viewed as leaders and won’t be able to impact the team in any measurable manner.
The pitching staff must be shifting uneasily in their seats, with Roy Halladay and John Lannan already gone. Both have fallen prey to the oh-so-common trend of poor performance followed by time spent on the disabled list.
Cliff Lee is tough and he may successfully gut it out. Kyle Kendrick and Jonathan Pettibone also bring hope and promise for the starters. Both have the ability and tenacity to remain standing on the hill. When they look down from their perch, however, they will need introductions to some newcomers.
Jonathan Papelbon has great trade value. The rest of the bullpen isn’t worth a wooden nickel. It would be better to move the Phanatic to the pen. Then, opposing batters might laugh themselves into strike outs.
Then there’s Charlie Manuel. If he’s smart, he’ll look around and consider early retirement. Not only is he in the last year of his current contract, but no one with any knowledge of baseball believes he will be encouraged to come back next year.
Ryne Sandberg is just too appealing as the next manager. He won’t wait if the Phillies renew Manuel’s contract. Rather than lose him, the Phillies will gently but forcibly show Manuel the door.
So if you really adore any of the current roster players, go to Citizen’s Bank Park often in the next few months. Otherwise, it will be too late.
Here’s a suggestion: since the Miami Marlins have become the resting place for ex-Phillies like Placido Polanco, Juan Pierre and Greg Dobbs, why not send a few more, and then some, of the current Phillies to Miami?
Instead of South Philly, it will be called Phillie South.