Philadelphia Phillies: Major Rebuild Must Take Place
Attendance will rebound when consistent wins are seen again
Keep an eye on your favorites while you can. Unless a dramatic turnaround takes place, nearly every one of your favorite Philadelphia Phillies is likely to be leaving town for good in the relatively near future.
This prediction would be hogwash if it were 2009 and the Phillies had just lost a handful of games. It would still be an overreaction if it were 2010, or 2011. Calling for massive changes last season could have been seen as a reaction to multiple injuries.
It's five seasons past that marvelous World Series Championship season. The opening salvo to this feature isn't outlandish. It's logically accurate and better happen, because if it doesn't this franchise could be buried for years.
Throwing the ball around the roster, let's detail a pathway for general manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. to move forward. Yes, I think that the franchise will allow their top front office boss the opportunity to 'work through' his roster issues.
Would you extend Carlos Ruiz' contract past this season? That depends on how he performs through July. Regardless, 'Chooch' is a trade candidate.
Ryan Howard is the Phillies' second-greatest slugger in history. (All hail Mike Schmidt!) But, the 'Big Piece' has a gimpy leg.
As to whether he ever fully recovers his power stroke is a real question. It seems plausible that this first baseman could become a designated hitter before his guaranteed contract ends in 2016.
Chase Utley was an amazingly dynamic player for solid period of time. He seems to have found a way to manage his chronic knee condition after gutting his way through serious knee issues during the past few seasons.
Jimmy Rollins has the right to reject a trade, but I have a feeling that he won't if a strong suitor asks for a negotiation window and then offers to extend his current deal past 2014.
'J-Roll' is the greatest shortstop in team history. However, change starts at the top, he has value and should be dealt before next season begins.
If Roy Halladay is lucky and in order to prove to other teams that he's healthy, he might climb the mound much later this season. But, 'Doc's' last meaningful Philadelphia thrill has already been felt.
Should Cliff Lee have be signed as a free agent on December 15, 2010? Rewind to a better question: Why did Amaro trade him on December 16, 2009, after that amazing postseason performance? That query bears infinite repeating, why did he?
Lee's massive talent will always make him desirable to other teams. His massive contract, that potentially lasts through 2016, limits trade options. While he occupies a large percentage of the team's payroll, I wouldn't deal him.
Cole Hamels is the best homegrown pitcher to actually remain with the Phillies in decades. Never trade 'Hollywood' under any scenario.
Charlie Manuel has managed and also won the most games in team history. He led the team to back-to-back World Series' appearances. Along with Dallas Green, he is the only skipper to ever win a Phillies' championship.
I don't believe that he was simply in the right place at the right time. I think he was the perfect personality for a specific collection of men who created an awesome era.
His plaque will adorn the Phillies' Wall of Fame. In the more immediate future his obvious successor, Ryne Sandberg, will get his chance to reset the competitive standard.
Many of these names and some that have previously departed represent the core of a team that set all-time attendance records at the baseball palace known as Citizens Bank Park. A major rebuild within that beautiful structure will be filled with deep uncertainty and zero guarantees. But, it must happen if true progress is to be made.
Change starts at the top
Jimmy Rollins was the first young man to kick start this great era. His departure would mark the true end of an era.
Ruiz is a trade candidate
Carlos Ruiz is still a strong defensive catcher. Age, offensive uncertainty and Tommy Joseph make it possible that 'Chooch' could be moved.
Utley's future isn't certain in many respects
Chase Utley is the heart of this team. Trading him would instantly change its identity.
Howard's bat would fit into many American League lineups
Ryan Howard's place in team history is secure. But, he isn't likely to hold his spot at first base through the end of his contract.
When asked, 'Ryno' will attempt to reset a championship standard
Ryne Sandberg appears destined to lead the team that drafted him in 1978.