Philadelphia Phillies Should Learn From Success of Boston Red Sox

By Mike Gibson
Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Somewhere in his Citizens’ Bank Park office, Philadelphia Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. should be scouring the Boston Red Sox roster for some clues on how to build his own team.

The Red Sox just about taught everyone in baseball a lesson in how to go from worst to first, and those who are taking the best notes should be best-suited to implement that kind of change closer to home. The general consensus is that the Red Sox improved dramatically in one year because they were able to sign short-term deals with character guys, rather than be locked into long-term deals with guys who might not be of less questionable character, but certainly of declining skills.

The Phillies cannot do much about that now since they have locked up players on the downside like Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins, but they can certainly learn from those mistakes by not going down that road again. Once the contracts of those three come to an end, they have got to be more mindful of signing the long-term contracts to guys in their 20s, not in their 30s. Locking up that kind of money against the backdrop of naturally-declining skills is a recipe for failure.

So, the Phillies should keep their promising young players, even sign them to long-term deals, but not be shy to part with the superstars who fans became so attached to over a longer time frame. On the flip side of that, sign one-year deals with high-character guys who have had a solid recent success rate. One such example was Boston’s signing of first baseman Mike Napoli, who not only hit 23 homers during the regular season, but his strikeout-per-plate-appearance rate was the second-best in baseball.

On a Phillies team that strikes out way too much, those kind of guys are at a premium, and it’s Amaro’s job to go out and find a couple. It’s not an easy job, but that’s why he’s getting paid the big bucks.

We won’t know how well he takes notes until about a year from now, but it could be sooner if he’s not paying attention.

Mike Gibson, a two-time APSE award-winner for Best Sports Story and Best Sports Feature, is a writer for Follow him on Twitter @papreps , “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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