As alluded to in yesterday’s satirical article, the Philadelphia Phillies’ big pitching acquisition in the offseason (end of last season, if we’re being specific) was Cuban Miguel ‘Fettuccine’ Alfredo Gonzalez. He was signed to a three-year, $12 million contract in August by Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr., however, the deal was originally reported to be in the 6-year, $48 million dollar range. After concerns emerged regarding Fettuccine’s throwing elbow, his contract was dramatically cut in half in terms of years and annual salary to accommodate for those concerns.
Shortly after the signing, Amaro expressed the desire for Fettuccine to hopefully be their No. 3 starter this year, and possibly even a No. 2 down the line Sounds reasonable, no? Paying $4 million a year for a guy with a No. 2 ceiling? Not too bad.
Considering the Phillies signed Fettuccine in August, during the their season, it would be easy for many to forget about it. In a surprise comment yesterday, at least to this author, the tenor of expectation surrounding Gonzalez changed dramatically coming from the mouth of the team’s general manager. “We don’t know what we have in Gonzalez; it’d be nice to get lucky,” stated Amaro. “Whether he can step up and be a true No. 3, I don’t know that…it’s a little bit of a long shot, but not out of [the] realm of possibility.”
Heading into the 2014 season, the status of the Phillies’ starting pitching rotation is weaker than before the trade of Kevin Millwood. The top two starters on the staff are accounted for in Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee, and many thought that after the signing of Gonzalez, he would slide right into the No. 3 spot without much of a fuss. Now, all of a sudden, the team is ‘hoping’ that Fettuccine can live up to his potential No. 3 status, despite the fact that it is a ‘longshot.’ I wonder who Amaro is pulling for this Sunday at the Grammy’s.
Three years removed from one of the best rotations in the history of the MLB, and the Philadelphia Phillies plan on filling three fifths of their rotation with a reclamation project, a long-shot, and some combination of a prospect and swingman.
Meanwhile, the cost of bringing in available pitchers such as Ervin Santana, Ubaldo Jiminez and Matt Garza, all pitchers with significantly higher upsides, continues to drop.
My, how the mighty have fallen.