To put what the Philadelphia Phillies did (or did not) do this offseason in a way most non-baseball fans would understand, the organization’s body of work included too many question marks and not enough exclamation points.
February begins tomorrow, and with the balls and the bats being packed at Citizens Bank Park for the long drive to Florida, you can also include a few trunkloads of hope.
Hope as in GM Ruben Amaro praying his core infield of Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley and catcher Carlos Ruiz—all in their mid-30s—does not break down and miss long stretches of the season. Since each of them has done precisely that for the last few seasons, Amaro might have a better chance at winning a lottery than seeing that happen.
Contrast the Phillies’ question marks to the exclamation points compiled by the New York Yankees. At the end of last season, the Phillies briefly entertained the idea of upgrading their catching with Brian McCann, but the Yankees signed him instead. When Amaro eschewed the big-ticket guys in the offseason, the rumors were that he was saving his pennies for Masahiro Tanaka, the Japanese pitching phenom. The Yankees also landed him to a trifecta that included McCann and Jacoby Ellsbury. The Phillies ended up with Marlon Byrd.
Right now the Liberty Bell in center field at Citizens Bank Park is looking more like a question mark, and Phillies fans cannot be liking what they see.