The Philadelphia Phillies have been this road before too many times, and it leads to nowhere. They need not go down the same road with Ichiro Suzuki of the New York Yankees, who was the subject of a rumored trade with the Phillies on Monday.
It hasn’t happened yet, and it should not. Instead of getting rid of the older core, the Phillies used the offseason to accelerate the aging process by re-signing 35-year-old catcher Carlos Ruiz and signing free agents like 36-year-old Marlon Byrd, and 37-year-old A.J. Burnett. The Phillies even invited 40-year-old Bobby Abreu to camp, and he’s hitting .111.
Suzuki is 40, and the Phillies need another 40-year-old like they need a proverbial hole in the head. In fact, a lot of Phillies fans already think GM Ruben Amaro Jr. has a hole in his head for assembling a team this old.
The trade supposedly is a straight swap for eighth-inning specialist Mike Adams that would be essentially a salary swap, as Suzuki makes $6.5 million while Adams makes $7 million. Still, the idea stinks because the Phillies’ outfield is set with Byrd, Domonic Brown and Ben Revere. All three of those players hit a higher average than Suzuki, who played 150 games last season for the Yankees but hit just .262.
Suzuki is getting close to the 3,000-hit milestone, but that should not be achieved in Philadelphia because the player holds no special place in the hearts of Phillies fans. What the Phillies should be doing is making plans for some of their younger players, like infielder Cesar Hernandez and OF/1B Darin Ruf to take the place of some of their aging veterans should this thing go south in a hurry.
From the way the Phils are playing so far this spring, the season should head south figuratively only a few days after the team heads north literally.