The night before he surrendered to the United States at the end of WWII, Japanese Emperor Hirohito told his subjects on a national radio broadcast that they “must endure the unendurable.”
If GM Ruben Amaro Jr. was honest with Philadelphia Phillies fans, he would use similar language about the team’s future. Instead, Amaro is going on every talk show admitting that he is in full-blown sale mode without bracing the fans for the consequences of selling — which simply means a sustained period of losing inevitably is ahead.
Selling off assets to improve the team’s future by its very nature tells the fans to brace for at least two more years of losing. That’s really the only way the Phillies can go now, because even if they keep all of their current assets, there is no way of avoiding two more years of losing.
Why not use these two years to acquire players young enough to help two years down the road?
That seems to be the way to go for the Phillies now and the way they will go. It’s logical in the sense that they have some young assets in place who figure to be major contributors in 2016, and those guys are current starting third baseman Cody Asche and future starting first baseman Darin Ruf, who must be groomed to replace punchless Ryan Howard. By the time both Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley are ready to retire — and this should be either in 2016 or right around it — shortstop J.P. Crawford and second baseman Cesar Hernandez should be ready to step in and be solid contributors. Whatever salary they are able to dump now can be used to add free agents for the next two seasons in needed areas.
If the Phillies can get a couple of top-notch, young outfield pieces and a starting pitcher or two from the low minors who will be ready in two years, then enduring two years of losing should not be so unendurable. That’s the way the Phillies should sell their sale to their fanbase.