Improvers Should Improve

The Phillies don’t like to call themselves buyers or sellers.

They’re improvers, they said.

Well, it’s time to improve for 2013.

Charlie Manuel said yesterday the Phillies still have a heartbeat, but he understands the reality of the situation. They’re on pace to finish 71-91 and have given nobody any reason to believe they can put together the type of run they need to make the postseason for the sixth consecutive year. They knew they needed to win 2 of 3 or sweep this weekend in Atlanta, but they got swept instead. The Braves currently hold the second NL Wild Card and are on pace to finish 91-71, which means the Phillies would need to finish 46-14 (.767) to tie. That’s right, the Phillies would need to win more than three of every four games the rest of the season just to get into contention with the Pirates and Braves, assuming those teams keep their current pace. But the Phillies are just 8-7 (.533) since the break.

It doesn’t look like they’re up for the miracle of miracles.

The trade deadline is 4 p.m. tomorrow.

Is there any reason not to make a few trades to improve for next season?

Shane Victorino and Joe Blanton seem to be the most likely to go. Victorino could help a few outfields and Blanton could help a few rotations, much like he helped the Phillies rotation in 2008. Juan Pierre could help somebody. Hunter Pence‘s name is swirling around San Francisco, although every credible reporter there and nationally has dumped on the San Francisco TV report the Giants are simply awaiting approval from ownership to complete a deal. Personally, I don’t think it makes much sense to trade Pence unless they get quite a haul in return. They’ll need him next season. But if you can get something of value in return for Victorino and Blanton — a couple bullpen arms maybe? — then I think you have to do it. Sure, it would mean John Mayberry Jr. playing every day in center field the rest of the season, but it also might mean Domonic Brown playing every day in left field the rest of the season. And don’t the Phillies have to give Brown a two-month tryout, so they have a better idea of how they’re going to tackle the outfield in the offseason? I’m not sure they can go into next season hoping Brown can handle the job. They entered the previous two seasons hoping Ben Francisco could handle right field in place of Jayson Werth and Mayberry could handle left field in place of Raul Ibanez, and both fell far short of expectations.

Trading Victorino, Blanton, Pierre and others won’t make for pretty baseball the last two months of the season, but the first four months of the season haven’t been pretty with them.

Time to cut bait. Time to improve.


Totally agree. Hold onto Pence. Trade the others. Platoon Mayberry and Brown in left, or stick them both in the outfield full-time. Whatever. Call it what you like – improving, rebuilding, etc. – it’s never pretty, but it’s got to be done.

Cut bait indeed. Shane and Joe will be missed, but it’s time for this club to think about next year. The Phillies can lose every game for the rest of the season if it means they start next year with a roster that can succeed.

Your assessment of Hunter Pence is puzzeling for a guy that supposedly spends most of your time following the Phillies. Pence is a flawed, undisipined player that has contributed little to the team effort this year.

I don’t know the actual stats, but I’d be surprised if he didn’t lead the league in leaving runners in scoring position. He’s simply a hacker and lately just a singles hitter when he’s not striking out. Can anyone recall his last line drive in the gap?

Sorry but it does make a huge amount of sense to depart ways with Pence, no matter what you get in return. With Dominic Brown playing right field we won’t notice much of a difference.

I go to IronPigs games all of the time. Brown can’t handle the outfield in AAA and the organization knows it.

The biggest improvement the Phillies can make is to get rid of Charlie and Ruin Tomorrow, Jr. The Phillies should not be the geriatric ward for Latino ballplayers.

Well, unless a player continually plays a position on a daily basis, the chances of improvement lessen as is the case of Mayberry and Brown.. Experience equals improvement so you make a good point of filling in the gaps for the rest of season and let the chips fall where they may. I’m not crazy about trading Blanton, Victorino or Pierre but they have to do what they must do to re-build for next season and beyond. I would hate losing Pence but I can understand what Mr. See is saying. Thank God it’s not up to us to make these decisions. All we can do is sit back and roll with the punches and trades as a fan. That’s not easy either.

I’ve been saying this for months. They need to throw the kids out there and see how they do, because they obviously are not very good at the prognostication part of player development.

I think the ideas about Pence is he is a right-handed power hitter, but I agree, he has been awfully streaky this year. Maybe having a better lineup around him will help settle him down.

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