Improvers Should Improve
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.