Can Phillies Make A Run? Can They Keep Utley and Doc?

Chase Utley, Roy HalladayThe Phillies are 48-48 at the All-Star break, 6 1/2 games behind the Braves in the NL East and 5 1/2 games behind the Reds for the second Wild Card.

They finished the half on a 9-4 run, although if you watched their just completed three-game series against the White Sox, you know this team is far from perfect.

“I think we made a statement that if we are going to be a contender and we’re going to win our division or a wild card, we still need some help,” Charlie Manuel said.

But this should be a fascinating second half for numerous reasons. First, the Phillies have a .610 winning percentage post-break with Manuel at the helm. That is the second-best record in baseball from 2005-12. They had a .587 winning percentage after the break last season, even after trading Shane Victorino, Hunter Pence and Joe Blanton. If the Phillies play the same this year they would finish 86-76. The Reds are on pace to win 90 games, so the Phillies need to pick up the pace in the second half.

But the Phillies play the Marlins, Mets, Padres and Cubs 25 more times, or 38.9 percent of their remaining games. Those teams have four of the five-worst records in the league. They also play the Braves and Nationals 22 more times, or 33.3 percent of their remaining games. So 47 of their remaining 66 games (71.2 percent) are against four of the worst teams in the league and the two teams they’re chasing to win the division. Since the Braves started 12-1, they are just 42-40. The Phillies are 42-40 in that same stretch, while the Nationals are 40-41.

The Phillies can’t say they won’t have a chance.

Second, what will the next couple weeks hold? Will the Phillies find a centerfielder to replace Ben Revere? Will they get some desperately needed bullpen help? I know everybody is saying the Phillies are buyers today, but if they stumble coming out of the break that could change quickly. The Phillies have a three-game series this weekend against the Mets at Citi Field, but then travel to St. Louis and Detroit. That isn’t an easy road trip, so the Phillies will need to play well.

Third, there will be plenty of evaluating going on in the second half. The Phillies will evaluate if they should buy or sell, and if they buy how much do they want to buy? But they also will be looking at their players on the field, deciding how they want to improve in 2014 and beyond. But players will be evaluating them, too. Chase Utley and Roy Halladay are free agents following the season. Ruben Amaro Jr. already has said he wants Utley to be a “Phillie for life.” If Halladay returns later this season and pitches well, you have to think the Phillies will try to bring him back. People always ask me about leaders in the Phillies clubhouse. Utley and Halladay are the two best. If they’re performing well you don’t want to lose them.

But Utley and Halladay also will have to decide if it’s best for them to stay. If they think the Phillies are moving in the wrong direction they might want to try to get a World Series ring elsewhere.

Utley talked about his future in Philadelphia. Read that story here.

Halladay also talked about his future in Philadelphia. Read that story here.


“We need just two players to be a contender. Just Babe Ruth and Sandy Koufax.”
— Whitey Herzog
Now the Phils need Willie Mays, too.

Don’t count Doc out of the equation this season. If he can come back healthy for that last month (especially with games against Atlanta!), that could really change things.

Keep Utley & Doc!

I expect them to go 2-4 vs STL and DET – best case scenario. That said, I would not put it to the impossible category to catch the Braves – one of the most notorious second-half chokers in the last 20 years. And the Nats are hardly looking stellar either. My prediction is that they will make a run, but likely fall a little short. But hopefully they will learn something more about this team and actually have a plan going into the offseason that involves prospects in the farm AND a free agent or two. But they have to do a better job at evaluating talent, which is not all Amaro’s fault. Their scouting system must be subpar, based on how many misses they have made in either getting rid of people (Ibanez, Pence) or bringing in people (Durbin, Rosenburg).

If Mayberry hadn’t been as good as he was in 2011 I feel confident that they would have hung on to Ibanez. Unfortunately, Mayberry crapped the bed when he got the full time job and Ibanez continued to tear it up. I was sad to see him go but I understood why they did it – the decision simply didn’t work out. I heard that Pence was troublesome with the coaching staff and with his abysmal play before he was traded (and in reality – he hasn’t been /great/ in SF either) I didn’t mind seeing him leave.

The biggest mistake in recent history in my mind is letting Grilli go to Pittsburgh. He was passed over time and time again and instead we decided to pay $13MM a year for a closer.

What is this infatuation with Ibanez? It is obvious that his old bones couldn’t take the rigors of real baseball so he went back to the AL where he can rest as the DH. Of course, it took the Phillies over $10 million per year over 3 years to figure this out.

He still plays a better outfield than Delmon Young – and hits better on top of it. Oh, and he has 24 home runs this year…while playing in Seattle. Who on the Phillies not named Dom Brown is anywhere near that?

Did you miss my point? Ibanez thrives as part time player. He wilts under the rigor of having to play as an every day player. You need to ask yourself why his home run production this year exceeds each of the last two years of the three years Ibanez was with the Phillies.

Still hit more than Mayberry. Still hit more than Delmon Young. Even if he was “wilting”. I’m not saying he was the greatest left fielder ever or that we’d be 10 games over .500 if we still had him. He didn’t stay because Mayberry had a great year. Mayberry hasn’t had a great year since while Ibanez has continued to contribute offensively at or near the same level that he did. That was my point.

And don’t give me this “obvious” stuff. His numbers the last year in Philly were comparable to his year in NY where he didn’t play the field every day.

Thank you for supporting my point.

amaro would not keep ibanez so he could sign future hall of famer lance nix

uh, no infatuation with Ibanez here, but two years later they have not replaced him in terms of offense or defense. Not saying he shouldn’t have gone, but AM saying that they needed a better plan. Ditto with Pence – he’s not Willie Mays, but who would you rather have, him or Delmon Young? The perennially good franchises always seem to have good master plans, so when they get rid of Player “A”, they already have an idea of whom they are going to replace him with – and that someone is almost always an upgrade, either in terms of talent, contract (value), or both. I have not seen that from this team in the last 3 years or so. Thus, I hope that if they make any moves, that they are well-thought out and not just panic moves to bring in a “name” or get rid of someone just to make a move.

Fun seeing the SportsCenter highlight of him trying to destroy a big Gatorade tank in the dugout yesterday out of anger over I don’t know what — while he was still in the game — and the team holding back the pitching coach from knocking Heavy-B out for being such a putz as he was “ushered” into the clubhouse.


>________________________________ > From: The Zo Zone >To: >Sent: Monday, July 15, 2013 10:08 AM >Subject: [New post] Can Phillies Make A Run? Can They Keep Utley and Doc? > > > > >Todd Zolecki posted: “The Phillies are 48-48 at the All-Star break, 6 1/2 games behind the Braves in the NL East and 5 1/2 games behind the Reds for the second Wild Card. They finished the half on a 9-4 run, although if you watched their just completed three-game series aga” >

Who is “he” that tried to destroy the Gatorade tank?

Over half of this years 78 All Stars where acquired by their current teams in the draft or international signings or were throw-ins, as minor league prospects, in trades for more “established players. So much for a team throwing tons of cash at a problem as the Phillies have done for the last five years and sacrificing prospects.. Of course there is the additional issue of identifying the “problems” at which to throw the cash. But, then again, the Phillies current regime is always addressing yesterday’s problems at the expense of today’s and tomorrow’s problems..

Pherris, just out of curriousity, can hou name one prospect the phillies traded over the last 5 years who has actually done anything at a MLB level? there are a few, I grant, who were released and have become players, or left as minor league FAs, but who did RAJ trade who you would serriously want back due to their performance?

Who would have thunk it. Joe Blanton the only acquisition who played on a WS winning Phillies team. But the deal was done by Glillick not Junior. And even here, what was Junior’s answer to not being able to trade Blanton when he became expendable.? Of course, throw $30 million at him for three more years. I count 5 former Phillie prospects with possible bright futures who have been trades by Junior. Other than Lee, I can’t count one other of Junior’s signings or acquisitions who has even stayed healthy for the duration of his Phillies contract or who might be on the Phillies next WS winner.

FIJ, enough already with this naming one traded prospect who has made a difference. The veterans for whom they were traded haven’t made a difference either. Many of the prospects still have potential while a burnt out veteran will always be a burnt out veteran. Then there are the 1st round picks the Phillies didn’t get because they signed Ibanez and Lee. And I mention Lee here not because of his worth to Phillies as much as the circus created to get him here.

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