So I was reading the ‘Phillies Season in Review‘ on phillies.com and it was pretty crappy. Mind you it was written by Ken Mandel, of whom I’ve never been a fan of since he’s just a writer for mlb.com and is in no way associated with the Phillies and thus there are frequent inaccuracies. And this article is no exception. Check out this glaring one in the quote from the season summary.
What went wrong: Jim Thome was never healthy, and it showed in his .207 average and seven homers. Randy Wolf underwent Tommy John surgery in July and will miss at least half of the 2006 season. The ineffective pitching of Tim Worrell, Terry Adams and Rheal Cormier ultimately had a ripple effect on the rest of the bullpen.
I take that back, this guy must work for the Phillies because that is the most rank and file answer to the question “What Went Wrong?” I could imagine. Over the past three years or so, ‘injuries’ has been a consistent answer to why the Phillies missed the playoffs. The absence of Jim Thome and Randy Wolf are not the reason the Phils failed this year. Only the players on the field can affect a team’s performance and the team the Phillies did field was certainly adequate, just inconsistent. Therefore ‘injuries’ is just an excuse for a poor performance, it is not a justification nor an adequate explanation. Besides falling back on ‘injuries’ just proves the insufficient planning for acquiring bench players that can perform when called upon. Fortunately for this Phils this season, there was a lot of support by these guys (read: Ryan Howard).
With that, let’s look to the Inquirer’s published Phillies roster leading into next season. What is interesting to note are the players listed for salary arbitration. I know Ed Wade is currently focused on resigning Billy Wagner, but (assuming he’s still GM) I am looking forward to his plans regarding these players, i.e. who will they offer arbitration and how much will the offer to each? Barring any trade plans, I’m fairly sure he will try to resign Brett Myers outright, but I could see Padilla or Michaels going to arbitration. And with the Phils current financial situation, they may low ball these players and end up getting burnt in arbitration – meaning, the players’ submitted salary is adopted for a 1 year contract. Though the arbitration hearings are relatively small scale if they come to that, Ed Wade has actually a lot of experience in dealing with this subject and I think this might be an opportunity for him to show his worth. If not as a GM, at least in some other capacity. Again, that is if he lasts that long, arbitration hearings don’t start until mid-January.
The Phillies have committed $77.75 million to 11 players for next season:
Rightfielder Bobby Abreu ($13.5 million), third baseman David Bell ($4.5 million), leftfielder Pat Burrell ($9.5 million), lefthander Rheal Cormier ($2.5 million), righthander Jon Lieber ($7.25 million), catcher Mike Lieberthal ($7.5 million), righthander Cory Lidle ($3.3 million), infielder Tomas Perez ($700,000), shortstop Jimmy Rollins ($5 million), first baseman Jim Thome ($15 million) and lefthander Randy Wolf ($9 million).
Potential free agents
Centerfielder Kenny Lofton, infielder Ramon Martinez, catcher Todd Pratt, outfielder Michael Tucker, righthander Ugueth Urbina and lefthander Billy Wagner.
Outfielder Endy Chavez, lefthander Aaron Fultz, righthander Brett Myers, righthander Vicente Padilla and outfielder Jason Michaels.
Players such as first baseman Ryan Howard, second baseman Chase Utley and righthander Ryan Madson have fewer than three seasons of big-league service time and remain under control of the Phillies. They will be signed to relatively inexpensive contracts next season.