Could Age & Complacency Lead To a Phillies Collapse by 2014 or 2015?
There is a prime precedent for this possibility. If you remember or have read of the New York Yankees 1960s teams . After winning their fifth straight pennant in in 1964, it seemed like many of the key players Mantle, Maris, Ford, Elston Howard and others got old and ineffective almost overnight. This resulted in an under .500 finish in 1965, a last place finish in 1966, and an 11-year drought, where no Yankees team won their division until 1976.
Right now, The Phillies are about the oldest team in baseball.
Their main prospects are at the Double A level or lower. They won't get much help from AAA Lehigh Valley this year. Most of their prospects who are closest to reaching the majors are pitchers, They have some serious problems if they are going to restock key non-pitcher positions from the farm system.
Management is committed to several over-30 stars.
An important decison must be made on Jimmy Rollins, 32, at the end of this season. He's running the bases well and hitting for average, but he's not hitting for as much power as he has in the past.
General Manager Ruben Amaro is not cast in the mold of a Brian Cashman or "Trader" Frank Lane who made moves just to shake up their teams, bring in some new blood, and change the team chemistry a little. With their jobs seemingly assured players can become complacent and 22 of the 25 man Opening Day roster were Phillies last year. A 23rd player, Cliff Lee had been a Phillie in 2009.
Only utility infielder, Pete Orr and utility infielder-outfielder Michael Martinez were new to the Phillies on Opening Day. As utility players their impact on the team has been modest. One other player has debuted this year- Late April callup, relief pitcher Michael Stutes. Pitcher Vance Worley, who debuted last year has been called up from the minors and contributed a few good starts but is now back in the minors.
Amaro seems to make few personnel moves unless circumstances such as injuries dictate such changes.
They have made some poor choices in first round and other high draft choices in recent years (Anthony Hewitt, Zach Collier, Joe Savery, Kelly Dugan & others) who have floundered in the minors.
They have traded away a lot of young talent from the farm system that has reached the major leagues and are becoming stars for other teams (Michaekl Bourn, Gio Gonzalez, Kyle Drabek) and with those trades the Phillies gained major league ready talent in the short term, but they have gotten older. Other recent Phillies trades should produce quality major leagues talent for other teams in the near future (Anthony Gose, Adrian Cardenas, Michael Taylor etc.).
What do you think? Have the Phillies sacrificed short-term success through 2012 or 2013 for major problems and perhaps a huge downturn in the following years?
- Dennis Orlandini - (philliesfiend55) -