Maybe they can, maybe they can’t — even in the Phillies’ own clubhouse, players are full of conflicting opinions. But at some point, whether it’s before the July 31 non-waiver deadline or not, the Phillies will face a reckoning. At some point, they will need to stop using their fan support as an excuse for keeping their older, fading club intact.
Now don’t get me wrong — it’s noble when teams act out of obligation to their paying customers, and generally good business. But the best way to make money in this game, as the Phillies know from their recent history, is to win. And the worst place a team can be in its competitive cycle is caught in between.
So, when Phillies CEO David Montgomery talks about the “tremendous fan identification” with the team’s longtime stars entering into the club’s buy-or-sell equation, I get it and I respect it. But fans can tolerate rebuilding, even fans of big-market clubs like the Mets and Cubs. All they need to see is a coherent plan.
Finally, the national media is coming around on what most of us who watch the Phillies on a daily basis already knew– it’s time to rebuild, as sad as it may be.