I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, what with the 50th anniversary of the JFK shooting and all, and I’m pretty certain that had Ruben Amaro been riding alongside John Fitzgerald when a portion of his head was blown off and onto the trunk of his car, Rube would’ve merely tried to affix the chunk of brainy flesh to the President’s head with some lightly-chewed Trident and told the driver to keep on driving, slow and steady, so all the adoring (and now horrified) well-wishers could continue with their well-wishing. Give the people what they want to see, as dead as it may be.
That’s a very graphic metaphor, and it should disturb you that I wrote that before 9 a.m., but it… fits? The Phillies need a major overhaul, or at least some sort of drastic change, yet they continue to tinker, continue to add little pieces and bigger (perhaps performance-enhanced) fragments where they should be adding entire new sections.
Yesterday, the Phillies, on the verge of signing 36-year-old backup catcher Wil Nieves, traded Erik Kratz to Toronto for Brad Lincoln, a 28-year-old reliever who split his time between AAA and the Majors last season and who walked almost as many people as he struck out. It’s a tinkering sort of move which the nets the Phillies some bullpen depth. And that would be great… if the rest of the team was any good.
In a vacuum, this is the sort of team-building you’d like to see from Amaro– trade one average backup catcher for another and add a bullpen arm. Fine. But all the Phillies have done worth mentioning this offseason, so far, is sign the very risky Marlon Byrd, overpay Carlos Ruiz, tender players they shouldn’t have, add the worst pitching coach in baseball and a bullpen arm.
Maybe this is the plan– to tread water and play to respectability while the aging core fades away, without taking on any more massive contracts. But something tells me the plan is still very much to win, and win soon. These moves, however, aren’t doing much to help with that.
R.I.P., Turkey Bacon: