If you wanted the Phillies to offer every single prospect in their farm system to acquire Bryce Harper or Manny Machado for the stretch run, guess what? You’re a moron.
Matt Klentak did the exact right thing for this Phillies team in the last two weeks. Make a few minor moves, hope to catch lightning in a bottle with one of them, and set your eyes on the future because the chances of making a deep playoff run this year are slim to none.
I like this team, they’re fun to watch at times (mostly when Aaron Nola is pitching), but every inning-killing error, every befuddling base running error, every lead the patchwork bullpen can’t hold kills my soul. They play worse defense than a little league team, their biggest free agent acquisition is hitting .211 on August 1, and they routinely have to throw Tommy “Hungry Man Dinner” Hunter out of the pen because they literally have nobody else.
Klentak knows this isn’t the year to pounce. Like Reuben Frank at an Eagles training camp buffet, you don’t waste your time on the cheap coffee and donuts in the morning, you wait until they put out the Rita’s Water Ice in the afternoon and you make your move. You play it smart. They stood pat. They didn’t panic and fall into the quagmire of a highly talented, yet likely rental player, and acquired a few key bats for next to nothing that could pay off for the stretch run.
It’s the Pat Gillick model, and it won them a championship in 2008. Not saying the Phillies are going to win the World Series this year, but it puts them in a better position to win next year….and in 2020….and for years down the road because they didn’t do something stupid.
Destroying a farm system for the services of Harper or Machado, arguably two of the best players in baseball, for the chance at going to the postseason this year is beyond insane. For the love of god, don’t be like Jack McCaffery. Nobody wants to be like Jack McCaffery:
*If* Bryce Harper is available, Middleton has to *order* MacPhail to trade every non-major-league pretender in that glorified-semi-pro bush-league pipeline of his to get it done. Either that, or go get Jake Diekman again and see how that moves the needle.
— Jack McCaffery (@JackMcCaffery) July 31, 2018
Jack is right. The needle didn’t move as much with the acquisitions of Wilson Ramos, or Asdrubal Cabrera, or Aaron Loup (No more Canadian name than Aaron Loup has ever existed) as it would have for a Machado or a Harper.
But say they acquired either of them, and held on to the NL East and made it to the postseason? They put up insane numbers during the first round, carry the team on their backs… and the Phillies bullpen continues to be hot garbage and they can’t hold a lead to save their souls. You lose games by a score of 8-7 instead of 8-5, and the Phillies wash out of the playoffs in the NLDS.
If that happens, well bye bye Harper. Bye bye Machado. That equally young, possibly more talented team in New York with much deeper pockets than Philadelphia suddenly seems a lot more appealing.
Didn’t that EXACT same scenario happen to the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2008 with Manny Ramirez? He went apeshit in the playoffs, the media proclaimed the Dodgers the team to beat… and they lost to the Phillies in the NLCS. They lost because unheralded trade-deadline pickup Joe Blanton stabilized the rotation, waiver wire pickup Matt Stairs blasted a key home run that will NEVER be forgotten, and a nobody relief pitcher in Scott Eyre caught lightning in a goddamn bottle and pitched out of his mind for the entire postseason.
Say that happens to the Phillies this year… and Machado or Harper bolts to greener pastures in New York, or Chicago, or wherever, leaving the Phillies with their dick in their hands and a pissed off fan base that gets to watch Sixto Sanchez light up the league in an Orioles or Nationals uniform for years to come. All that at the expense of a forgotten playoff run.
Then, guys like Jack McCaffery will take to social media and go crazy that the Phillies have no future because they have no good prospects in their farm system.
And so it goes.
Will any of the players Klentak traded for be this year’s Joe Blanton, Matt Stairs, Scott Eyre? I have no idea. But after watching the Phillies fumble their way around the Cincinnati series and play awful, game losing defense against the Red Sox on Monday, do you really think they were a Machado or Harper away from winning the World Series? They’re not.
Get your experience now. Make a playoff run with what you have and hope you get on a roll and make some noise in the postseason. Then, throw money bag after money bag at both Machado and Harper in the offseason and hope one of them bites.
And if all that fails? Fuck it. The Phillies will just trade the farm for Mike Trout next year.