Let’s say that you are really good at your job. Maybe nobody does construction work the way you can. The precision. The efficiency. Others both cower and stare with admiration in the presence of your rugged manliness and ability to build.
Maybe nobody makes a PowerPoint the way you do. Your knack for selecting just the right predesigned layout and incorporating unnecessary slide transitions is simply unrivaled. The whole office marvels at your use of clip art. You know just how to make a corporate mandated 24-slide presentation on business ethics pop.
Maybe you can sell. That 2007 Toyota Corolla which will soon cost the sucker who bought it $1,500 in repairs? It didn’t just sell itself. That’s why you’re the best in the game. Swell with pride, and swing it all about. You’ve earned it!
Each day, you are out there just crushing it at your job, even if you spend some of it stopping by this site while on the clock to read the stories or check in for comments about “The Cuz” and thick ropes.
Now, imagine that you are so good at your job that quite literally every business in your field of work wants a piece of you. They are willing to pay your price. They will give you almost any position you want. Just name your number, make your demands be known, and boom. It’s a done deal. You know what that would be like? That would make you exactly like Manny Machado and Bryce Harper.
As I’m sure you well know by now, both Harper and Machado will become free agents this winter, and both have been connected to the Phillies. And that makes sense because the team has both the cash and the need that makes them a logical match with either player, but as I watched last night’s slopfest, which marked the Phillies’ 13th loss in their last 20 games, a question popped into my head. I think it happened right after this play:
¡Carreras y más carreras!
— Los Nacionales (@losnacionales) August 28, 2018
The question: Are the Phillies an attractive free agent destination?
I know. It’s all about the money. Got it. Thanks for the economics lesson. So let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that each player will receive competitive financial offers from several teams. They will. Let us also remove each player’s individual lifestyle and geographical preferences from the equation and keep the focus on baseball-related factors. Namely, whether or not the Phillies’ current talent will be attractive to prospective free agents. Don’t think it matters? Back to your life for a second.
Whatever your field of work, let’s say two competing companies are throwing similar offers your way. Do you join the one that is staffed with employees who will help you grow, thrive, and best help you to achieve your goals, or do you join the one with less capable co-workers and a good deal of uncertainty about its future? I ask this because if the Phillies were a traditional business, I would describe them as a company filled with underachieving, but highly-touted Ivy League graduates and temps that were sent by a staffing agency to patch their mistakes. Welcome, Jose Bautista!
I bet you think that’s an unfair characterization of a team that has already surpassed its win total from a year ago with 31 games still remaining and that is, theoretically, also in contention for its first playoff berth in seven years, but it’s not. Which regular position players can you say with absolutely certainty will be part of the Phillies’ lineup come March 28, 2019? You probably came up with Rhys Hoskins. That’s one. There’s a reasonable chance that players like Nick Williams, Maikel Franco, Odubel Herrera, and Scott Kingery could be, too, but none of them are a lock. Do you feel confident about what you have seen from players like Kingery, J.P. Crawford, and Jorge Alfaro this season? Would you say they are locks to become productive everyday players?
How about the pitchers? Do you feel certain that Vince Velasquez, Nick Pivetta, and Zach Eflin will become more consistent performers? Nothing against any of these guys, but the point is that many questions about this team’s youth and overall direction still exist.
There seems to be this foregone conclusion made by several fans and media types that the Phillies will simply take the next step in 2019 because John Middleton will beat down 29 other teams with his wallet to land Harper or Machado. Just like many made the assumption that the Phillies should’ve traded for Machado because he would have fallen in love with Philadelphia, thus increasing the likelihood he would sign a long-term deal here. Good one. I’m sure he would have been seduced by this:
Who runs faster: Me or Wilson Ramos on this play. pic.twitter.com/7T4gzgO1Tr
— Blake Finney (@FinneyBlake) August 28, 2018
Ryan Zimmerman with a 2 run walk off to lift the Nationals over the Phillies!! #WalkOff
— Sideline Sports (@SportSideline) August 23, 2018
Playing in front of last night’s announced crowd of 21,261 that was more like 14,000 would have been a pure adrenaline rush, I’m sure. Boring baseball. Apathetic fans. Why would he even want to test free agency? If we’re being honest, it may ultimately work in the Phillies’ favor that he hasn’t gotten a first-hand look at things here over the past six weeks.
There’s this idea being pedaled out there that this current team will be the Phillies’ worst over the next five years. Don’t buy it. All we truly know is that they have some promise, a healthy amount of questions, a ton of money, and baseball’s worst defense. Will they be able to sell that to players like Harper and Machado? Time will tell, but don’t assume that time will also provide a sure-fire fix of what ails them.