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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Phillies Sign Delmon Young

Younger, right-handed bat, everyday right-fielder. 


Behavior issues.  Check.  Can't move that well.  Check.

Thankfully they have a guy named Revere in center field.

He'll need to get on his horse to cover all that ground.

On the one hand, the Phillies look pragmatic, picking up a much-needed extra part on the cheap on a team laden with aging stars and big contracts.  They're taking a page out of Brian Sabean's book in SF -- good pitching from top to bottom (and adding Mike Adams to the bullpen was a good move), enough hitters to be dangerous (assuming that they're healthy) and picking up some good spare parts to fortify the team (Mike Young and Delmon Young.  All they need is Bobby Crosby and a player named Stills).  Sabean has made a career of overcoming bad big signings (Barry Zito, Aaron Rowand) by signing as many spare parts as possible and having them workout (among them Pat Burrell and Cody Ross). 

On the other hand, they look desperate.  The back end of their rotation is iffy.  Their middle relief also is iffy.  Their everyday lineup is aging, and their outfield is a question mark.  The people who will argue this end of the continuum will contend that Young isn't the type of answer they've come to expect from Ruben Amaro, i.e., the second coming of Vladimir Guerrero or at least Jayson Werth circa 2008. 

In the middle, the Phillies are optimistic.  They believe that they have enough pitching to contend for the division, that 2012 was an aberration because of all the injuries (and even with them, they played .500 ball), that their everyday lineup is stronger because everyone is healthy, and that the spare parts are actually difference makers.  That's what they'll try to sell to the public. 

Meanwhile, for the first time in 5 years, you can purchase a full-year or partial-year season-ticket plan from them. 

The marketplace is an interesting place; fans are fickle.  The strategy -- to win now -- has meant that there aren't many future stars coming up from the farm system.  That phenomenon caught up to them in 2012.  Let's see if they can overcome it in 2013.  The age of the core group of position players -- as well as Roy Halladay -- suggests that declines in performance will increase, as will injuries.  And with little in the way of organizational depth, finishing third or fourth in the division seems realistic.

We'll find out soon enough.


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