Thursday, June 18, 2015

The Good, The Sad and The FIRE RUBEN

The Good, The Sad and The FIRE RUBEN.

At this point it is obvious there will be no playoff baseball for the Phightin Phils this season.

There has been some good.  Not a lot. Just some.

Mikael Franco is finally here.  He brings something the team hasn’t had in a long time – Personality. He looks happy when they are winning and mad when they are losing.  It’s a big change for the “baseball is a business and show no emotion” team we have watched the last few seasons.  Franco has a ton of potential. If he lives up to the hype, he is going to be the new favorite player for many Phillies fans.

Get your Franco T-shirts or jerseys and wear them to the games.  Don’t boil your kids hot dogs for lunch make them Phillies Francos. 

Cole Hamels looks great every time he takes the mound.  He is the definition of an Ace.  When he is pitching the Phillies have a chance to win.  It’s a shame the offense refuses to score any runs for him.

Remember in the 90’s when Curt Schilling was pitching lights out baseball every fifth day and the team wasn’t scoring?  Had they scored a few runs and added some wins to his lifetime record he would have easily been a first ballot Hall of Fame player.  He should have been elected first try anyway and it’s just wrong the he still missed on his second try.

When Hamels retires, and voters are on the fence about his career, the way he has pitched these last few seasons won’t be remembered but the losses will be.

On the rare occasions Papelbon gets the ball, there is confidence he will get the job done.  The Pirates loss wasn’t his fault.  He hasn’t even done or said anything stupid in a while.

Asche looks like he is ready for his opportunity to be the everyday left fielder and do his best with it.  He is a Phillies player to follow and root for.  He loves the game and works hard at it.  That’s a guy who could be exciting to watch over the next few years.

There has been plenty of sad.

Back to Cole Hamels who will miss his Friday night start with a strained hamstring.  It isn’t certain if he will need to go on the disabled list.  What a hit to his trade value if he goes on the DL.

One wild thought - is he is being shut down while some negotiations take place over the weekend? Doubt it but have we seen the end of an era?  That truly would be sad.

Utley and Howard are still every day players in Sandberg’s line up.  It is time for them to sit more than they play.  The Phillies will owe them both huge salaries next year no matter what happens for the rest of this season. If the team really is trying to see what young talent they have to build around for the future it is time to stop worrying about hurting feelings and letting someone else try to get a hit.

Darin Ruf was sent back to the minors to work on the game he was never allowed to work on in the majors.  What a shame.  He should have been given the opportunity to play every day to see what he could do.  Mike Schmidt is a big fan of Ruf and spoke of this on every Saturday and Sunday home game broadcast.

The Big Dom Brownski was called back up to the big team to take his place.  It seems pretty obvious at this point his six week tear last season was primarily due to big league pitchers not knowing how to pitch him.  As soon as teams got an accurate scouting report, pitchers and defenses made adjustments, his numbers decreased and he became the below average player we all know he is. Dom Brown is a 3 time loser – 1) He took his time reporting to the minors because he was upset he wasn’t going to be with the Phillies.  2) He is a Cowboys fan and not afraid to let Philly know it. 3) HE CAN”T HIT!  How many opportunities will this guy get? 

There has been plenty of FIRE RUBEN

Ruben needs to be fired before the trade deadline.  The opportunity to move Hamels, Papelbon, Francouer, Harang or anyone else who can bring a return of some young talent is too important to be lef to a GM who has proven beyond a reasonable doubt he doesn’t have a realistic strategy or vision for the future of this team.

The great GM’s have a strategy.  Billy Beane finds a way to get young players with massive potential. Because the A’s have a low budget he plays them until they are on the verge of costing too much and then trades them for more low priced young players and starts all over. The A’s may be in the AL West basement but Oakland fans have confidence it will only be a matter of time before they are contending for the division again. Are there any Phillies fans who think Ruben has the skills to build a team this way?

Jeff Luhnow (who replaced Ed Wade) and the Astros have built a team from the ground up. They are young, fun to watch, and have a real chance to hold on and win the AL West.  Do any fans think Ruben has the skills to build a contender in the next few years via the draft? With the Phillies unwilling to bring up young players, it might take 10 years.

Remember when the Red Sox had a fire sale of high priced players and finished last in the division only to be followed by a rebuild that led them to a World Series the following year?  The Red Sox knew when to unload their high priced players while they still had something to offer.  Do any fans have confidence Ruben could turn a team around in 1 season?  (To be fair the Red Sox tried to do an extensive rebuild again and this time it looks like they made some bad choices. Pablo and Hanley should have stayed out west.)

Not only has Ruben failed to make one trade this season he has created a massive jam for the outfield position.  The remainder of June and all of July should be Asche in left, Herrera in center and Brown (because it obviously won’t be Ruf) in Right.  Let Francouer play once or twice a week as a gift to the fans who don’t want to watch Brown underwhelm every night.

It was a smart move to release Sizemore.  He never added anything to a team in a rebuilding mode and not many fans were buying tickets just to see him.

Revere needs to be traded for someone with potential. There is no future for him in a Phillies uniform.  Ruben should have looked for a trade in the off season when he actually had value. He hit well last year and on a team that could use a fast center fielder who can slap the ball he might have been worth a decent player. 

Sandberg was Rubens pick for manager.   All time Phillies fan favorite Charlie Manuel was fired mid-season to give Ryno his shot.  Hiring the right manager is just as important as choosing the right players.

When Ruben goes Sandberg needs to immediately follow.

Let Larry Bowa manage the team for the rest of the year.  He will sit the players who aren’t playing and light some fires under the ones who need to be doing more.

The Phillies need to do something to show the fans they care.  The longer Ruben stays in charge and continues to underwhelm the more fans they will lose.

If you stopped watching this team don’t feel bad about it.  The bandwagon has been destroyed.  It’s not being a fair weather fan to have given up at this point. The players have given up on us and the GM thinks we are idiots!  When the wagon is rebuilt and ready to roll again there will be plenty of room.

Yes, I’m still watching the Phillies so you don’t have to! 


Erik Whitacre 

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