While the drama surrounding the train wreck that is the 2012 Philadelphia Eagles continues to unfold over at the NovaCare Complex this afternoon, I want to take a quick break to look at a team that still has a reasonable opportunity to compete for a championship (or win a game before next September). Assuming they don’t fuck up the entire thing.
Of course, there’s one minor problem here—they may have already fucked up the entire thing. So let’s assess where the team is after one day at the 2012 Baseball Winter Meetings.
One thing that really excites me right now is how the two NL East teams that whipped the Phillies ass last season have significantly improved their outfields while the Phillies have yet to do anything. Another thing that excites me is that Angel Pagan, a player the team clearly targeted as their Plan B, has now reportedly signed a four-year deal to stay in San Francisco.
So for those of us taking notes: Since the Phillies lowballed newly minted Braves centerfielder B.J. Upton and then stood around holding their dicks while the Nationals pried Denard Span from Minnesota, they were then left jockeying with the Giants for Pagan. And now that’s not happening.
Is this fucking brutal to watch? Yes. But it’s not necessarily a bad thing.
It’s no secret that Upton was the most obvious upgrade at a position of need for the Phillies, but to add another lengthy and lucrative contract to the payroll for a guy who hit .246 last season (his best effort since 2008) would be the same over-aggressive move Ruben Amaro Jr. has been roasted for over the last few years.
Span, meanwhile, will be a nice fit in Washington, but he’s not a game-changer. Despite his speed, he’s not a prolific base stealer (17 for 23 in 2012), nor does he strike fear into opposing pitchers. Ultimately, these moves won’t preclude the Phillies from contending this season, and they shouldn’t force the Phillies to make a quick-strike panic move.
And now they’ve lost out on Pagan. He wasn’t necessarily a name that would lift the dark sports cloud hanging over the city of Philadelphia in recent months, but he could have been a valuable piece of a winning puzzle. The 31-year-old hit .288 with eight homers a year ago for the World Champion Giants. The switch-hitter wouldn’t have provided the Phillies’ with a much-needed home run threat, but his 61 total extra-base hits are nothing to scoff at, either.
As three of the team’s potential targets fly off the board, the problem Amaro and the rest of the Phillies’ brass face in Nashville this week is that there is now no obvious solution to upgrade a roster in limbo. The 2013 season could represent the last legitimate shot for this aging core to win a championship. Amaro has to tread lightly when considering which players can help push this team over the top in 2013 without crippling it in 2015 and beyond. So if it takes him a few extra weeks and a few less headlines to do it, then so be it.
Of course, it should also be noted that just because Amaro hasn’t orchestrated a blockbuster deal, or come out guns blazing with a mega deal doesn’t mean he won’t.
People will bitch about overspending and people will bitch about not spending enough.
The point is that we’ve only just begun here. Might the Phillies’ seemingly patient approach backfire, leaving them totally screwed? Or is Amaro hours away from unleashing a fucking bomb on baseball? Who knows. But it’s way too early to panic.