Wednesday, July 30, 2014
I have been following the Phillies trade rumors with some interest and a lot of incredulity. Of course, the so-called journalists have to create content for their publications, but it seems to me that the approach of take whatever you can get for whatever people will buy is perhaps the worst approach that the Phillies can follow. It is exemplified by calltothepen.com's article The trade chips for the Philadelphia Phillies. I've seen the sell at any price approach repeated many times, but I've never seen an example of where it has quickly produced a winning team. It seems to me that if you get rid of your most valuable players at bargain prices, you are going to end up with a team of players who are has beens and never gonna be's, with nothing attractive for your fans. At least if you keep Hamels pitching every 5 games, in a couple or 3 years you could have a Hamels, Buchanan, Nola, Biddle, Kendrick rotation (not necessarily in that order) that could put you back in contention.
On the other hand, there are many other considerations for the Phillies as well. Forbes.com point out Baseball Trade Deadline: Phillies Are A Mess, But Don't Feel Sorry For Them. The new TV deal injects a lot of cash into the Phillies' coffers, and it gives some flexibility on how to approach the future. Sure, they still need to approach the future with a smart strategy (that everyone will second guess at every step of the way), but there really isn't a lot of pure financial pressure to shed salary.
My favorite article on the subject is The Phillies, trade rumors, and asking too much for Cole Hamels from SBNation.com. Mark J. Rebilas outlines possible strategies for the Phillies to use in trading Cole Hamels. He indicates that the prevailing wisdom that the Phillies are crazy for asking a high price for Cole is where the intelligence is lacking, not in the Phillies asking a high price. I tend to agree. So what if the Phillies don't trade Hamels now? Will he be any less valuable this winter? Not unless Hamels gets "hurt in a freak salon accident over the next two months." as Rebilas puts it.
It seems to me that 10 years ago, the Phillies came up with a strategy to put together a team to beat the Braves. Now they need a new strategy to put together a team to beat the Braves and the Nats. The emphasis being on "new" because the old strategies won't work. Neither will a fire sale.