Unless something is done – and fast - it appears this season won’t end up like the last two for the Phillies, with a trip to the playoffs and the World Series. There seems to be a lot of panic with the fans, but can we really blame this team for their performance thus far? Injuries top the list as the major factor for the lack of production. To me, this is as good excuse as any. The bench players have not stepped up. But are they supposed to replace production completely? They’re bench players for a reason. Wilson Valdez is no Jimmy Rollins. Juan Castro is no Chase Utley.
I saw a stat in last night’s broadcast that the Phillies were 39-32 with Chase Utley and 9-12 without him. There’s no better stat than that. Chase is a major contributor on this team. When he’s out, things change drastically.
Take Jimmy Rollins’ absence as well. He has been out for a huge part of this season. I guarantee this team hasn’t performed as well without him either. Not to mention, you take a leader out of the clubhouse and a lot more changes than you and I realize.
With key players out of the lineup, Charlie Manuel has been forced to switch it up - a lot. He’s probably never had the same lineup for an entire week. It’s hard to get into a rhythm that way. These guys are ball players, but they're also human.
So, now, it appears that Jayson Werth is on the trading block. This is another issue. His production has been down in a contract year for him, but there have been bright spots that should force this team and its fans to see beyond this year and into the longer term. He still leads the National League in doubles. Granted, his batting average has dropped by over 100 points since batting something like .349 on May 3, he’s still someone with plenty of skill that can help this team in the future, if not the next few months. Do we really need to get rid of him in the short term? Sure, it appears they can bring up Domonic Brown and potentially replenish the farm system, but I’m not so sure Brown is ready. Is there a way to keep both in this system? Why not bring him up next year and bolster the bench that way?
I’ll also throw in the potential for a trade for Roy Oswalt. Two Roys on the same team would be nice, especially of their caliber, but isn’t Oswalt on the downswing of his career? Someone prove me wrong here. It looks like suddenly this team can’t hold more than one stud pitcher at a time. Let’s not make such a swift move here if we can’t back him up in the coming months with good offensive production. And what's to say we can keep both Roys for next season?
The Phillies might not make the playoffs this year, but I don’t want this rush of success in the past few years and sudden panic to affect what could still be a dominant team for years to come. The injury bug can’t hit us the same way next year, can it? I’d trade in a sub-par year for a promising 2011 and 2012 any day. I’d say most fans would.