The Phillies player moves–from designating C Sal Fasano for assignment to trade deadline deals– have been called a purge or salary dumpings.
Yesterday’s USA TODAY had an article about the Giants who have eight potential free agents. They could shed $58 million in payroll, according to the article. Notice the word shed, not salary dumpings.
As Pat Gillick said, this group hasn’t won and it was time to change the mix. One expensive long-term contract and five potential free agents (Fasano, David Bell, Cory Lidle, Rheal Cormier and Ryan Franklin) were involved in Phillies transactions. For most of the free agents, the Phillies would have received no compensation this winter. Eight more potential free agents are on the current roster, Dave Dellucci, Mike Lieberthal, Randy Wolf, Rick White, Aaron Fultz and Arthur Rhodes.
When Gillick arrived last November, he inherited a roster that included three multi-year contracts complete with no-trade clauses. Jim Thome and Bobby Abreu have been moved, giving the Phillies are lot more flexibility, roster-wise and financially.
The deals triggered the word “rebuilding”, especially when Pat said it may take longer than next year to produce a winner. The next day, he made it clear that rebuilding isn’t the proper terminology.
Rebuilding means completely tearing apart. That isn’t the case because there are still a lot of good players on the club. Three-fourths of the infield, Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, are All-Stars, all around 27 years of age, meaning their best years are ahead.
The deals are providing more playing time for Dellucci and Shane Victorino (Abreu), Abraham Nunez (Bell), Chris Coste (Fasano), Scott Mathieson (Lidle), Brian Sanches (Franklin) and at some point, LH reliever Matt Smith (Cormier).
The deals also brought some very young prospects and that is important to the overall picture. Dallas Green just returned from four days in Clearwater where he saw the Class A Threshers and the Gulf Coast League kids. He saw 20-year-old RHP Carlos Monasterios, one of the four players acquired for Abreu. “He’s got a good arm. I really liked what I saw,” said Green.
The future isn’t bleak. As Pat said, a lot will depend upon the maturity of the young arms like Brett Myers, Cole Hamels, Mathieson and the return of Wolf. Ryan Madson still has potential as a starter but has shown effectiveness in the bullpen.
Parity is a word coined by the National Football League to describe balance. The Phillies are still in the wild card race, which has been described as the “weak National League wild card race.” Make that parity, please.