What should the Philadelphia Phillies do come this off-season? Should they take the hit to the team salary and release the dreadful Adam Eaton, who, by the way has one year left on a "hellish" 3-year, 24.5 million dollar contract. Do they trade Brett Myers, or take the hit and release him as well? Or how about go after a big, franchise pitcher like C.C. Sabathia, Ben Sheets, or even A.J. Burnett? Or do they go after another veteran pitcher like, Mike Mussina (who will turn 40 next year. Reminder: Jamie Moyer who is still pitching is 45 and will turn 46 next year) to replace Kyle Kendrick? What do you do with Kyle Kendrick, J.A. Happ, Carlos Carrasco, and Antonio Bastardo? And what about Pat Burrell? I will attempt to answer these questions and more. Reminder: this is heavily opinionated, so prepare yourself now.
For all of those Phillies fans who remember when they signed Adam Eaton? Of course you do, who doesn't remember? Right? But what we forget is the big name pitchers that were on the market at the time the Phillies signed Adam Eaton to a big and hellish, 3-yr., 24.5 million dollar contract. The big name pitchers that were on the market at the time were, 20-something year olds by the names of Josh Beckett (perennial Cy-Young Candidate) and fireballer, AJ Burnett. The Phillies upper echelon management went with the journeyman starter named Eaton rather than the future 20-game winner and the 2003 World Series MVP, Beckett; as well as the future American League strikeout leader, Burnett. As for Adam Eaton next year... his career in Philadelphia is most likely over and done with, but to get the most out of their expense, the Phillies might try to rehabilitate Eaton so that he can pitch like a professional again (it is questionable if Eaton could ever pitch like a major league pitcher).
Brett Myers, the “rock and roller” as we know him as, has had a rocky tenure in Philadelphia so far. Myers, who, the press in this city had him slated to be a 20-game winner every season, has turned out to be nothing more than a .500 pitcher, with his career year being the year he won 15. Myers, who was also once the top pitching prospect in the Philadelphia Phillies farm system, has turned out to be a bust (just not as bad as Von Hayes). After Tom (Flash) Gordon went down last year with shoulder issues, Myers assumed the closer’s role and wound up saving 21 games and helping push the Phillies into playoff contention. But with Brad “Lights Out” Lidge locked away for three more years, Myers won’t be closing anytime soon (that’s barring a freak accident to Lidge). Myers is on the verge of not having any value left, in fact if the Phillies were to trade him, the most that the Phillies could get for Brett Myers would be a mid-to-low round draft pick. I think the Phillies should keep Myers, but as a long-relief pitcher/ spot-starter, not as a starter, and then if they do make a trade, include Myers in the package.
Prospects, prospects, prospects. For all of those who now believe that Kyle Kendrick has nothing left… look at how many innings he has thrown this year, and compare them (the number of innings) to his years in the minors… notice that the numbers that Kyle has thrown this year is more than he as ever thrown. Despite the fact that Kendrick hasn’t had the time in AAA to master another pitch (like a curveball, slider, or splitter) to compliment his sinker and his changeup, he is going through the Arizona Fall League to learn how to throw a third and a fourth pitch and looks to rejoin the team come next spring training. Look for Kendrick and Happ to play a critical role next season. J.A. Happ should be on the team next year, much like Kendrick, except look for Happ to be shuttled between AAA and the Bigs, in order to keep his arm fresh. As for the rest of the Phillies top pitching prospects… expect that Marson, Carrasco, Bastardo, to be at their respected minor league appropriate levels (AAA for all).
Pitching. It wins ball games… it wins championships. This off-season could be used towards the Phillies advantage. There are a number of big name pitchers out on the free-agent market, and the Phillies have to be ready to chomp at the first pitcher they see (but make sure it ain’t damaged goods like Freddy Garcia). The Phillies should be very wary of Ben Sheets. Sheets is a bit injury prone and will be coming off muscle “reattachment” surgery on his pitching elbow. Ryan Dempster, the starter-turned-reliever-turned-closer-turned starter (again) is available if the Chicago Cubs DON’T resign him and let him become a free agent… but expect the Cubs to quickly snatch him up. C.C. Sabathia, who had a rocky first half out in Cleveland and an almost brilliant second half in Milwaukee, is out on the free agent market and is available this offseason. But having Joe Blanton for another year helps the Phillies starting rotation out a lot.
As for hitters… despite the low average and massive cool down the second half, Pat Burrell should be resigned; unless they are done fooling around with platooning Jayson Werth and Geoff Jenkins. The Fightin’s should resign most of their “arbitration” players this offseason: the keys being… Chad Durbin and Ryan Madson. But the question comes into play: Is Ryan Howard worth $12 million dollars?
Whatever the Phillies decide to do lets’ all hope it’s the right thing… and we will see you after the playoffs this season.