Do the Philadelphia Phillies Have What It Takes to Remain Competitive?

Rick SchneeContributor IDecember 10, 2008

So far there have been two major signings in the offseason that have sent shockwaves throughout baseball.

The Yankees are about to reward CC Sabathia with the biggest contract ever for a pitcher. He's certainly worth it, but it's just another ho-hum case of the Yanks throwing huge sums of money around to get what they want. Frankly this deal doesn't concern me that much, because they are in the American League.

Of more importance is the Mets signing Francisco Rodriguez, he of the record-breaking number of saves in 2007. This DOES concern me. Not because I don't think the Phillies will be able to compete (of course they will, with Mr. Perfect Brad Lidge as their closer), but because it proves once again that the Mets are willing to do whatever it takes to address their issues and improve their team.

What have the Phillies done so far? Extended Charlie Manuel's contract. Good for you Charlie, you deserve it. But let's remember that if the team doesn't live up to expectations, the manager is always the first one to go.

The Phillies are notorious for signing players who are on the wrong side of 35: Tom Gordon. Jamie Moyer. Kenny Lofton. Jose Mesa. Matt Stairs. Scott Eyre. And while it worked in 2007 (let's not forget the Phils are the World *Bleeping* Champions), don't we want them to be competitive for years to come? Don't we want them to build a dynasty so that they can reach the postseason every year, like the Yankees or the Braves have done in the past?

I'd actually be fine with them not re-signing Pat Burrell. Think about it: at his age, Burrell will not be improving his numbers. At the very most you can expect him to put out similar production as 2007, but more realistically, you can expect his numbers to begin to decline. Nothing about his performance has indicated that he will get any better.

For the amount of money he would be asking, it is simply not worth it to keep him on the team. By the second or third year of his new contract, he would end up being a total wash out, and then the Phils would be stuck with his salary.

HOWEVER, the Phils do need to go out and spend that money on someone big who can really contribute. If they end up signing another player who is on the back end of his career, then they might as well have just used that money to keep Burrell.

Let's not forget they still need pitching! We don't know if they are going to re-sign Jamie Moyer. The man has been great the past two seasons, and I love him, but how much more production can we expect from the oldest player in baseball?

The Phils still have an awesome nucleus of players that includes Rollins, Howard, Utley, Victorino, Hamels and Werth. But with the threat of Utley losing some time due to hip surgery, there's always room for improvement.