When you’re winning everything is always so rosy in sports. Well maybe not always. Sometimes some winning is enough and the almighty dollar takes center stage. Either way a General Manager can paint happy faces to the media all he wants, but their is a player who is always willing to shoot it straight.
All had seemed forgotten about the Philadelphia Phillies dealing away pitcher Cliff Lee this off-season, sending him to Seattle for two minor league players. When Philly fans got a glimpse of Roy Halladay pitching and owning the strike zone in his first outing, many were quick to forget Lee, oh and his oblique strain that will sideline him for a few weeks to start the season.
[adinserter block=”1″]However, as heard on “The Dan Patrick Radio Show” a few Philadelphia Phillies players were not so quick to let it go, and one came out and spoke about it on the air. Shortstop Jimmy Rollins was the guest that day, and when Patrick asked him why exactly the Philadelphia Phillies had decided to trade rather then keep Lee, Rollins did not choose to hold back his thoughts. Rollins was quoted as saying:
“I have no idea. I’m sure we could afford him. We turned nearly 4 million people through the turnstiles last year. I don’t know. You should have [Philadelphia Phillies GM] Ruben (Amaro) on here. … When the trade happened, I actually got a text from Jayson Werth and he was like, ‘What are we doing?’ And I was like, ‘Didn’t we get Halladay?’ And he was like, ‘Yeah, but we traded Lee.’ And my mouth dropped like, ‘That wasn’t part of the deal.’ “I really don’t know. I thought we had enough to keep him. I thought we could have done enough to keep him. I guess that’s just a move the Yankees do. That’s just the truth. The Yankees would have been like, ‘Hey, we got a chance to keep both of them. We’ll pay them both for a year or two and we got a chance to win a championship.’ ”
Now many people will come out and say that players do not care about winning that much as long as they get paid, or they really do not care who their teammates are. Well I think we have seen the opposite in effect right here. Rollins has always been the vocal leader of this team. He has been quoted for calling out the Mets, calling the Philadelphia Phillies the team to beat, coaxing Mets fans to boo him, etc. Now Rollins has even challenged his own team ownership and management to take more of a “Yankees” approach. One thing is for sure, Rollins usually thinks out his comments and usually speaks from a true belief and a deep passion of what he is saying. In other words, he said this and sure does not seem alone in his sentiments.
[adinserter block=”2″]GM Reuben Amaro had hinted around to the fact that the Philadelphia Phillies simply were not looking to pay him the $9 million dollars he was due this season and needed money to sure up guys like Joe Blanton. I am not about to blast Blanton, but anyone with any baseball sense has to know that Lee and Halladay in the same rotation would make the Philadelphia Phillies a heavy favorite to win the World Series. It also could not hurt to take some of the pressure off of Cole Hamels. Amaro was quoted as saying “we have a budget, and I am told what the team wants to spend. It was a move I felt I had to make”. A move that even a well paid player like Rollins sees as foul, a move that now questions the very dollar that the team generates. Is this a move that can spark controversy within a locker room, or bring players against management? Surely if in the off-season players are taking time to text one another about deals and trades, then sure it has some kind of impact.
From an average guy stand point I never understood the deal either. The Philadelphia Phillies have and will pack that stadium for some years to come with an infield that is seen by many as the best in baseball. They did make a nice move to add Placido Polanco to that mix, but the starting pitching, as always came with a question mark. Now we watch as Blanton deals with a 6 week injury, Jamie Moyer tries to make a go of it yet again, Kyle Kendrick tries to find the strike zone, and a closer-less bullpen to start the season shuffles to find outs. The Philadelphia Phillies spent money on guys like Jose Contrearas and Danys Baez in the off-season. they made no effort to try and bring back Pedro Martinez who gave them quality starts last year, nor did they make the effort to bring back Lee, who mastered the mighty Yankees throughout the World Series. I, like Rollins found my mouth falling open.
The rumor mill, or even the mill of minced words also have fans feeling that Jayson Werth will not return next year either. Many feel that Werth will command a very high dollar if he produces this season as he did last season. The Philadelphia Phillies do not seem ready, willing, but seem able to plop down over $10 million a year for Werth. Hence the reason Dominic Brown was not dealt and the team still has high hopes for John Mayberry Jr. Even as we speak patch work is being done as the Philadelphia Phillies pick up waiver re-treads like Nelson Figueroa who was released by the Mets. Perhaps taking another shot in the dark at luck like the one they got from Martinez last year.
Be this all as it may, I am still a die-hard Philadelphia Phillies fan, and I will back this team 100 percent. However, if in the near future I see this team appear to tank games or lack a certain flare like they have possessed in years past, I sure will look back and think, “Did Cliff Lee being traded really mean this much?” Time will tell Philadelphia Phillies fans, time will tell.
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