Alidar Jarok wrote:
Then again, other big teams manage to stay competitive without having to go through years of mediocrity to do so. Hamels is still relatively young and healthy and pitching better than he's pitched before. Yes, their salary is tied up in a couple big pitchers, but I do think Hamels is important to keep. When they retool, it still helps to have veteran players who are talented and can contribute.
Yeah, but the teams that enjoy long-term, sustained success, like the Yankees, are still primarily doing it through in-house development, while Rube is trying to bring everything in from the outside, Dallas Cowboys-style. Meanwhile, the farm has been completely and utterly decimated through trades.
The Phillies are already at $172 million this year, so I have no doubt that they're willing to do a high payroll, but if you're bringing Hamels and Pence back, you're already looking at $150 million worth of commitments for 2013, and that's before they replace Victorino or Blanton, and with an aging non-playoff core a year older. Even if ownership approves Rube going to ~$220 million like the Yankees (and with the expanded luxury tax, that's not really long-term sustainable), it's hard to see how they improve enough to contend again -- and then the year after, they have to deal with Halladay and Pence hitting free agency ... it just doesn't get better from here on out.
If Rube had half a brain, he'd be having some severe buyer's remorse on Pence; it was a horrible trade the day it was made and it's gotten substantially worse since then. The real franchise-crippling deal is the Howard extension, but the Pence trade isn't far behind, if for no other reason than the guys used to go get him could have formed the basis of a move for an elite controlled player, instead of a good / not great, expensive dude.