^I tend to agree with this. As I've said before, I am fully behind the aging core of the Philadelphia Phillies and wish each of them nothing but the best as long as they're still playing. But this crap has to stop. Amaro was wrong to sign Howard to that ridiculous extension, and he's wrong for signing Utley to this one. I will not dispute what both Howard and Utley have meant to the Phillies franchise, but neither player can stay healthy for a significant enough stretch to make any sort of meaningful contribution to the lineup.
What's more, there seems to be no strategy for how or when Ruf is going to get playing time. He's already old (given his MLB experience) and isn't likely to get consistent playing time at any position with the way the Phillies are structured. I might
be okay with Utley coming back next season if the Phillies find a way to buy out Howard's current deal so that he can DH for an American League team (which might significantly prolong his career; if he continues to play 1B everyday, he might be out of baseball as soon as 2015).
Howard isn't good enough to bat clean-up and play first base on this team, and Utley has no value as their starting second baseman if he can't stay in the lineup himself. With Howard gone, I'd be okay with Utley taking over the Michael Young super-utility-player role and roving between first and second base as needed with Ruf getting the bulk of the starts at 1B. I don't know what's to be done about Jimmy Rollins, who hasn't played respectable ball since George W. Bush was in office, nor do I have answer for what should happen with Halliday, who looked this season as though he'd thrown his last pitch.
I like the idea of courting Cano, who could easily slide into the middle of the lineup, making Utley and/or Howard expendable, but if the Phillies are going to pay Utley for the next two years, signing Cano doesn't make sense unless the Phillies find a way to get rid of Howard- or Utley agrees to try playing 3B and occasionally starts at 1B against tougher lefties (because Howard can't hit them)- because there would be no place for Utley to play.
I haven't even talked about the outfield, a disaster aside from Brown. Ruf looks like an infielder trying to play outfield when he's out there. The other day, I found myself missing Pat Burrell's defense. Read that sentence again. It's pathetic. Ben Revere sucks. John Mayberry Jr. isn't an everyday player (he's OK as a bench guy).
And I'm done.