The Phillies Can’t Afford Three Aces AnymoreBREAKING NEWS, News, Phillies Monday, July 16th, 2012
With the trade deadline looming, the Phillies are making their final push to sign Cole Hamels to a contract extension. General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. has made it clear that the team’s goal is to have the ace pitching in Philadelphia for years to come, and the front office is prepared to make a “substantial offer” to make it happen.
But signing Hamels to a massive extension might not be as necessary as the front office believes.
Should a team with as many holes as the Phillies really be committing more than $25 million a piece to three pitchers next season?
The Phillies are going to have to fill a number of holes in the off-season. They need a left fielder, a third baseman, a centerfielder, a decent fifth starter, and (most of all) a complete overhaul for the bullpen. They’ve already got sizable amounts of money committed to Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, and Hunter Pence. Paying an additional $25 million to a single player will allow the Phillies to keep their deep rotation, but it will also mean the rest of the team will be as flawed and unbalanced as they are now.
Now, signing Hamels should still be a priority. At 28 years old he still has plenty of great pitching left in him, and the Phillies should do everything they can to find a way to keep him. However, Ruben Amaro must understand that if Hamels stays, either Roy Halladay or Cliff Lee will have to go in order to free up the necessary room on the payroll to properly address the team’s other various problems.
If the Phillies don’t feel like they can move either Halladay or Lee, they shouldn’t break the bank for Hamels. A rotation featuring Halladay, Lee, and Vance Worley as the top three starters is still a quality rotation on paper. While the two former Cy-Young Award winners may be on the decline, they’re still going to be very good next season.
The Phillies have tried to win by stocking their starting rotation with elite talent, and it hasn’t won them a title. It’s time for the front office to divert some of their funds away from the rotation, and put them into improving an inconsistent lineup and one of the league’s worst bullpens.
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