Coming after the most successful regular season campaign ever, followed by an oh-so-typical postseason flameout, the Philadelphia Phillies now enter what is undoubtedly the most crucial offseason in franchise history.
Sure, the team's notoriously cheap ownership last year upped the payroll to upwards of $170 million, which was a nice start. But how in the world can they hope to compete with the Yankees, who spent over $200 million in 2011? I don't know how the Phils can justify not matching them, especially with the ballpark constantly full and co-owner John Middleton having that multi-billion dollar cigar fortune in his pocket.
At any rate, the Phillies find themselves at a crossroads, between continued championship contention and a return to extended franchise morbidity. Here are ten simple offseason steps, all of which will guarantee another championship in 2012:
- 1. Trade Ryan Howard. Sure, he's owed five years and $125 million and is presently injured. But if Ruben Amaro has shown us anything as GM, it's his ability to get creative when it comes to trades. Howard has shown that he just doesn't have what it takes to win in Philly; if you throw out '08, he's had no postseason success at all. If a trade requires eating money and giving up prospects, so be it.
- 2. Re-sign Jimmy Rollins. Jimmy may want five years, but after all he's done for this franchise? They should give him six. We all hate it when the Eagles don't show loyalty to aging players, so by extending Jimmy the Phillies could get a dig in at them, which we know the Phils love to do.
- 3. Sign Jose Reyes, too. Sure, they'll already have a shortstop, but they can just stick Jose at third base. It's easier than shortstop, right? Besides- think of how much it'll piss off Mets fans!
- 4. Trade Cole Hamels. Roy Oswalt's already out the door, so why not get some value for Cole at the same time? The Rays have eight different good young starting pitchers; why not grab three or four of those?
- 5. Trade Vance Worley. It doesn't really matter for who; some good veteran is bound to be available.
- 6. Trade Domonic Brown, Placido Polanco, Kyle Kendrick and Ross Gload for Kevin Youkilis. Self-explanatory.
- 7. Bring back Jamie Moyer. You know what the Phils were missing in 2011? Veteran leadership.
- 8. Sign Ryan Madson for seven years at whatever money he wants. If he could be a top closer for one year, why not for seven more?
-9. Fire Charlie Manuel and replace him with Tony LaRussa. Great ideas come from Buzz Bissinger's Twitter feed all the time.
- 10. Only sign players who I've heard of!
Quick Philly sports takes:
- The first few weeks of Ilya Bryzgalov in goal made me realize something: Maybe Ed Snider was right about the Russians.
- People are really calling the Eagles the best 3-4 team in NFL history? I think they're the worst. I mean, they lost to Buffalo! It's games like that that make me realize why they haven't won a championship since 1960.
- It's not fair that Kim Kardashian can get divorced after 72 days, yet Andy Reid is still coach of the Eagles after 13 years.
- I can't wait for Lenny Dykstra to box Jose Canseco. It's been a rough few years for Lenny, but I've got a feeling this fight could turn things around for him.
- I've always been a Donovan McNabb fan. But he's been exposed as a fraud and it's time for him to shut up, retire and go away
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