Today is Phillies’ second baseman Chase Utley’s birthday. He was December 17, 1978 which makes him 32 years old. It’s significant because it really underlines a lot of the rationale for the Cliff Lee deal. The Phillies core is aging. They’re still pretty much in their prime, but 3 years from now that probably won’t be the case.â†µ
Ryan Howard is 31, Jimmy Rollins is 32, Roy Halladay is 33, Shane Victorino is 30, Placido Polanco is 35, Raul Ibanez is 38, Brad Lidge is 33, Ryan Madson is 30, Carlos Ruiz is 31.â†µ
Virtually every major contributor on the team is the other side of 30. Cole Hamels is the one obvious exception and as Domonic Brown becomes a regular part of the lineup he will be as well. But otherwise, this is a core of a guys that only have a few more prime years at best. When they’re all gone there’s no telling what will happen or where the rebuild will come from, so that’s why going over budget on a guy like Cliff Lee makes sense. The Phillies are in win now mode.â†µ
If in 4 years the core of Phillies we know are half gone or in decline, people won’t mind nearly as much if they’re basking in the glow of another parade or two. The revenue will keep coming in if that’s the case. The Phillies know that and they’re obviously doing everything in their power to get those parades while their window is open.