First off, I took a few days off to run another marathon, rest and eat some food that normal people like – pizza and ice cream instead of tofu, salmon and rice – and now I’m more worn out than I was before.
Cie la vie.
Anyway, all of the running, racing and training information and musings is on the other slightly neglected site.
So as the Phillies and general manager Pat Gillick were sending out offers to the dozens of free agents while trying to pick up the dreaded 7-10 split at the General Manager Meetings in Florida, I was probably wondering why I couldn’t feel my calves. I may have been ignoring a football game on TV while getting a two-beer buzz and wondering if it would take more effort to carve my golf handicap down to 15 or run another 2:30 marathon.
Clearly a 2:30 is more reasonable.
Nonetheless, my goal remains to squeeze through that ever-tightening window to run a respectable marathon just as the Phillies hope to make the playoffs for the first time in more than a decade. In that regard, I’ll go out on a limb here and say the Phillies will play baseball in October of 2007.
Wait… shouldn’t we wait for all of the hot-stove stuff to heat up? Don’t the Phillies have a few holes they need to fill?
No and yes.
I’ll explain why I believe the Phillies will make the playoffs in detail between now and next October – kind of like a serialization – so just keep checking back and delving through these ramblings. As for the needy stuff, let’s rate them in order of necessity:
Soriano, of course, is the biggest name on the market so it’s only natural that most of the media attention is focused on him. Yet whether or not the Phillies get Soriano won’t make or break the off-season. Why? Well, for starters the Phillies already score more runs than any other team. What, is it that important that the Phils really, really out-score every other team?
Secondly, Soriano’s so-called task would be to “protect” Ryan Howard. As I’ve written here so many times in the past, Howard hit 58 home runs and struck out 181 times – it sounds like he’s doing a pretty good job protecting himself.
Perhaps if he just struck out 150 times instead of 181, maybe he would have hit a few more homers and raised his average a few points. Would that have made a difference in the end? Who knows… there are too many other variables that transcend mere statistics.
This ain’t Strat-O-Matic, folks. Besides, I was always an APBA guy.
Besides, the Phillies traded away Bobby Abreu apparently in order to create some financial flexibility, yet they are willing to give more money and years to Soriano? Why does that make sense?
Well, Soriano is right-handed, hits for more power and hasn’t raised the hackles of certain segments of the fandom because they haven’t ever seen him play and only know him as a 40-40 guy who just so happens to be the biggest name on the market.
What better reason is there to sign a guy than that?
Plus, if the Phillies are unable to sign Soriano they still have Pat Burrell. Yes, Burrell has fallen out of favor in Philadelphia and had a disappointing season despite some statistics that don’t look all that bad. Like Howard and all of those strikeouts, just think if Burrell can hit .225 with runners in scoring position and two outs instead of .167.
I was always under the impression that baseball broadcasting jobs were like Supreme Court appointments… apparently not.
Again, I’m no expert and don’t have any insider information that I’m willing to share, but I don’t think Graham will be on the sidelines in 2007.
Anyway, Ken’s dash down the first-base side of the field was nominated for “The Blooper of the Year” on MLB.com. In fact, if Ken wins the online balloting, the Nationals want to have the Phillies.com reporter back to accept an award on the field dressed as Thomas Jefferson.
No word if the Oriole Bird will be on hand, too.
We will keep everyone up to date on all developments of this story.