Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Issuing thanks to the Giants, Ed Wade and RAJ

Ask Bobby Clarke about standing pat.

Ask Ed Snider while you are over at the skate zone too.

The answer you might get from those two - or any other Philadelphia sports executive - and the answer should be the same 99 out of a 100 times. Sometimes, going with the hand you were dealt is not such a bad thing.

Shortly after lunch time, as I sat with the collection of baseball freaks that have become known by the dubious moniker "the circle of trust," word spread across Indian Springs that Carlos Beltran was to join Pat Burrell in San Francisco.

News came shortly after that Hunter Pence would enjoy the rest of the season with a last place team despite most people "in the know" having believed that a the Phillies had a deal in place days ago. Once again, Ed Wade is the culprit of being the gun-shy cowboy, who does his best to talk his way out of a duel.

This is nothing new for Wade, who has left a legacy of indescisivness and waffling here in the city of the "passionate fan." Unlike when Wade passed on David Wright for Gavin Floyd ( who is often referred to around my house as "the soft throwing girl" ) this time ole Eddie did us a favor.

Pence is the Astros best hitter, just like Beltran has been the most consistent producer on the Mets. Both have tons of upside. neither should wear red- at least not in 2011.

After you set aside Beltran, for reasons varying from his lack of switch hitting to his transformation into a one dimensional player to him being years removed from aiding Houston in the playoffs years ago, the truth is that he wouldn't help the phillies. He is too old to build around. He is too slow. Renting him for the duration of the season makes about as much sense as a farmer renting a bentley to help him get through the autumn harvest.

Pence is the sexy choice because of his stature on the Astro line-up, his age and skill set. His salary, mediocre power and lack luster OPS% get over looked in the pursuit of Raul Ibanez's replacement.

Can Pence hit fifth? Can he do so with consistency? Will his numbers exceed what the the Ibanez's, John Mayberry and Dominic Brown are already giving you?

Pence is entering his arbitration years. He is expected to make upwards of nine million next year if he gets that far. That's a lot of paper routes, even for a franchise that supposedly is printing money in the basement of Citizens Bank Ballpark.

Instantly, Pence and his blossoming salary become an issue for the Phils. They are saddled with huge contracts to all the right players and a few of the wrong ones. For every Cliff Lee dollar there is Joe Blanton money. Ryan Howard, Carlos Ruiz and Placido Polanco all eat up more of the budget than they should if you want to start paying a Hunter Pence.

This is, after all, a different situation than the acquisition of Jayson Werth. Werth was sitting atop the scrap heap when Gillick plucked him up as an emergency option if the new coming Ruiz couldn't hack it as a catcher. Gillick drafted the lanky, third generation major leaguer as a power hitting catcher for the Orioles. Werth came at a bargain basement cost and a mile high upside.

Pence would show up with a salary that Werth had to earn by surpassing Geoff Jenkins in right field and a ticking clock towards free agency.

While the thought of selling the farm for a player doesn't bother me, the idea of selling it off for an incomplete player like Pence would. Like a Beltran, Melky Cabrera or Ryan Ludwick, the cost doesn't match the product.

So an issue of gratitude to the Giants for taking Beltran to the bay. TO Ed Wade for being... Well... A pussy when it comes to trades.

And to RAJ... Who is every bit as savvy as we hoped he had become under Pat Gillick's tenure.

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