Ruben, buddy, do me a favor and fight every urge you have to do what you’ve done in the past during free agency. I know you. I’d bet right now you are passing notes to Nelson Cruz. I can see you making eyes at Jacoby Ellsbury. I’ve heard rumors you were rubbing Shin Soo Choo’s 31 year old knee and caressing Curtis Granderson’s surgically repaired forearm. I’m sure you might see this as the obvious fix for a team that had their worst season since 2000, but I’m here to tell you no. Stop it. You aren’t getting back to the promised land with these guys. All they are going do is use you and leave you with the bill.
I love Papelbon’s poor attitude and diminishing velocity as much as the next guy, but we don’t need another 8 figure contract stopping up the payroll like a giant turd. When the 2013 season was circling the drain you made the decision to hold onto Lee, re-up Utley, and pray for Ryan Howard’s return to MVP form in 2014. I didn’t like the decision, but you’ve got the baseball mind not me. With that said you need to own this season and not start buying the most expensive pieces in free agency because you realized this team as it is currently constructed has no shot at winning the World Series, unless you can catch lightning in a bottle. There is a chance of these guys being able to reach back for one last run, it’s slim but there is a chance. Maybe with a little luck, some scotch tape, the right free agent signings, and a few PEDs these guys can get it done. The Phillies need you to make some shrewd baseball decisions. They don’t need you attacking free agency the way a 16 year old girl attacks a Forever 21 store. I know you are paid the big bucks for a reason, but just hear me out.
Sign Carlos Beltran. Yes, he’s 37 and yes he has a history of injuries but so does everyone in the Phillies lineup at this point. He’s a proven winner though coming from a franchise that is the best in the NL. Maybe he can dole out some advice to the younger guys like Brown, Revere, and Asche who are going be part of the next generation of Phillies. Beltran was productive in 2013 too. He hit 24 home runs and 30 doubles while batting .296 and keeping his strikeouts under 100. This team needs more power and here it is, just without the additional years of dead money you’ll get with a 30 year old and injury prone Jacoby Ellsbury or a 31 year old Shin Soo Choo who just had his best statistical season of his career and is going to get an inflated contract because of it.
See if you can get Corey Hart on a one year deal. He’s right-handed. He has power. He’ll hit around .270. Hart missed all of last season due to a knee injury so his value will be low, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be a productive player again. Ruben, if you are still listening and not playing MASH with Matt Garza, ask yourself this question, what would Pat do? You learned from one of the best in the business. Do you think Gillick would be alright with giving 120 million dollars to Ellsbury? I don’t. Save the money for a rainy day when a free agent or younger player becomes available that is worthy of the big contract.
Next sign Chris Young. Yes that Chris Young that batted 200 last season. He’s played center before and can be your 4th outfielder. He can steal a couple bases and has some power in his bat when he can make contact. The big thing though is he can handle center late in games when you are concerned with Ben’s noodle arm. Also Young is good enough to play semi-regularly and give Beltran a rest the same way the Spurs give Duncan a rest when they can during the regular season so that he is fresh for the playoffs.
At catcher fuck it bring back Señor October. Just don’t go out there and give Brian McCan’tBelieveSomebodyIsPayingMeThisMuch a 3 year 30 million dollar contract.
As for pitching Ruben, you signed the Cuban, Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez for a reason so to go out and pay Matt Garza big money too because you want a solid number three is being wasteful. Look at this as if you are in need of a number 4 starter not a number 3. In that case bring in Arroyo or take a chance on another guy coming off an injury, Colby Lewis. He’s got upside, but again won’t break the bank. These are the type of guys you should be looking for.
Free agency in baseball is becoming a less and less viable option to rebuild a team. Nobody is letting their young stars walk at this point. So Ruben invest more in development, coaching, and scouting. If the 2014 season is a dumpster fire, pull out and try to get some younger guys to build around. The farm system is coming around again to a degree so the last thing the team needs is a panic trade for Nick Markakis in an attempt to save the season.
Stop flirting with the popular ones Ruben. They are only going to cause you trouble. Honk for sixes, not tens.