Jonah Keri is a damn good baseball writer, whose opinion I take seriously. So to say it was disappointing to read the headline “Blow up the Phillies,” would be an understatement.
But reading the piece made me think of two different conversations I had.
The first was back in college. It was 2009 and the Cavaliers were, at that point in the season, the team to beat. But there was a lot of talk at the trade deadline about the Cavs acquiring Amere Stoudemire for a couple of players, including J. J. Hickson. Most of my Ohio friends didn’t want the deal, they said Hickson was an emerging talent, and it would be shortsighted to go all in that year.
The second was a conversation I constantly have with my dad. In summation, this has been the greatest five years stretch for the Phillies, but I’ll always remember that we should have got two.
In the former, it was about just having the team to win it all. And in the ladder, what it takes for continued success.
Watch and movie, read any story, or just see an inspirational commercial, and you’ll know that winning it all is incredibly hard to do. The only thing harder is doing it twice.
Do I agree with everything Jonah said—no. Is he right—yes.
But I also believe his analysis is overly simplistic.
The Phillies are old, no doubt. The only problem with the 2008 title was that, that team wasn’t the 1996 Yankees. But it’s not like in 2009 we were going to blow that up and try to get younger. There are so few opportunities when talent and timing collide, and it was so important to keep our nucleus and expand. And that’s what we did. Everyone saw a closing window ahead, but it’s about keeping it slightly open, because you never know what’s going to happen once you make it in to the playoffs (fuck you Giants and Cardinals).
Instead of focusing on overpaying for talent, we should be congratulating the front office for committing to this team, and making sure that they had everything possible to win. And in baseball, more so than any other sport, always, always, always trade prospects for proven talent—just ask J.A. Happ and Kyle Drabek how things are going.
The Phillies are going to have dark days ahead of them, and some fan favorites will probably be putting on a different uniforms very soon. But I wouldn’t trade the last five years for anything.