Is Junior gun shy? Afraid to fail...again?
He seems stuck like a pelican in the bubblin' crude from a gutted tanker just off the Louisiana shore. Not what Tom Jefferson envisioned when he bought that patch of land from the French in 1803.
What a swell deal.
Some of Junior's deals haven't been so swell. Like the trade that brought Hunter Pence to Philly for four youngsters that are now established — or close to being established — major league players: Domingo Santana, Jon Singleton, Jarred Cosart and Josh Zeid.
And what did the faithful get?
Hunter Pence for the last two months of the 2011 season. And because Junior already spent the funds on the money tree on trophy players — see trophy wives — couldn't afford Pence and traded him to the Giants for outfielder Nate Schierholtz, Tommy Joseph and Seth Rosin. Schierholtz is gone and Joseph and Rosin are still knocking at the Show door.
Letting Shane Victorino walk for the same reason: (see above - money tree, trophy players.)
Money tree: Spending funds allocated to Junior from the Phillies' owners headed by Dave Montgomery.
The Cliff Lee trade to Seattle in 2009 for Phillippe Aumont, Tyson Giles, and JC Ramirez. Aumont wiggled his big toe in the Show, didn't impress, and is fighting for his major league life in Clearwater as we speak. Giles is hanging on at Lehigh Valley. Ramirez is now with the Indians.
No Louisiana Purchase there, for sure.
That fat contract to Ryan Howard that went bust. Who could have predicted the injuries, but still, an embarrassing situation with Junior begging American League clubs to take him at any cost, costs far exceeding what Boston will pay for snow removal.
Chase Utley, the golden boy of the '08 through '11 glory years, hobbles into spring training with a sprained ankle from stepping on a ball in winter practice. Lee goes down with a sore arm that ends his career — another $25 million plus a club option buyout of $12.5 million in 2016.
Spring training injuries to players who've seen their better days, and Domonic Brown, with the exception of one month, a total disappointment to a club desperate for young talent.
A $13 million closer on a team that will get few closing situations.
More funds from the money tree. Even Father Comcast can't help now, with the payroll still in the stratosphere — still short on the money tree and can't afford quality players (see Aaron Harang and Jerome Williams.)
Is it any wonder that Junior is frozen, like a pelican in the thick Louisiana crude?
To beat all, Don Quixote rides into town.
Masquerading as Eagles coach, Chip Kelly, Don Quixote, a slash buckling, ass kicking, steel balls coach, dumps the star receiver — DeSean Jackson — no explanation needed. He nabs the hated Cowboys' prize running back, DeMarco Murray; trades for a hobbled but talented quarterback, after masterminding an Eagles coup d'etat that allowed him to do it all.
Pretty cool! Don has excited the Eagles faithful.
Junior — with the Phillies '08 Word Series MVP, and maybe the last recognized talent on the team, run into the ground by chance, bad luck, or mismanagement, surely a combination of all three — has his last trade hurrah. It could make or break him.
He's not pulling the trigger on Cole Hamels until he's dead sure it's a — pardon the analogy — Don Quixote type Phillies trade.
For Junior's sake, it better be!
Comments to: Philly@ron-costello.com