Ron Costello

Saturday, February 25, 2017

The Sixers organization thought tanking was a brilliant strategic move. But so far it hasn't gotten them anywhere. Couple of draft picks, couple of bad breaks, couple of six packs, lots of empty seats. And a whole lot of embarrassment and misery.

The franchise is as lost as an afternoon star. Sort of like Chris Christie, a combination of power and stupidy.

Tanking is purposely losing to get better. Achieve the worst record — get the top draft choice.

Or tanking to keep payroll down. See Ruben Amaro, Jr.

But tanking teaches younger players to get comfortable with losing and chases fans away faster than tainted hot dogs.

For the Phillies, this would've been the perfect season to tank. Young players at the doorstep. Lot's of then — Double A, Triple A, lower. They'll be coming down the turnpike so often E-ZPass stock will go up. If E-ZPass had stock.

A World Series down the road?

Maybe, but right now Phillies' Skipper Pete Mackanin says .500. Well, using an old Irish idiom, that's "a lick and a promise." Mackanin's Phillies will surely produce another loser. So why then didn't the Phillies save money for the future and tank?

Because tanking makes losing easy, comfortable, and acceptable, what the Sixers haven't realized after four years.

And Howie Kendrick proves my point.

If you don't know who Howie Kendrick is shame on you. You don't follow the Phillies in the cold, winter months. Well, they use to be cold winter months, until Nancy Pelosi invented climate change.

Now get this: The Phillies traded a guy who was making $527,000, Darin Ruf, for a guy making $10 million. Yep, Howie Kendrick. The same Howie Kendrick who hit .255 last season for the Dodgers and is 33. At season's end he's a free agent.

The Dodgers cleared payroll— trading Mr. Kendrick — and took a chance on a guy who'd been a huge disappointment — Mr. Ruf. Ruf turned around and signed a one-year, $1.1 million contract with the Samsung Lions in Korea. Lucky for Ruf it was SOUTH Korea. Talk about a change of scenery.

But why?

Why would the Phillies make that deal? Because of Howie Kendrick, a ball player's ball player and the kind of guy you want around young players. Teaching them the right way to play the game, even in "a lick and a promise season."

It's not just Mr. Kendrick, but also resigning Jeremy Hellickson for $17.2 million and adding Red Sox right-hander Clay Buchholz for $13.5 million. Both for a year. Awarding center-fielder Odubel Herrera with a five year, $30 million contract.

Addding outfielder Michael Saunders and relief pitcher Joaquin Benoit. Moreover, if the club decides to trade Cesar Hernandez, Mr. Kendrick can play second.

Clearly, the Phillies are ready to win and surround their prospects with players like Howie Kendrick. Hopefully, we'll watch it blend together in the second part of the season.

And that is soooooo much better than tanking!

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