Ron Costello

Wednesday, November 7, 2018


One player does not guarantee a postseason appearance.

Take the California Angels. They arguably have the best player in baseball, Mike Trout, and still finished two games under .500 and 23 games behind the Astros.

Even two players — Manny and Bryce — don't mean a hill of beans without the proper combination, herein called the mix. That's the mix of homegrown talent and expensive free agents. 

In today's game, the mix is THE most important way to October baseball.

It's how it's done: the Red Sox, Astros, Yankees, Dodgers, Rockies, Cardinals, Brewers, and Cubs all used the mix of homegrowns and expensive free agents to win. 

Therefore, for the Faithful, it's all about the two-part question: Are the Phillies' homegrowns good enough to win with the mix? And, will the good free agents come to Philadelphia?

You know the Phillies' homegrowns: Hoskins, Williams, Odubel, Kingery, Crawford, Alfaro, Knapp, Franco, Hernandez, Altherr, Cozens, Quinn, Nola and other rotation and bullpen pitchers — and kids still on the farm.

You can bet that Bryce and Manny are looking at the Phillies' homegrowns closely. Sure, the money is essential and it's the number one bait, but neither Manny or Bryce — or any free agent — wants out of the post-season for the next five years or longer.

Mr. Klentak will be up against the big boys (GM's) wheeling and dealing for the 2019 prizes; prizes that could determine which clubs make the postseason. The Phillies' suits say they are ready to open their checkbook. 

But it's more than money.

Look, here's the thing. What happened to the Phillies in July is telling. Surprising everyone, a young and inexperienced team of homegrowns held a one-game lead over Atlanta on July 10. Two weeks later on July 25, the Phillies still held a one-game lead. 

Phillies management then went on a shopping spree. With the trade deadline looming, at a time when cheap trades are easy to make, the club went out and traded for older "replacement players." 

Bringing in replacement players over top of the homegrowns — even though the kid GM and the moves-manager deny it — killed team chemistry.

Grabbing one or two players to strengthen the club is one thing; replacing half the lineup is another. It was an organization-wide catastrophic decision. 

A decision that will affect 2019 more than anyone might realize. Why? 

Because if the Phillies organization didn't have allegiance to their homegrowns back in July, why should Manny and Bryce have it now?

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