Ron Costello

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Five Reasons Why Manny and Bryce Won't be Signing with Philly

They won't be standing in line at Pat's and Gino's at three a.m. after the bars close. They'll miss the Mummer's Parade, the Broad Street Run, lunch at the Palm, the light show and the Wanamaker Organ Concert at Macy's; the expressway shut-downs and three-hour delays.

Manny and Bryce — and other top free agents — won't be doing their Rocky impersonations at the top of the Art Museum steps.

Why? Shameless betrayal. 

1. Replacement players. The organization itself, top to bottom, displayed a complete lack of faith — and loyalty — in a young team that achieved the second best record in the NL and first place at the start of August.

When the entire Phillies family could gloat, "Look what we've done when our critics least expected it;" in a complete turnaround, slammed the door on the young team and brought in a half-dozen aged mercenaries and started them. 

It was the most flagrant case of betrayal since Walter O'Malley thumbed his nose at the people of Brooklyn and moved the Dodgers to Los Angeles. The result was an embarrassing fall from grace, equivalent to the1964 collapse.

2. Musical Chairs Manager. Gabe Kapler's mistakes at the beginning of the season were a joke throughout baseball. His management of the team including his mismanagement of the bullpen was humorous. The team nosedived in September, and the Chairs Manager didn't know how to stop it.

Stone-faced and square-jawed, he stood at the top step of the dugout game after game and seemed oblivious to the teams' plunge. 

3. An inept general manager. While the Phillies were into rebuilding, kid GM Matt Klentak was going through on-the-job training. 

Signing two over-the-hill free agents, Carlos Santana, and Jake Arrieta, for three years at $135 million, plus two relief pitchers, Tommy Hunter, 32, and Pat Neshek, 37, for another $34.5 million, Klentak cut his teeth on free agency.

They were nothing in comparison to the two contracts he tendered to Obdubel Herrera and Scott Kingery. Tendered is the keyword. Tendered means a team does not have to offer a contract to a player under club control. 

Yet, Mr. Klentak signed Herrera to a five-year, $30.5 million deal, and Kingery,  who had not played a single game in The Show, a six-year, $24 million contract. Both players, more times than not, looked mystified at the plate.

Perhaps Mr. Klentak just wanted practice signing players to multi-year deals. 

He got it. 

The quick heave-ho of well-regarded pitching coach Rich Kranitz; Kranitz did a masterful job with a young rotation and helped coach Aaron Nola to a near Cy Young year. When the younger assistant pitching coach Chris Young began getting offers, Kranitz got the boot.

Trading away a top organizational prospect, J.P. Crawford, after 225 plate appearances — while playing injured and out of position — was another sign of mismanagement and disloyalty. At least Dominic Brown got 1,748 plate appearances before the club cut him loose.

Do Manny and Bryce want to come to the Phillies and play for Klentak and Kapler? What do you think?

4. Team is in Shambles. The entire team has to be rebuilt and why is that? See reasons one through three. Manny and Bryce want to go where they'll get the money, of course, but they also want teammates who will give them the best chance of playing October baseball.

That's not the Phillies. What is the Phillies, or what they've become, are younger, inexperienced personnel putting too much emphasis on analytics. In other words, less Larry Bowa and more techie Bob.

5. Yankees and Dodgers. Both clubs are interested in Manny and Bryce. Both teams are strong, easily falling into the top five teams in baseball.

And the leadership management of the Yankees and Dodgers know how to entice and land top free agents. They have the money to get one or both, and the wherewithal to sign additional free agents and make key trades.

It doesn't make sense that Manny and Bryce would shun the Dodgers and Yankees and sign with the Phillies. 

Does it to you?

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