|Ruben With All Of His Good Acquisitions|
C Eric Kratz
3B Pete Orr
SS John McDonald
CF Roger Bernadina
3B Kevin Frandsen
CF John Mayberry
Result: 11-3 loss to those very intimidating New York Mets.
Now, the Phillies have absolutely nothing left to play for this year. Winning and losing games does not matter, and no one in the fan base much cares if they lose every game for the rest of the year. Honest and for true. They've already ran off the beloved manager, all of the beloved older players are becoming less beloved by the day because they are no longer among the best in baseball at their position, and the fun of watching the handful of players on the ascent is, well, secondary to the fun of just watching baseball. There's been nice weather, the club has won a World Series recently, and the people who get bent out of shape about wins and losses stopped coming to games months ago. There have been worse eras, and it seems like simple ingratitude to burn them at the end of the best era in franchise history.
Now, you can pick from any number of reasons why general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. should be fired. The ham-handed way in which he ran Charlie Manuel. The clueless signing of any number of spectacularly bad aging players (Delmon Young, Michael Young) or wildly flawed young ones (Ben Revere, any number of relievers). The utter inability to pull the trigger on sell-by assets like Jonathan Papelbon, Cliff Lee or, I guess, Michael Young, in that some franchise might have actually believed him to be an upgrade at third for the pennant chase. But even if you somehow wanted to give him a pass for all of that, I point you back to two-thirds of the Phillies lineup today.
None of those players listed above will, I assure you, have any utility to the team in all likelihood, 2014. If any of them are in MLB, for any team, in 2015, it will say something profound about the franchise that employs them. If you are in a fantasy league where any of them is on a roster, you play in a terrible league that geeks way too hard and goes way too deep, or has inactive owners. The chance that any of them will breakout and perform anywhere near even a replacement level is also infinitesimal.
An aside: when you have John McDonald on your roster, a 38-year old defensive shortstop whose offensive value is less than that of many of the pitchers on the staff... I start to wonder about the existence of compromising photographs. There really isn't much in the way of competing theories that have much in the way of feasibility.
Good franchises can have bad years, but they can not, and should not, get absolutely nothing out of them. Right now, there isn't a franchise in MLB that's getting less out of 2013 than this team. Having Pete Orr on your major league roster is sad, but having him in your minor league system (and his equally useless alter ego, Michael Martinez) is, well, the baseball equivalent of treason. It means that you have absolutely no faith in your minor league system to produce anything better than these men, or that you are so delusional as to consider this collection of flotsam as replacement level quality.
Next year, when the Phillies are playing meaningful games again, they'll want to know if, say, Cody Asche can overcome platoon issues, or if he wears down with everyday use. Maybe if Darin Ruf can do more than hit home runs when no one's looking, in late summer. If Maikel Franco has a defensive position, or if Jesse Biddle can overcome the inevitable issues that young pitchers run into. Or whether Ethan Martin and Jonathan Petitbone can withstand routine starts.
Instead, they'll look back on all of those at bats for Orr, and innings for the Raul Valdezes of the world, and wonder what the hell they were thinking. Since they gave a man who has no idea how to evaluate talent the keys to an MLB+ franchise that has the largest unrivaled metropolitan area to support the team, a fanbase of 3+ million turnstile passers, a huge regional television contract, and divisional opponents that are the weakest in MLB.
Who gave them Pete Orr. And John McDonald. And played them..
Or why no one will ever give him a GM job again...