What were the Philadelphia Phillies thinking as they put together their roster during the past few seasons?
This season, in addition to an erratic offense, a diminishing defense, a top-heavy pitching staff and a bunch of incomplete parts on the bench, they also basically have a one-man deep bullpen?
If they continue playing as they have been, the National League could have five Wild Card slots to be won this season and the Phillies still might not grab any of them.
Without even mentioning their bullpen
The Phillies lineup remains maddeningly inconsistent. That batting order would be the one that is currently relying on Jim Thome as its cleanup hitter against the Minnesota Twins this week and the Toronto Blue Jays this coming weekend.
Because he isn't supposed to play in the field again, how is Thome expected to realistically stay sharp after Interleague play ends? Possibly, the team has plans to trade him (once again) to the American League when Ryan Howard returns?
The top-heavy payroll money that was thrown at a number of starters clearly hamstrung the Phillies ability to address other needs leading into this season.
The Phillies 277 runs scored aren't a terrible total, as that number ranks twelfth in the major leagues, but it's also not great.
In terms of the bench, Freddy Galvis played terrifically before he cracked his spine. But, he basically earned his second base job by default.
It's interesting to consider whether that rookie was actually going to be Jimmy Rollins replacement if the team hadn't finalized a deal with their long-time shortstop in the offseason.
Juan Pierre has been a decent addition. However, his ability to consistently get on base is often wasted by his teammates inability to actually move him over, or drive him in.
Players like Ty Wigginton, John Mayberry, Jr., Mike Fontenot and Hector Luna are complimentary parts that would be seen on occasion, rather than more often, on a strong team.
Gloves and uniforms
The Phillies .984 team fielding percentage places them near the middle of the major league pack, which is a departure from past seasons when their gloves were always near the top.
All of these points have been presented to show that the players who are currently wearing red pinstripes represent who the Phillies are right now. As a group, they definitely don't resemble who Philadelphia's baseball team once was.
Sean O'Brien's professional writing career began in 1990, when he first began working in the Philadelphia Phillies farm system. He was a freelance sports writer for five years and is currently a Featured Contributor for Yahoo! Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @SeanyOB and read his daily Sports Blog: Insight.
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