That’s awfully listy sounding, isn’t it? Don’t worry: I’m not going all Bleacher Report or Buzzfeed on you. This really does link to a story that provides three reasons why the Phillies won’t sign Josh Hamilton.
It’s from Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com, who knows the Phillies as well as anyone. He says Josh Hamilton is not going to sign there for the following three reasons, which he ranks from smallest reason to biggest:
- “Hamilton hits left-handed and the Phillies would like to add a right-handed bat to complement the tandem of Ryan Howard and Chase Utley.”
- “Hamilton will likely seek a long-term payday in excess of $100 million … It’s doubtful they want to write a check that big.”
- “The Phillies have shown a willingness to spend big money — for the right player, and the right player is often one with impeccable intangibles. Hamilton just doesn’t seem to be the right player.”
I sort of discount reasons one and two in and of themselves. Sure, you don’t want to be too left handed, but if you need a bat you sign he best hitter, right? All things being equal you go with a righty, but if things aren’t equal and the lefty is better, you deal with it.
“Over $100 million” seems kinda broad. Might a team not reasonably sign him to a five-year, $20 million a year deal but balk at seven years? I get what Sailsbury means about the Phillies already having big payroll, but I think we’re going too far to say that there isn’t some reasonable but still large Josh Hamilton contract to be signed by someone. He has risks, but he’s not chopped liver.
The intangibles? Well, that is what it is. The Phillies have tended to go for good character guys, but they’re not fanatical about it. I could see him scaring them off.
This is not to pick nits. I think, in its entirety, Salisbury paints a pretty convincing picture of a bad match between the Phillies and Hamilton. But I don’t think it’s an overwhelmingly silly idea. Just unlikely.
The Phillies’ bullpen, which has not been good as of late, gift-wrapped Monday’s game for the Cardinals. Starter Nick Pivetta was brilliant, fanning 13 while allowing two runs in 7 1/3 innings. But things unraveled after he left the game. Victor Arano took over for Edubray Ramos to start the ninth inning with the Phillies leading 4-2, but he allowed a one-out single and a double. After striking out Harrison Bader, Arano appeared to strike out Yairo Munoz for the final out of the game, but the ball trickled through the legs of catcher Andrew Knapp, allowing a run to score and the tying run to move to third base. Lefty Adam Morgan came in to face pinch-hitter Kolten Wong. Wong tied the game up, sneaking a single into center field.
In the 10th inning, Jake Thompson gave up the go-ahead run on a leadoff home run to Tommy Pham. It seemed like it was just going to be another one of those losses that have become increasingly common for the Phillies lately. But the Phillies’ offense didn’t go down quietly, even though it hadn’t put a runner on second base since the start of the second inning when J.P. Crawford doubled. In the bottom half of the 10th, Hoskins blooped a single into shallow left-center to start the inning. Hoskins moved to second base on a ground out from Odubel Herrera. Matt Bowman intentionally walked Carlos Santana, then struck out Jesmuel Valentin. That brought up Aaron Altherr, who replaced Nick Williams after Williams took a baseball to the face off of the right field fence. Bowman fell behind 2-1, then threw a 90 MPH fastball that Altherr lined into left field. Rather than keep the ball in front of him, Marcell Ozuna decided to dive for the ball to make the final out, but he missed. The ball trickled past him, allowing the tying and the game-winning runs to score, giving the Phillies a come-from-behind win.
On the list of people happy to see Ozuna miss that ball are Altherr (of course), Arano, Morgan, and Thompson. But perhaps no one was happier than manager Gape Kapler. The win might help take the heat off of him somewhat after another poor performance from the bullpen. When a team struggles, everyone wants a scapegoat and Kapler is an easy target. He has been all year, undeservingly.
Phillies radio broadcaster and former major league reliever Larry Anderson said after the bullpen meltown, “Not everybody can pitch in the ninth inning. And I know Gabe Kapler thinks they can, but they can’t.” Aside from Ramos and Seranthony Dominguez (who was unavailable after throwing 52 pitches between Saturday and Sunday in Milwaukee), no one in that bullpen has been reliable. The closer, Hector Neris, just got optioned to Triple-A. You work with what you have, and right now, Kapler doesn’t have a whole lot. Thankfully for him, he wasn’t punished with another loss thanks to Ozuna.