Keeping Cliff Lee is the wrong choice for Phillies

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Trends don’t get much more clear than this:

2008: Won World Series
2009: Lost World Series
2010: Lost NLCS
2011: Lost NLDS
2012: Missed playoffs

Now, that’s not entirely fair: the Phillies had their best records in that span in 2011 and 2010. But Charlie Manuel’s team has dropped off severely since then. In 2012, the Phillies finished at .500. They’ll be lucky to get back there this year; not only are they 50-56 at the moment, but their run differential (-74) is better than only Miami’s in the NL.

A rebuild seems necessary, but GM Ruben Amaro Jr. is resisting. His idea of going young was acquiring Michael and Delmon over the winter. The Phillies were reportedly open to trading Cliff Lee, but they priced him so high as to make that impossible. If they keep Lee and re-sign Chase Utley, here’s what they currently look for 2014:

SP: Lee – 35 – $25 million
SP: Cole Hamels – 30 – $22.5 million
SP: Kyle Kendrick – 29 – $4.5 million

??: Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez – 27 – $8 million (approx.)

RP: Jonathan Papelbon – 33 – $13 million
RP: Mike Adams – 35 – $7 million
RP: Antonio Bastardo – 28 – $2.5 million (approx.)

1B: Ryan Howard – 34 – $25 million
2B: Utley – 35 – $13 million (approx.)
SS: Jimmy Rollins – 35 – $11 million
OF: Domonic Brown – 26 – $600,000 (approx.)
OF: Ben Revere – 26 – $1.8 million (approx.)

That’s a $134 million foundation, and not a particularly good one. Unless the newly signed Gonzalez shows something in this next couple of months and proves he’s ready to occupy a rotation spot, the Phillies will still be in need of a one starting pitcher, a catcher and an outfielder. They do have the option of bringing back John Lannan for $4 million or so. They could also try sticking with Jonathan Pettibone as their fifth starter and filling third base from within.

But Amaro is going to have to pull off far better signings than he has of late if he hopes to turn the Phillies back into contenders in 2014. He will have financial flexibility even with all of those commitments. Perhaps the best defense for going that route is that Amaro doesn’t seem like a very good candidate to pull off a successful rebuild, either.

I’ve heard one explanation for the high price for Lee is that the Phillies know they can just as easily trade him a year from now. But that just delays the inevitable and probably leaves them wallowing in mediocrity for another year. Why wait?

Pete Alonso wins 2019 National League Rookie of the Year Award

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Mets first baseman Pete Alonso was named the 2019 National League Rookie of the Year as voted on by the Baseball Writers Association of America. He received 29 of 30 first-place votes.

Alonso, 24, made the Mets’ Opening Day roster and, like Álvarez, looked major league-ready as soon as he debuted. He finished the season as the league leader in homers with 53 while also knocking in 120 runs, scoring 103 runs, and batting .260/.358/.583 over 693 trips to the plate. FanGraphs listed Alonso with 4.8 WAR, by far the most among rookies. Alonso also won a little thing called the Home Run Derby, earning $1 million in the process. He donated $50,000 apiece to two charities, Tunnel to Towers Foundation and the Wounded Warrior Project.

Alonso, rated as the No. 48 prospect in baseball before the season started, is the first Met to win the award since starter Jacob deGrom in 2014. He is the sixth Met to win it, joining deGrom as well as Dwight Gooden (1984), Darryl Strawberry (1983), Jon Matlack (1972), and Tom Seaver (1967).

Braves starter Mike Soroka finished in second place and Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. finished in third. Also receiving votes were Bryan Reynolds, Dakota Hudson, and Victor Robles.