Injuries aren’t uncommon when a squad is comprised of primarily aging, veteran players.
Phillies fans know that better than most.
Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay and Carlos Ruiz suffered so many injuries over recent years that a MASH unit should have been added to the bowels of Citizens Bank Park.
Utley was traded in August and hopes to play for another team despite issues courtesy of his bad knees and ankles. Halladay is retired and now his old pal Lee will presumably join him.
The Phillies announced last week that they will buy Lee out of the remainder of his deal for $12.5 million. That makes sense considering that the other option is pay him $27.5 million for his services in 2016.
It shouldn’t be long before Lee announces his retirement as opposed to electing for free agency since he was against elbow surgery. The day after Lee pitched the final game of his career, a two-inning Grapefruit League game against the Astros in early March, he told Metro that his elbow was coming along fine.
“I feel good and my elbow is really good,” Lee said. “I”m looking forward to having a very different season than the last season.”
Lee wasn’t telling the truth but that’s the way it is for the modern athlete when discussing injury.
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Two days later, Lee revealed all that was not well with his elbow and it was the start of the final chapter to an extraordinary career. Regardless, the Arkansas native and resident will remain a Philadelphia sports icon. There will be a roar at Citizens Bank Park when the 2009 team is honored at the ballpark in 2019 when Lee is introduced.
Lee’s fabrication is reminiscent of Halladay’s assessment of his shoulder woes. Doc said all was fine in 2013 after he struggled mightily. A week later he went under the knife to start the final chapter of his illustrious career.
It’s frustrating for the media and disappointing for fans when players are less than honest. But the upside for those following the Phillies in 2016 is that there aren’t any aging hurlers, at least yet, on the staff. The only two players at this point, who appear as odds on favorites to break down are Ryan Howard, who figures to be back for 2016 and Carlos Ruiz, who should be relegated to part-time status. Both have a lot of miles on the odometer.
With Lee officially history, the Phillies continue to move on in a youthful direction. There is hope.
“Just look at the teams that were in the playoffs, a NL scout said. “Look at the Astros, Cubs and Mets. Youth can be a real good thing and the Phillies will at least have that next season.”