Charlie Manuel talked about making the jump to small ball without Ryan Howard and Chase Utley for the first half of last season. During the offseason, Ruben Amaro, Jr. made the adjustment to small moves, at least compared to what the Phillies GM has done in the past.
The Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves each made big splashes in the offseason. Did Amaro make the right move by not going after flawed, high-priced items such as B.J. Upton and Josh Hamilton?
“I think he did,” a NL scout said. “If you get tied up with the wrong guy for years, your team could end up in really bad shape.”
Add that to the potential albatross of expensive commitments to such aging stars as Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins and the result in 2015 might not be pretty.
It might not have been that sexy, but the Phillies picked up a young, speedy center fielder in Ben Revere, who is under control through the 2017 season. They acquired Michael Young to replace Placido Polanco at third for a one-year deal, in which they pay only $6 million to the former All-Star.
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Gifted but enigmatic hitter Delmon Young will play right and earn just $750,000 for the 2013 season. John Lannan signed a one-year, $2.5 million deal to be the fifth starter. Mike Adams, the biggest splash of the offseason, inked a two-year, $12 million contract to set up for Jonathan Papelbon.
“Low risk, high reward can be a good way to go,” the NL scout said. “Can Delmon Young approximate the numbers B.J. Upton can? It’s certainly a possibility. If it doesn’t work out, you’re not married to Delmon Young. You can let him walk after this season.
"Some teams have won by making the smaller moves. Will the Phillies be one of them? Maybe. We’ll just have to see how things go, starting in spring training.”
Big splashes, big flops
These guys were given large contracts (years plus money) and they didn't work out perfectly.
1. Alex Rodriguez isn’t hitting A-Bombs anymore. The crazy deal for the alleged PEDS user is a bomb of another kind. Part of the reason the Yankees aren’t free-spenders these days is due to the $114 million they owe A-Rod, which will inspire many Bronx cheers in the house that greed built.
2. The Mets, who have done little right over recent years, paid dearly for little production from Jason Bay (four years, $60 million for results that make John Mayberry Jr. look like an All-Star).
3. The Carl Crawford deal with the Red Sox ($142 million) for a good (not great) player was part of Boston's downward spiral.
Small moves, massive results
These under-the-radar moves turned out to be invaluable.
1. Nobody has to tell Phillies fans what Cody Ross meant to the San Francisco Giants in 2010. Ross single-handedly led the Giants past the Phillies and to a World Series parade.
2. Jamie Moyer was acquired for next to nothing when Pat Gillick sent a pair of prospects to the Mariners for the pride of Souderton. Moyer helped lead the Phillies to the holy grail in 2008.
3. The Giants won two of the last three World Series titles thanks to significant under-the-radar deals. The acquisition of Marco Scutaro enabled the Giants to win it all last season.