Is The Lack Of Sabermetrics Holding Back The Phillies?
Going into last season, most people assumed that the Phillies were going to be just fine in the National League East. With a solid pitching staff and a lineup stacked with all-stars, few could have imagined that both the Nationals and Braves passed them by. With those two teams getting even better for 2013, there are a lot of questions surrounding the Phillies.
While it is easy now to step back and look at some of the issues that surround Ruben Amaro Jr. and the Phillies’ front office, many point to their resistance to put much stock into sabermetrics as a major reason why they are falling behind. This is even more of an issue for a team that is aging quickly with not a lot of help coming up through the system in sight.
Between general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. and field manager Charlie Manuel, the Phillies have a very old school way of thinking. What this has led to is overpaying for aging superstars and handing out a few dud contracts. With the new financial restrictions on teams around baseball, that can’t be done nearly as frequently as in the past.
Take their case with Ryan Howard for example. The slugger won an MVP award in 2006, and ever since then, he has been paid quite a bit of money to avoid hitting the free agent market. However, Howard was just 11th in the league that season in wins above replacement (WAR), as his average, plate discipline and fielding all hold him back as being a true game-changing slugger. These days, he is signed through 2016 in the middle of a 5 year, $125 million deal. That is a lot of money to pay for a guy who has a total of a 0.8 WAR in his last three seasons.
Heading into 2013, the Phillies have eight players making over $10 million a season. They traded away Hunter Pence, a guy who would have made ninth and also would have been the youngest guy at age 30. Needless to say, this aging roster only has maybe one or two more years to get back in the playoffs. As any fantasy baseball player will tell you, the time has come where sabermetrics need to be at least considered to make smart free agent moves and decisions are possible extensions for the players on the roster. Decisions on Roy Halladay and Chase Utley will need to be made soon, and crunching the numbers could help with proper projections.
Charlie Manuel frequently makes poor strategic decisions. The 11-million dollar scoreboard in left field would probably do a similar job. We guarantee a post analyzing Manuel's decisions for every Phillies game. Please click on our aliases below to email us.