There’s a reason Ken Rosenthal is my favorite national baseball reporter. And it isn’t the bow-tie. Rather, Rosenthal always seems to keep things real and have the pulse not only of every team, but every team’s fanbase. And last night he demonstrated that again, with an article talking about how even a majority of the Phillies fanbase understands that it is time to rebuild, so management maybe should too. So Rosenthal has the pulse of the fanbase down pretty accurately. Apparently he has the pulse of the team down pretty damn well too.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, an unnamed Phillies player told Rosenthal the following on the team’s chances to make the playoffs.
“A lot of things will have to go right for us — a lot of things.”
It’s not that, that statement isn’t completely true, but when you still have a chance it isn’t something players should be telling reporters. Even if they are speaking anonymously, because then everyone in the clubhouse is looking over their shoulder trying to figure out who isn’t buying into the team’s chances to make the playoffs.
Another player, also speaking anonymously, didn’t sound like he was buying into the Phils slim chances of making the playoffs.
One cited the Phillies’ poor defense — the team ranks 23rd out of 30 in the majors in defensive efficiency, a statistic that measures the rate at which a team converts balls in play into outs.
Once again it is hard to argue with his point. The Phillies may have the worst fielding outfield in the MLB. Dom Brown and Ben Revere have both shined at the plate, but aren’t exactly gold glove caliber fielders. And I don’t think I even need to mention Delmon Young. Michael Young isn’t at third because he is a star fielder either. And both Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley have still made some great plays this year, but have had uncharacteristically high amounts of errors.
Again though it isn’t what you want to hear, because as bleak as things seemed Saturday and Sunday, the Phillies are still not out of the race yet.
I think it would be unfair not to mention that Rosenthal did pass along that one player he spoke to wasn’t as negative.
The division is just bad enough for the Phillies to dream — “it’s there for the taking,” one player told me. “A little ‘pen help, and we’d have a shot.”
Still, you would be hard pressed to take that positive quote as the most important part of the article. Baseball more than any sport is a mental game, and if everyone isn’t buying in, then the Phillies already slim playoff chances are going to come and go pretty quickly.