It’s been bittersweet watching the MLB playoffs begin this week, seeing cities energized by the small chance that they could have a parade in a few weeks, while it feels like it has been months since the Phillies played a relevant game. Two years in a row without the playoffs doesn’t feel like an answer to talk that the Phillies were becoming the Yankees of the National League, just a few winters ago. And if Phillies fans are realistic with themselves, it is going to take a lot to not be sulking through the 2014 MLB playoffs at this time next year.
The Phillies need help in the bullpen, more rotation depth, another infielder and outfielder that could start if necessary, and a big bat. And Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York, believes that the Phillies could find that extra infielder and big bat, in the form of Robinson Cano, who is set to become a free-agent this off-season.
In a piece discussing the nine most likely landing spots for the annual All-Star if he chooses to leave the Bronx, Marchand listed the Phillies as the third most likely landing spot for Cano this off-season.
3. Philadelphia Phillies
Wait, they just signed Chase Utley. Yes, but Ruben Amaro Jr. does creative things, an official noted. So the Phillies, with some new cable money about to roll in, could try to bring in Cano and push Utley to third.
On the surface, the idea of bringing one of the best second baseman that the game has ever seen to Philadelphia sounds great. He is one of the games best hitters and would certainly bring a solid improvement to the Phillies lineup. And then you wake up, and see that the cons actually outweigh the pros in this situation.
Cano is 30 years-old, and is reportedly seeking a 10-year, 305 million dollar contract. Will he get that? Hell no, but chances are he will get a deal that is seven or eight years long, and will put him under contract for an exorbitant amount until close to age 40. Ask the Yankees or Angels if contracts like that are good ideas.
And considering the amount of money it would take to land Cano, besides a few minor moves, signing Cano would pretty much mean that the Phillies couldn’t go after any other free-agents this off-season. Is a team that didn’t even win 75 games this past season really only one piece away? We all know the answer, I’m just not exactly confident Ruben Amaro has come to grips with reality yet.
Also, Cano is a left-handed hitter that would be joining a lineup who’s three biggest hitters (Dom Brown, Chase Utley, and Ryan Howard), are all left-handed hitters. The Phillies need a big bat, but they may need a right-handed one, because they can’t trade Howard’s deal, just re-signed Utley, and Dom Brown is a budding superstar who isn’t going anywhere.
For the record, Chase Utley isn’t going to third-base. There is a reason the Phillies traded Placido Polanco away in his prime, and elected to keep Cesar Hernandez and Freddy Galvis in the minor leagues for much of last season. Utley doesn’t have the arm strength or range, especially at this point in his career, to play third-base.
Would Cano look great in the red pinstripes? Sure, and to take him away from the Yankees would be a nice sequel to Cliff Lee. But the Phillies need to build a team through farm development, trades, and smart free-agent signings. Just because they have some money with Roy Halladay coming off the books and a looming television deal doesn’t mean that they have an unlimited pool to just throw at every big name free-agent. Cano, or any other big deal for that matter, wouldn’t fix the Phillies problems. In fact another massive contract may only set the Phillies back even further than they already are.