Saturday, November 3, 2007

Where goeth ARodimus?

I don't need to repeat what happened with ARod, opting out of his massive 10 year, $252 million contract in the middle of game 4 of the World Series. Word has it that Arod wants 10 more years at a minimum of $350 million, which he won't get. Nevertheless, Rodriguez wants a lot of money, and there aren't many teams who can afford him. The Angels, the Mets, the Giants, and more have been mentioned in being suitors for ARod. There's one team, however, that I think should cough up the money and wrap this man up (under contract, not in their arms, although he could probably use a hug, too):


Here's what we know about the Phillies. They have no viable options at third base. They could use Rodriguez to bat 4th between Utley and Howard. An infield of Howard-Utley-Rollins-Rodriguez would instantly be one of the all time greatest. The Phillies are ready to win a World Series. ARod would hit 60 home runs if he was able to play 81 games in Citizens Bank Park.

The two big problems, potentially, are that the Phillies need pitching, and Arod isn't going to come cheap. The latter problem is easy to solve - the Phillies have the money to pay. They only ranked 13th in total payroll last year, despite playing in the 6th largest city in the country. They were barely over $89 million. Paying Arod an astronomical $32 million per year would only put them at $121 million per year, a perfectly acceptable cost for a big market team. Having ARod will also give them increased revenue. It's not the question of whether they can pay Rodriguez, it's whether Rodriguez would accept.

And whether Rodriguez would accept ties into the second problem, the real problem. Philadelphia desperately needs pitching. The free agent starting pitching list is not full of great arms, but there are enough options to give Philadelphia two or three new starters. They should pursue Curt Schilling and perhaps think about bringing back Randy Wolf. They could possibly sign Bartolo Colon if they think he can drop 50 pounds and regain his former stuff. Kris Benson, Paul Byrd, Matt Clement, Livan Hernandez, Jason Jennings, and Mark Prior are also decent options, but none of them are better than #3 starters, unless they think Mark Prior will somehow stay healthy.

So let's say Philadelphia signs Schilling at one year, $17 million, and Kris Benson at 3 years, $21 million. They should move Brett Myers back to the rotation and either take their chances with Tom Gordon or go after some other old man like Bob Wickman or Todd Jones, or even perennial disaster Armando Benitez. Let's say they go with Todd Jones for 2 years, $15 million. That gives them a rotation of Cole Hamels, Curt Schilling, Brett Myers, Jamie Moyer, and Kris Benson with Todd Jones, Tom Gordon, and whatever debris they have in the bullpen. They have Rob Barajas behind the dish, the aforementioned infield, and Aaron Rowand, Jason Werth, Shane Victorino and Pat Burrell for the starting and 4th outfielders.

Adding those three pitchers will cost $31.5 million in 2008, adding that to the rest of the payroll (including ARod) runs the team total to $152.5 million, a pretty big increase. A crazy amount of money. Philadelphia, listen to me. If you spend that money now, you will win the NL. You'll have a solid rotation, the best infield in baseball, and a good, young outfield. Your offense will be destructive. Don't forget that Schilling's salary comes off the books in 2009.

The Phillies are at the point now where they can turn themselves into legitimate contenders, or they can fall back into the same "almost" status they've been in for a number of seasons. Now's the time to take a risk, put the chips on the table, and make a run for the title.

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