>> Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Um...well, to start, Feliz isn't young or good. Rollins will be 31 -- old for a shortstop -- and wasn't good at all last year, although there's a reasonable expectation that he'll be better. Ibanez will be 38, Werth 31. Utley is one of the best players in baseball, but is nearing the end of his prime. Howard is an outstanding (if slightly overrated) slugger, but was trapped behind Thome and will be 30 next year, and he's the kind of player who normally doesn't age well.
Maybe the Yankees were the better team this year, but the Phillies, with Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Pedro Feliz, Raoul Ibanez, Jayson Werth, et al, have the best nucleus of young talent in baseball and should be odds-on favorites to win the NL pennant and probably more next year.
So to say the Phils have a young core fails to understand what they do well. They don't have a very good young core, they have a very good "win now" core that they've filled out very well with useful veterans. And the key is that they're always looking to improve. My snark aside, Feliz was actually a good signing, taking what was a black hole and at least getting some defense out of the spot. But by all accounts Amaro is trying to upgrade the spot to get a two-way player, whereas the Mets have a black hole at first base and by all accounts think that's plenty good. Which is why the Phils figure to be no worse than co-favorites with the Braves while the Mets may well continue to drift out of contention despite a nucleus that's of similar quality but younger.