The offseason has not gone the Phillies way thus far. The player the Fightins were most often linked to this offseason, B.J. Upton, signed with the division rival Atlanta Braves. Upton would have brought Philadelphia the right-handed bat they seek to put into the middle of their lineup, and he would have filled the void left from trading Gold Glove center fielder Shane Victorino.
Upton signed a five-year deal worth $15 million per season. In all honesty, that sum may have been too much for the Phillies to commit to a player who hasn’t hit over .250 since 2008. Upton does have talent, but his price tag may have outweighed his ceiling in the Phillies’ minds. If they are willing to spend $15 million a year on a player, he needs to be somebody the Phillies see as a major contributor for their future. Of course, Upton might have just chose the Braves over the Phillies because he believes his best chance to win is in Atlanta, and he may be correct with that assessment.
Where do the Phillies go from here? Most of Philadelphia is still holding out hope the Phils will sign Josh Hamilton, and according to some NL Scouts, it would not be surprising if that happened. If it doesn’t, it’s unlikely they will be able to fill center field without a trade. The most often talked about outfielders for the Phillies to trade for have been Dexter Fowler, Denard Span and, ironically, Upton’s brother, Justin Upton. This Upton would most likely cost the Phillies most of the talent left from their depleted farm system.
Hamilton signing would be the big splash the Phillies need to get all of the momentum and fanfare from Philadelphia’s slacking sports scene. Even a deal for Fowler or Span could bring some hope to what has been a hopeless winter in the City of Brotherly Love. As the days get colder, let’s hope the hot stove activity heats up and helps the Phillies catch fire in 2013.