The regular season has been over for only a week and we’re already hearing much speculation about what the Phillies will do to improve on their 81-81 team this season. The usual October joy and excitement surrounding the Phillies is absent this year, so fans and talk radio personalities have to occupy their Phillies thirst, and that could be a dangerous situation for Philadelphia.
Of course, there has been the obvious rumor the Phillies are going after the top big-name player on the market, Josh Hamilton. I’m willing to say there is no chance this will happen. Hamilton would bury the team more financially at this point then he would help it in long run. However, I do see the Phillies going after a top-talent outfielder to fill a void in the middle of the lineup. B.J. Upton would bring the steady right-handed bat to the Phillies offense they have craved since Jayson Werth left for D.C, but he also would bring the speed and defense up the middle that left with the trade of Shane Victorino.
Upton, who during the 2008 World Series was heckled with chants of his first name (Melvin), is a perfect fit for the Phillies in almost every way. He is a premiere athlete with an extremely high ceiling. He is stellar defensively and puts up decent numbers on the base paths. He has been known in Tampa for having an attitude problem, but in any locker room you’ll find a few bad apples. That’s just reality.
The best play for the Phillies may be to stay away from all big names and turn their focus to cleaning up the mess of a bullpen that many see as the sole reason they didn’t make the playoffs this year. In any case, the National League East is full of young talent, and the Phillies need to do something to get a few more years out of their core. Maybe bringing in Upton, a former number-two pick who is in the prime of his career, is the way to go.
Upton may never live up to the talent most scouts once believed he had, but that doesn’t mean he will not be an adequate major leaguer for the rest of his career. Finding the right situation could help Upton contribute and excel. For now, this is just one of many rumors out there, but it may just make some sense for both parties.