Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Botwinick On The Phillies: Sandberg's Optimism a Mirage

By SAMUEL BOTWINICK | Staff Writer
December 17, 2013, 1:00 p.m.
@avdbkr20samuel

I was able to catch Ryne Sandberg on the Mike and Ike Show on Sports Radio 94WIP on Tuesday afternoon and I noticed strangely he’s nothing if not optimistic.

Sandberg acknowledged if the Phillies play together and if players ignore personal achievements their odds of reaching the postseason are, at the very least, plausible. He then went on to say he expects the veterans to spread his message to the younger, more impressionable players.

The problem is, who are these younger more impressionable players? The Phillies have made several moves this offseason, but still remain one of the oldest clubs in baseball.

Given the roster, Sandberg appears hopelessly optimistic if he truly believes this team can contend.  

Now, of course Sandberg can’t publicly acknowledge his true feelings. Perhaps he, like so many fans, sees the holes in the starting rotation and bullpen, the age and questionable health of his veterans, and the faltering minor league system, and knows he needs to try and sell the club to the public as best he can.

What, if anything, has Ruben Amaro Jr. accomplished this offseason to indicate he’s listening to Sandberg? It’s doubtful a relatively new manager would seek out players such as Marlon Byrd and Wil Nieves when his club is already old and under-performing.

Looking at the current roster, Sandberg’s hype isn’t winning me over. I think it’s safer to assume the Phillies will remain a mediocre team until they move some of their aging veterans or buy them out of their contracts. Neither, however, are realistic options right now.

Chime in and post your comments below - what do you think of the direction of the club?

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