Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Playoff Time and the Ghost of Andy Ashby

The Phillies may have fallen just short of their postseason goal this year, but that doesn't mean we aren't dealing with a Phillie-less postseason. Well, actually that is exactly what it means. But it doesn't mean we aren't dealing with an ex-Phillies-less postseason.

Angels: Paul Byrd
Astros: Brandon Duckworth was left off the roster (turns out he wasn't even eligible, not that it would have mattered in his case), but it appears Ezequiel Astacio will make the cut
Braves: Johnny Estrada and Julio Franco
Padres: Adam Eaton
Red Sox: Curt Schilling and, of course, Tito Francona and much of the coaching staff
White Sox: Cliff Politte

I will be rooting individually for Byrd, Franco, Estrada, and Eaton. I will root against Schilling and Politte. I'm more or less indifferent towards the Houston duo, but seeing as though neither will probably see any action this postseason, I think that's ok.

Continuing my look at the 2006 Phillies, I present to you.......useless rumors and speculation. This stuff is not endorsed by anybody associated with Major League Baseball, but rather stuff I see while combing over various newspaper stories of the day. To that end, Jim Salisbury of the Inquirer mentions a number of teams that could potentially (italics are mine) have an interest in Jim Thome this offseason. Salisbury mentions the Angels, Rangers, Twins, Red Sox, White Sox, Yankees, Athletics, Orioles, Mets, Blue Jays, Tigers, Dodgers, Giants, and Astros as potential landing spots for the big guy. I realize it is very, very early in the offseason (technically there is still baseball to be played in some cities, go figure), but I'm not really sure if I see the value of naming roughly half (14 of 29 MLB teams not located in Philly) of the league as potential suitors for Thome.

I think I can knock off a couple of teams from that list - A's, Mets, Dodgers, and Astros - for various reasons, but, truthfully, any of the remaining eight could be viable candidates for a trade. So the question is, what does this tell us. It tells us that there is still so much we don't know about a potential Jim Thome trade and that this situation will unfold in a manner unlike any we've seen before in this town. There is so much uncertainty concerning Thome's value to the Phils, his perceived value around the league, his health status, his ability to perform at a high level, and the amount the Phils, or any other potential trading partner for that matter, will be able to pick up in salary when it does come time to make a deal.

To summarize: what we know is that very little is known - with one exception. The handling of the Jim Thome Situation (JTS? I think I like that, it could catch on) will be the most important series of decisions the Phillies will have had to make in a long, long time AND the resulting outcome of the JTS will impact the franchise not only in 2006, but in every year through the rest of the decade.

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