Say what you want, but the city of Philadelphia has been turned upside down since the start of NBA free agency and continues to wait for a newsworthy press conference that doesn’t pertain to the words “Chandler,” “Amir,” or “Redick.” Some may say I am overstating the obvious and others may be stuck in a time warp as they try and dissect the future of these moves. However, one thing does remain constant – the city of Philadelphia was not attractive enough to lure the top name on the ballot.
Before you throw out the common phrases of the resident Pi optimist, try to understand the entire process, and not just what you hope or feel will happen. Below is a list of responses I have for your optimistic lash-outs.
To those who say:
“LeBron was going to L.A. all along.”: This could very well be true. But to know that Philly didn’t even rank higher to score more than a courtesy meeting says all I need to know. Who remembers when everyone said Jim Thome wouldn’t leave Cleveland? Even though money was a big decision, spending time in the city while being pitched (face-to-face I might add) made a huge impression on him. Seems like LeBron didn’t even have time for us.
“This is only one year.”: There very well could be more free agents that opt out or request a trade. However, this was a time to build that core with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid that would take us over the top. Stop pointing to the West and start looking at the East. We have to get past Boston, who has just as many assets, if not more than we do. This is without the mention of their love affair with Anthony Davis. I just want to take the window we have now to be better three years from now to not only compete for a championship, but to keep our homegrown star Mr. Simmons in a Sixers uniform.
This all leads me to the Phillies – a team that has seen two players from their 2008 Championship season retire recently in Shane Victorino and Jayson Werth. I’m talking about a team that can compete now with the addition of a few more pieces.
Manny Machado anyone?
I think we all know that the Phillies covet the entire package that Machado can bring to the table. Even though he already looks like he should be wearing a North Catholic cardigan, Matt Klentak smiles like a five-year-old getting his first Mr. Softee ice cream cone with the sheer mention of the name Machado. That’s how much they want him in pinstripes. However, it will take all the stops to keep those stripes white and red.
The time is now and not later. Playing the waiting game with the likes of Chicago, New York, Washington, San Francisco, among others will be less than ideal. The Phillies can offer the same financial package, if not more, than the rest, but seeing what happened with the Sixers shows it still may not be enough. Machado will need to be sold and given the chance to bond with his teammates, as well as the fans. Getting a standing ovation on his very first at-bat, along with the chants from his own designated fan club that is surely already in the works, will only help keep him in the fold. This is why the deal needs to be made now!
We are fortunate to have a time where a lot of our young talent is up at the Major League level, giving us the opportunity to attack the farm. Guys like Nola, Eflin, Pivetta, Alfaro, Kingery, Hoskins are all names we capitalized on when we decided to rebuild. Our scouts have done a tremendous jobs by maintaining a top farm system, while still being able to compete. Names like Medina, Haseley, Moniak, Romero, and Irvin (Sanchez would be #1 if not injured) are all names we can use now. It is time to build a package that Baltimore can’t refuse.
This is a time where winning and money may not be enough to lure the top guy. We have already seen that our attraction as a sports city may not be enough. This is a risk, but one that we need to take. If we don’t take it now, we could get shutout in the off-season chasing a player who would rather wear the colors of an opposing team all because he couldn’t get a chance to feel what it’s like to be a Phillie!
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