Wednesday, December 16, 2009

These Aren't Your Dad's Phillies Anymore

As the dust settles from the Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee deals one thing has become apparent. These aren't your same old Phillies anymore folks. This team operates differently than it once did and that's a very, very good thing for us fans.

There was a time, not too long ago, when this franchise was forced to trade away stars like Scott Rolen and Curt Schilling because they didn't want to be here any longer. Whether it was about money or winning, both asked out of Philadelphia in hopes of finding a better team. The worst part? In each case, no matter how you felt about it, you understood why they wanted to leave.

Fast forward to today, December 16th, 2009. The Phillies, yes those same Phillies with 10,000 losses and an unparrelled history of disapointment, had the best pitcher in baseball want to sign here. He wanted to be here so badly in fact, that he took a below market deal in terms of both dollars and years (imaging that, an athlete taking less money) to come to Philadelphia. In addition to that they had another pitcher, with a Cy Young of his own too, sad that he was leaving this town. It's almost surreal to think, but it's true.

Now while the Phillies still don't operate like the Yankees (they would have just kept Lee too, budget be damned) or the Red Sox (they just spent money to sign a free agent pitcher instead and thus held onto their prosects) they don't operate like the Pirates or Royals anymore. Gone are the days of the Phillies crawling along with a small signing here or there. Gone are the days of having our best players leave because they don't want to be here anymore. Gone are the days of worrying, "Can we make the playoffs, ever?"

The question we ask now is, "Will we win the World Series?" The Phillies now have other teams best players leave because they want to be here. And we don't crawl along with small signings anymore, we trade for Cy Young pitchers and pay them $20 million a year.

Yes, the Phillies may still operate on a budget of $140 million, but just 10 short years ago that was about $40 million. Remember when Bill Giles called the Phillies a "small market team?" Those days are long gone folks. This team has the money, farm system and wherewithal to keep this championship window open much more than just two or three more years. We're looking at a franchise that wants to always be good, something that none of us ever could imagined 10 years ago.

So whether you are happy with the Halladay-Lee trade extravaganza is irrelevant. What is important is that the Phillies are operating on a different level now and everyone knows it. The National League knows it, the Yankees and Red Sox know it and now, finally...we know it.

And that's awesome.

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