The Philadelphia Phillies kicked off their spring training regiment today with pitchers and catchers reporting for their first workout of the season. Last year, they finished dead last in the NL East with a pitiful record of 73-89. The Phils have fallen on hard times since their 2008 World Series win, riddled with bad injuries and even worse contract allocations.
Ace Cole Hamels openly voiced his wishes to be traded to a contender today, and of the six men in baseball slated to make $25 million or more this coming season, Philadelphia is set to pay two of them (Ryan Howard and Cliff Lee) despite expectations for another less than mediocre season.
The problem there is that Ryan Howard is a far from certain bounce back for 2015, still never having shown a full recovery from a ruptured Achilles, and Cliff Lee just doesn’t seem to give a fuck about this season. He pretty much made that apparent today.
Perhaps as a way to portray his disdain — however jokingly — or perhaps as a way to send a not so subtle signal that maybe he wants out too, Lee pulled something that even Marshawn Lynch couldn’t think up when he relied solely on a magic 8-ball to answer reporters questions after the Phillies’ first workout of the 2015 season.
Not that I blame him, because he’s getting a fat paycheck either way this season. It’s definitely not his fault that Phillies GM, Ruben Amaro, has run the franchise into the ground over the past few years by making some very bad deals concerning future prospects. He’s done nothing to bolster the bats of what will likely be one of the worst-hitting lineups in the National League.
On one hand, I almost want to see Cliff go to a team that will be in the hunt. He’s an esteemed veteran and it’s only fair. On the other hand, if you’re planning on doing funny stuff like this night in-and-out as a form of mocking protest, maybe you should stick around to make up for the entertainment factor that will be lacking on the field at Citizens Bank Park this season..