Sports Illustrated’s Ben Reiter posted an insightful column yesterday about the recent lack of success by the Phillies and Rays, who faced off in the 2008 World Series. I’ll incorporate elements of two of his points.
Reiter talks about the “human factor,” saying that by rebuilding, GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. would be admitting he’s failed to do his job after inheriting a World Series-winning team. And there’s a lot of truth to that. The club’s postseason success waned, moving backwards one step every year from 2009 to 2012, culminating in missing the playoffs altogether one year after winning 102 games.
Reiter also mentions how demanding Phillies fans are. If the team were to ship out the stars who contributed to the not-so-long-ago successes, the stands might empty out:
Even with the team’s struggles this season, it still ranks 10th, as fans are still drawn to Citizens Bank Bark by their recent positive memories, and to see the longtime stalwarts who contributed to them. If any club has an incentive to hold onto its stars as long as possible, and to profit off the gate receipts those stars still produce, it is Philadelphia.
This creates an interesting dynamic. The team wants to do well long-term, but in order to keep a job — and to keep money coming in — Amaro can’t move too many players. But hasn’t the management of money just perpetuated the need to spend?