The conservative right wing of the Republican party battered voters this election season with fears of Barack Obama’s leftist agenda. The Federal Stimulus, the Auto Bailout, and that cooky socialist Obama-care law were all
used to scare us from his lefty aspirations. Well, America has spoken and apparently they aren’t too afraid of Obama’s policies, no matter how far to the left you judge them to be. Where social conservatives failed, we Phillies baseball pundits must succeed. There is another storm cloud brewing from the left that could be heading toward Philadelphia. It’s name is Josh Hamilton.
Hamilton is at the top of most free agent lists, ranking 3rd on the esteemed ESPN analyst Keith Law’s rankings. One thing stood out in his analysis of Hamilton’s game.
“He looked particularly vulnerable to lefties who can spin something away from him in that span.” – Keith Law (ESPN)
A vulnerability to lefties is nothing new to this Phillies squad. Ryan Howard hasn’t hit left handers since his MVP season of 06′, and even Chase Utley’s numbers take a dive against southpaws. Bring Hamilton into the fold, and many nights they would be hitting 2-3-4 in the lineup.
|vs RHP as LHB||71||220||180||51||12||1||7||35||4||0||27||26||.283||.391||.478||.869|
|vs LHP as LHB||66||142||121||26||3||1||4||10||7||1||16||17||.215||.324||.355||.679|
|vs LH Starter||26||26||114||96||11||18||3||1||2||5||5||0||14||14||.188||.307||.302||.609|
|vs RH Starter||57||55||248||205||37||59||12||1||9||40||6||1||29||29||.288||.391||.488||.879|
|vs RHP as LHB||60||186||162||40||9||0||8||38||0||0||20||54||.247||.333||.451||.784|
|vs LHP as LHB||52||106||98||17||2||0||6||18||0||0||5||45||.173||.226||.378||.604|
|vs LH Starter||23||18||82||76||10||15||2||0||4||15||0||0||3||37||.197||.244||.382||.625|
|vs RH Starter||48||48||210||184||18||42||9||0||10||41||0||0||22||62||.228||.314||.440||.755|
|vs RHP as LHB||130||444||387||109||21||2||33||87||6||2||49||108||.282||.363||.602||.965|
|vs LHP as LHB||85||192||175||51||10||0||10||41||1||2||11||54||.291||.333||.520||.853|
|vs LH Starter||43||43||184||163||25||49||8||0||12||44||2||1||15||43||.301||.353||.571||.924|
|vs RH Starter||105||103||452||399||78||111||23||2||31||84||5||3||45||119||.278||.354||.579||.933|
Charlie would have to break them up against lefties, forcing one of the three to hit 5th or lower in the order. If he doesn’t, they’d become susceptible to the inevitable left-handed barrage from opposing bullpens. This would be a major problem, one not without historical precedent.
The Phillies faced this issue in 2006 when Chase and Ryan became everyday players. They instantly made the Phils lineup a force to be reckoned with, but they were unbalanced with Bobby Abreu in the lineup. The team ultimately traded away Abreu after a disappointing first half, but then a funny thing happened; the team started to win. Trading away a star hitter shouldn’t make a team better, but the wins said otherwise. The team became more balanced with switch hitter Shane Victorino in the lineup, giving Charlie more options with his lineup. A more moderate and balanced approach paid off for the Phillies, and should be the model for success in 2013.
Despite the logic, and historical precedents, Hamilton’s name still keeps coming up. If Ruben Amaro becomes enamored with spending big bucks again, Josh Hamilton could be wearing Phillies pinstripes. Yes, Amaro needs to spend money to fix this team that has fallen into a “recession”, but he should do so prudently. Spreading the available dollars he has over multiple areas of need will serve the team better and keep them from becoming unbalanced. Hamilton’s sweet lefty swing has the power to seduce Amaro despite his high contract demands, which would push the team over it’s own fiscal cliff (luxury tax threshold). Run to the middle Ruben, run and don’t look back! The fans, and more importantly the team, will be better for it.