Black Friday rang in the madness of the holiday shopping season. There were stories of folks brandishing guns due to long lines, and shoppers who clearly had too much wine with their Turkey the night before. This craziness is nothing new, and has even become an accepted ritual of the holiday season. We deride these mad consumers, fighting one another gladiator style for those 50% off boot cut jeans that will get them through the winter, but we’ve all had our moments. Is the baseball shopping season really any different or rational?
Gm’s go out searching for the best deals out there, and always feel good about what they’ve acquired, even though many “bargains” turn out to be busts. The only real discernible difference is that their is no official beginning to the baseball shopping madness.
Yes, the free agency period officially starts shortly after the World Series, but nearly a month later and only a handful of players have changed hands. Most of the marquee names on the market are still on the racks waiting for someone to take them home. Particularly in centerfield, which has become the Phillies self proclaimed top priority, and is loaded with talent in B.J. Upton, Michael Bourn, and Angel Pagan.
Last year it was the closer position that was at the top of Ruben Amaro’s Amazon wish-list. He wasted no time and got the shiniest closer in the store, signing Jonathan Papelbon to a four year pact. Given his track record, most expect Ruben and Phillies to be this years first big spender once again. Buster Olney of ESPN said as much about the Phillies chances of landing a top center fielder.
“The Phillies are competing with many other teams for free-agent outfielders, but as this market plays out, they figure to get either their top choice or at least one of their top choices.” – Buster Olney
But so far the Phils have remained patient, apparently content to let the market play out. For anyone else this assertion would be true, but Ruben Amaro cannot help but make a giant move, which often defies logic and good sense. Maybe he just loves the attention, or he needs to get the best presents of anyone else. Whatever drives Ruben in this shopping season, there is no doubt that we are simply in the calm before the storm. Once the proverbial doors open for holiday shopping expect the Phillies to be first in the check out line with a brand new (and expensive) center fielder. There’s nothing wrong about getting what you want for the holidays, but if Ruben doesn’t make a stop at the discount section before checkout the Phillies will be left no better than where they were at the end of the season.