Phillies Fans and Social Conservatives Should Share Fear of the Left


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

“Hamilton went cold in the 2nd half, particularly against lefties.” Tim Heitman-US PRESSWIRE

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.

Chase Utley

vs RHP as LHB7122018051121735402726.283.391.478.869
vs LHP as LHB661421212631410711617.215.324.355.679
vs LH Starter26261149611183125501414.188.307.302.609
vs RH Starter57552482053759121940612929.288.391.488.879

Ryan Howard

vs RHP as LHB601861624090838002054.247.333.451.784
vs LHP as LHB5210698172061800545.173.226.378.604
vs LH Starter2318827610152041500337.197.244.382.625
vs RH Starter48482101841842901041002262.228.314.440.755

Josh Hamilton

vs RHP as LHB13044438710921233876249108.282.363.602.965
vs LHP as LHB85192175511001041121154.291.333.520.853
vs LH Starter43431841632549801244211543.301.353.571.924
vs RH Starter1051034523997811123231845345119.278.354.579.933

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.