Phillies should be pleased big deals failed
Sometimes it's important to be thankful for small favors.
This past offseason, the Phillies made a concerted effort to sign free-agent center fielder B.J. Upton from the Tampa Bay Rays in effort to improve their outfield.
The club was outbid by Atlanta for Upton's services, and while the Braves are off to a fast start, he's been struggling mightily at the plate.
Going into Friday's games, Upton -- who's been supplanted in the leadoff spot by utility outfielder Jordan Schaefer -- was batting a paltry .134 with three homers, five RBIs and 34 strikeouts in 26 games.
Eventually, he's going to hit, but Upton's still not likely to be worth the money Atlanta is paying him. So I'm very relieved the Phils didn't sign Upton, given their already-bloated payroll.
There also were rumors the Fightin's had interest in free-agent outfielder Josh Hamilton, but I doubt that was ever a realistic possibility, because he would've been much too pricey.
Still, whether the Phils came close to considering Hamilton or not, I'm glad they didn't pull the trigger on a deal. The former Texas Ranger, who inked a five-year, $125 million contract with the Angels, is hitting .216 with two home runs, nine RBIs and 34 Ks in 28 games.
The Phillies' outfield is already bad enough (an improving Domomic Brown the lone exception) without an onerous contract thrown in the mix.
And the Angels, who went for a big offensive splash in the offseason instead of bolstering their pitching, are paying the price for that decision, at least in the short term.
nSpeaking of outfielders, I had no idea Ben Revere was this horrible offensively. His outfield defense is superb, but the minor leagues are littered with good-field, no-hit players.
Manager Charlie Manuel said the other day that Revere swings too hard, and the Phils' hitting coaches are trying to change his approach. I realize he has zero power, but Revere did hit .294 last season with Minnesota, so the Phils must've assumed they were getting a guy who could hit around .300 and steal 50-60 bases.
But maybe he had a career year with the Twins and is reverting to the mediocre player he is. I really hope that's not the case, because the Phillies have few immediate options in center field if Revere's a bust. John Mayberry Jr. -- who's had tons of chances over the past few years to prove he can be an everyday player -- really isn't much of an improvement.
n A lot of articles that came out after the NFL draft speculated that fourth-round pick Matt Barkley was chosen to be the Eagles' quarterback of the future.
But Sheil Kapadia, who writes about the team on Birds 24/7, made a really good point last week. Players drafted in the fourth round or later -- Tom Brady notwithstanding -- rarely become starting NFL signal-callers.
Sure, Barkley was expected to go much earlier than he did, but it sounds as if the Eagles' brain trust saw the USC quarterback as a value pick at the start of round four. After all, if they liked him so much, wouldn't they have chosen him in the second round?
Maybe Barkley will win the starting job at some point and be a successful NFL quarterback. But even if he's just a backup -- or doesn't win a roster spot at all -- taking him in the fourth round is hardly risky.
Rather, it strikes me as more of a low-risk move with a potentially big reward.
Paula Wolf is a staff writer for the Sunday News. Email her at email@example.com. She also blogs about sports at lancasteronline.com/blogs/wheelchairqb.