News Article

The Ax

Author: Ryan Sweeney
Posted: Jul 1, 2017

So, here we are, the end of June, and the Phillies are the worst team in baseball. They are 5-17 in their last 22. Many games aren't even competitive. Guys have been axed; more should. Below are some guys I wouldn't be sad to see gone by the trade deadline.

Odubel Herrera is the first one on my list. Mike Schmidt got a lot of flack for saying Herrera couldn't be the guy to build the team around because of the language barrier between him and his teammates. Schmidt gave an honest opinion to a simple question, and I think he got way more negative press than necessary. In reality, Herrera can't be the guy to build around because 1) he's not good enough and 2) he is simply not a smart ballplayer and 3) he is lazy. He is not the guy you want, "setting the tone" for your team. Honestly, I hope there's a language barrier - I don't want him rubbing off on the guys who play the game the right way. About a week ago he ran right through a stop sign on his way to being thrown out by a mile at home plate. A few days later he ignored a "don't attempt a steal" sign, gets thrown out. He bat flips when he singles with the team down 8 runs. He jogs on fly balls and ground outs. Find a team willing, and dump him-it's time for the ax.

Maikel Franco may be the 2017 version of Dom Brown. So much anticipation. So much hype. Flashes of greatness, then long periods of terrible at-bats. Two buddies of mine have a bet regarding his production this year. For anonymity, I'll call them Bob and Pete. Pete is a Franco hater, has been for a long time (says he saw the holes in his swing early on). So since Franco hit .255 last year with 25 home runs and 88 RBI, the bet was that if he improves in two categories, Bob wins. If Franco's numbers dip in two, Pete wins. Needless to say, Bob is probably nervous that he will be the one who endures a paintball shot to the posterior from 25 feet away sometime during the first week of October. So, if some team wants to take a chance he turns it around, take whatever prospects they offer and run. Maikel needs to get the ax.

Joaquin Benoit, despite his somewhat respectable 4.11 ERA, needs the ax, too. It seems like every time I watch him in a close game, he gives up runs. He has given up four homers in 30 innings. Earlier in the season he publicly called out the coaching staff for not pitching guys in the same innings every night, of course after he blew a game. Anyway, he's the type of late-inning reliever whom teams on the bubble like to acquire around the deadline, he's too old to have a future here, and I can't stand watching him pitch, so he gets axed, too.

Pete Mackanin, it's probably not all his fault, and I was a fan, but he is getting the ax, too. He doesn't throw a pitch or swing a bat, but I've seen too much lackluster effort from this team, and that calls for the ax. He has lost this team. Larry Bowa must be losing his mind watching the effort these guys give at times without being benched. I'm honestly afraid Bowa could have a heart attack or stroke watching this team do bonehead things almost daily. If Mackanin wants to keep his job, he needs to start making examples of these guys who are supposed to be leaders on this team. Honestly, I don't even want the Phillies to bring up guys like Kingery, Hoskins, or Cozens- I don't want them to be infected by what I assume must be a depressing, soul crushing clubhouse. Mackanin has to know his days are number if things don't change. I'd like to say he gets tough on these guys and they start to change their ways, but I'm not holding my breathe. Sometimes you need to start anew, and this team may not do that with him here.

Thankfully the Phillies saved me from having to write of my utter exhaustion of seeing Michael Saunders swing and Jeanmar Gomez get rocked, or this article would be even longer. If these other guys don't go, I don't want the talent in AAA and AA to come up and be infected by this sorry excuse for a baseball team. I don't want them exposed to this culture where losing is expected and lazy effort is acceptable. If Mackanin can reclaim the clubhouse, then they can spared, and by all means, bring the kids up because that's really all we have to look forward to. Let's hope I have something more positive for 215Sports fans next week, like someone being disciplined or canned and some real competitive baseball being played.


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