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A-Rod . . . Or Bust!

The Phillies off-season priority should be one thing, and one thing only:  Alex Rodriguez.

Jim Salisbury today said that A-Rod wouldn't fit in well with the Phillies.  He may be right that management isn't going to pay what A-Rod wants, but other than that, Salisbury is wrong.  A-Rod's bat would fit in perfectly on this team.

A-Rod was worth 13+ wins above a replacement player last year.  His VORP was almost 100.  No pitcher is going to bring that much value to the Phillies.  With horrendous pitching this past year, the Phillies won the NL East.  Add A-Rod to the team's already dominant offense, and the pitching deficiencies will be that much less noticeable.

My thoughts on this are informed by two things.  First, the key in baseball is to outscore your opponents.  Of course, you can do that by decreasing the amount your opponents score.  But, you can also do that by increasing the amount you score.  There's no reason that the Phillies necessarily have to take the first route.  They can also take the second route and bludgeon other teams to death.  With A-Rod, the Phillies would have the best offensive infield of all time.  Even without re-signing Aaron Rowand (whose offensive and defensive contributions should be close to replaceable by Shane Victorino), the Phillies would have a dramatically improved offense.  More offense means more outscoring means more wins.

Second, there is no truer principle in baseball than that pitching is riskier than hitting.  There are no dominant starting pitchers on the market, so any pitchers the Phillies acquire this off-season are going to be risks.  They could be age risks like Curt Schilling or performance risks like Carlos Silva.  But, they're going to be risks.  A-Rod, on the other hand, is as close to a sure thing as there is.  He will hit.  He may not duplicate 2007, but he'll be a bona fide right-handed power source in a park that favors them.  He'll chase Schmidt, Aaron, Ruth, and Bonds.  He'll be healthy while doing it.  He is a guarantee at a position that gave the Phillies almost nothing last year.

The Phillies have to improve this off-season.  Forget about improving the pitching.  There's no better way to win more games in 2008 than by signing Alex Rodriguez.