Every year at the trade deadline, the Phillies get gifts. Sometimes, those gifts are big and expensive, and sometimes, they are small, but the it’s the thought that counts. Sometimes the gift is having someone go away. This year, the Phillies filled their pockets with tiny, in some cases miniscule, gifts, taking a very conservative approach to acquiring talent in order to “compete” with the Braves and the Dodgers of the world. That way, they can hold onto top prospects while hoping that the talent that’s already here can kick it into a higher gear. Genius!
Let’s shout a bit about the players the Phillies have acquired. You might be thinking “Uh, who are these people? And why should I care??” Well to that I say—
Uh, Cliff Lee two point oh, anyone?
Imagine a Phillies starting pitcher with 13 IP, 1 R, 8 H, 3 BB, 13 K in two starts. Now stop imagining it because it’s real and it’s Drew Smyly, the Phillies’ newest starting pitcher to actually make a start for them.
Remember Cliff Lee? This is exactly like acquiring him again, and not just because they’re both from Arkansas and have both played for the Rangers—they also both have monosyllabic first names, both have more interesting full names (“Clifton Phifer” and “Todd Andrew”), they both have the “lee” sound in their last name, both didn’t play big league baseball in 2017-18, both are listed as 6’ 3”, both were born amid the sweat and illegal fireworks of an Arkansas summer, and both were acquired at the deadline and made an immediate impact for the Phillies!
Wow! It’s like they’re exact copies of each other! It’s like I... I don’t know which one is which. I hope neither of them turns out to be evil! That sure would complicate things.
So what I’m saying is, conclusively: Gabe Kapler was right when he said, and I’m paraphrasing here, and also adding a lot of my own words, that Drew Smyly is like Cliff Lee, but better, cooler, and here now, today, so let’s hoist him on shoulders and dance, dance, dance the night away around City Hall.
I didn’t even know who this guy was before the Phillies acquired him. But now I’m fully aware of the following information:
- That he is a pitcher
- That he has pitched professionally since 2012
- That he now pitches for the Phillies
- That he loves his family
And, if I crumple up and eat this piece of paper with his boring career stats on it, it’s like they don’t exist. The only thing to remember is that he is a relief pitcher, meaning that there is now new flesh for the creature that lives in the Phillies bullpen to devour, keeping his hungry eyes from turning to the stands where we, the fans, sit.
You might say that Mike Morin makes you a little Mor-interested in the Phillies in the second half! Ha ha ha! [Slams on the gas pedal of a car that is already upside down in a field]
Sounds simple but.. When hiding a present from a significant other make sure You actually remember where you hid it! #Valentines— Mike Morin (@MrMoosh28) February 13, 2015
Something important for the Phillies to have is more than just thin air behind their starting players. Remember earlier in the season, when all of the middle infielders were kidnapped by the same supervillain, Injury Bug? The Phillies had to turn to Sean Rodriguez and Phil Gosselin to get them out of that jam. Pirela gives them someone else to turn to in moments of crisis, so that we can say, “Ah, look, Jose Pirela is here. I hope Scott Kingery feels better soon,” or “Oh, Jose Pirela is starting tonight. I hope Jean Segura gets his head out of that bucket,” and other every day problems.
The most important thing for a baseball team to have is players—that’s where Pirela comes in. His first big league hit was a triple that scored Ichiro. He once walked off the Yankees on the Fourth of July. Word is that the Phillies might acquire Reds starter Alex Wood before the trade deadline expires; well, I hope he and Pirela have worked out their differences since their brief but passionate 2017 shouting match!
Fire! Anger! Emotion! They can be good things to have in a player, when we decide that they are!
And look how forward-thinking Pirela is.
More relief help is always a good thing. Our experts here at The Good Phight have determined this acquisition to be “fine” and “a move.”
So why don’t you go ahead and “park” that 4.21 ERA right in the Phillies bullpen, Blake! What’s that? The Phillies, a team whose manager recently said “We believe we are going to be playing meaningful games in September,” acquired a reliever whose incredibly normal-looking career ERA explodes from 3.50-4.00ish to 5.21 through 45 games in September? Well, it’s a good thing things don’t ever comeback to bite people around here.
Well, it’s not September yet, friend. Meanwhile, Parker can fill the void left behind by [consults Phillies depth chart, which has been formally renamed “Phillies death cart” due to the sheer volume of injuries to relief pitchers specifically] David Robertson, Edubray Ramos, Jerad Eickhoff, Seranthony Dominguez, Tommy Hunter, Pat Neshek, and Victor Arano.
Have you seen the way Matt Klentak talked about Robertson, by the way? It did not exactly inspire hope for the Phillies bullpen, or humanity.
In regards to David Robertson (right elbow soreness) and his slow rehab, Klentak said, "With each passing day it's becoming less and less encouraging."— Meghan Montemurro (@M_Montemurro) July 29, 2019
So, yeah. Parker is welcome if only because he’s walking and talking.
Look, we’re all thinking it: Jason Vargas tried to fight a reporter who offended his manager earlier this season when he was still with the Mets. If those trends continue, then Gabe Kapler, a man whom someone in the Delaware Valley is complaining about at any moment, sometimes in a bar, sometimes in a living room, often on the radio, has a new weapon.
“Gabe, what was with those bullpen decisions late in the game?”
“Get ‘im, Jason!!”
“Gabe have you considered that you rely too much on analytics?”
[Gabe opens locker, releases a snarling Vargas]
“Gabe, what would you say to critics who say you’re in over your head?”
[Gabe Kapler opens the same locker again—but it’s empty. Wha...? Oh no. Jason Vargas is loose somewhere in the clubhouse. Frantic scampering is heard in the vents overhead. The lights shut off. A scream.]