Like we do at the end of every Phillies (and Sixers, Flyers, and Eagles) season, we asked our readers to vote on what changes they think the team needs to make. After the disappointing 2012 campaign, which saw the Phils miss the playoffs for the first time since 2006, we weren’t exactly sure what we were going to find out.
It turns out that the fans aren’t quite as furious as you may imagine: most of the Phils’ role players have been granted a reprieve. That’s not to say there were a few surprises though. Read on to see the results.
Ryan Howard: The oft-maligned (and oft-injured) first baseman was given a passing grade by Phillies fans this season. 4,175 fans, good for 63% of the vote, picked him to stay. 2,420 fans voted to send him packing, but considering the Big Piece is inked through at least 2016, that won’t be happening anytime soon.
Chase Utley: Chase again missed a substantial part of the season due to knee issues, and some of the younger Phils stepped up in his absence. Factor in the talk of him possibly shifting to third base and acknowledging that his knees will probably never be back to 100%, I figured fans would be bearish on Uts. That wasn’t the case, however. 87 percent of voters, 5,208 in all, picked Chase to stay. Only 792 thought the team should cut him loose. It’ll be interesting to see what this number looks like next year as the 2013 season is the last year of Chase’s current contract.
Jimmy Rollins: This one sort of surprised me. Fans gave J-Roll a hard time all season long and there was speculation he’d be shipped off to the west coast at the trade deadline. But an even three-quarters of readers polled, 4,404 in all, voted to keep Jimmy around. 1,466 were in favor of getting rid of the current longest tenured athlete in Philadelphia.
Placido Polanco: No surprise here. Fans are overwhelmingly in favor of the Phillies getting rid of Poli. Only 6% voted to keep him around, and 5651 people, 94%, said to ditch him. For the most part, “stay” or “go” is a euphemism; most of these players are under contract and in MLB you can’t really just cut players if you’re unhappy with them. But in Polanco’s case, the team can either pay him $5.5 million to play for them in 2013 or pay him $1 million to buy him out of his contract. It’s a foregone conclusion that the Phils will take the buyout.
Carlos Ruiz: 98.4 percent of voters voted for Chooch to say. I assume that the other 1.7%, 79 people in all, clicked the wrong button when voting.
John Mayberry Jr.: This was the closest result of all the options presented, and I can’t say I’m surprised. Mayberry is a player that most people feel has yet to live up to his potential. Some people are in favor of giving him time to develop because of the flashes of brilliance he sometimes shows, and some people are in favor of cutting ties with him because of his inconsistent play. After 2012, which was pretty much understood to be a make-or-break year for John Mayberry, the fans are pretty much split down the middle. 2,626 people, or 51%, voted “go” and 2,516, 49%, voted for him to stay. It can’t get much closer than that. JMJ is eligible for pre-arbitration this season, so it’s still not clear exactly how the team will handle him.
Juan Pierre: Fans were apparently pleased with Juan’s gutsy play in 2012. It wasn’t always pretty, but JP hit .307 and swiped 37 bags on the season. 4,326 voters, 85.7% voted for Pierre to stay. 725, 14.4%, said the team shouldn’t keep him. Pierre was on a one-year deal, so he’ll be a free agent as soon as the World Series ends and it’ll be interesting to see what the team decides to do with him.
Domonic Brown: This one was another surprise for me. The more, uhh, reactionary side of the fanbase seems to have already given up on the former top prospect so I expected the numbers to be overwhelmingly in favor of trading the once-untouchable Brown. That wasn’t the case: an even two-thirds of voters, 3,293 in all, picked Brown to stay. 1,701 voted go. 2013 will be a big year for Brown: if he can stay healthy, fans should finally get a good, long look at the guy.
Brian Schneider: You might have to think hard to remember this guy. The name probably sounds familiar but you can’t... quite... put your finger on it. Oh, right! He’s been the Phils’ main backup catcher since 2010! But he managed to start only 26 games this year behind the plate because of injuries and the exceptional play of his replacement. Not surprisingly, only 6.5% of voters think the team should keep him, and 93.5% think he should go. Considering this was the last season of his contract, it’s all but certain he’s played his last days in Philly. Something to watch: Schneider has played for 4 teams in his career: Montreal, Washington, the New York Mets, and the Phillies (okay, so technically that’s only 3 franchises.) and they’re all NL East teams. Maybe the Marlins need a new backup catcher?
Erik Kratz: Ev-ry Bod-y Kratz your hands! Kratz Kratz Kratz Kratz Kratz Kratz Kratz Kratz Kratz Kratz! 96.7% of voters, 4,053 in all, want to continue Kratzing their hands. 143 feel as though they’ve Kratzed their hands enough for one lifetime, thankyouverymuch.
The Bench Players:
These results aren’t really interesting enough to try and be snarky or witty about, so here they are in list form.
Ty Wigginton: 427 votes, 11.2%, for stay. 3,403 votes, 89.1%, for go.
Kevin Frandsen: 3,559 votes, 94%, for stay. 248 votes, 6.5%, for go.
Darin Ruf: 3,930 votes, 97.9%, for stay. 95 votes, 2.1%, for go.
Freddy Galvis: 2687 votes, 80.6% for stay. 659 votes, 19.7%, for go.
Laynce Nix: 714 votes, 23.7%, for stay. 2,304 votes, 76.3% for go.
Nate Schierholtz: 1,463, 56.5%, for stay. 1,278 votes, 44%, for go
Michael Martinez: 366 votes, 11.3%, for stay. 2,876 votes, 89.1%, for go.
Roy Halladay: Doc gets the vote of confidence from the fans coming off of one of the worst seasons of his career. Halladay’s health is now a question, but 2,602 fans, 85.6%, voted to keep Roy. 436 voters, or 14.4%, think Doc’s days are numbered.
Cliff Lee: Although there was a surprising amount of “Trade Cliff for pieces” talk about the deadline, voters overwhelmingly support the southpaw with 91.8% of fans polled voted to keep Clifton. Just 8.2%, 244 in all, think the Phils should ditch him. That would be easier said than done considering Cliff’s monster contract.
Cole Hamels: No surprise here. Hamels received 2,644 “stay” votes, good for an overwhelming 98.7% approval rating. He edges out Chooch by just 0.3% for the most positive fan reaction. Only 36 people voted negatively for Cole. This is a good thing because Cole’s shiny new contract extension ensures he’ll be around for a little while longer.
Vance Worley: Despite missing a good chunk of time this season with elbow issues, fans are still bullish on the Vanimal. He garnered 1,966 votes, or 83.3%, for “stay”. 414 fans, 17.5% of voters, said “go”.
Kyle Kendrick: I’m speechless. I really am. I never would have expected this. In the past, Phillies fans have wanted Kendrick’s head on a pike outside the ballpark. Then, after some excellent late-season starts this year, he manages to garner an astounding 79.9% approval rating. 1,912 people voted for him to stay! If you told me this vote was going to go 80/20, I would have believed you, but assumed the 80 percent wanted him gone. Wow. What a stunning turnaround.
Tyler Cloyd: The jury is out on the youngster who stepped up into a starting role. 1,079 people voted for him as a “stay”, and 939 called him a “go”, giving him a slim 54/46 edge in voting.
Jonathan Papelbon: The megabucks closer garnered generally positive reviews in his first season in Philly. 1,670 respondents gave him a positive vote, for an approval rating of 78%. The 22% of negative voters probably had Papelbon’s string of losses in non-save situations in mind when they voted, and you can’t exactly fault them for it.
Antonio Bastardo: 943 votes, 48.2% for stay. 1,014 votes, 51.8% for go.
Phillippe Aumont: 1,430 votes, 89.9% for stay. 161 votes, 10.1% for go.
Jeremy Horst: 1,170 votes, 84.2% for stay. 219 votes, 15.8% for go.
Michael Stutes: 1,017 votes, 76.3% for stay. 316 votes, 23.7% for go.
Charlie Manuel: It’s been a tough year for ol’ Cholly. Everybody seems to have an opinion about how they could do better job that the guy. Twitter seemed to think he couldn’t manage a bullpen. Facebook comments skewed toward the guy being too loyal to his star players. The guy who runs the pizza shop down the street from me thinks Manuel has no business in a dugout anymore. The truth of the matter is that the biggest reason for the Phils’ woes this year had more to do with things outside of the skipper’s control: injuries. But despite all that, a majority of Philly.com readers have given Cholly their blessing as he heads into the final year of his contract: 1,994 voters, roughly 53%, voted for him to stay. 1,755, or about 47%, picked him to go.
Ruben Amaro Jr.: The Phils’ GM probably earned himself a big ol’ bucket of brownie points from Phils fans when he was able to ink homegrown superstar Cole Hamels to a contract extension instead of resorting to trading him away at the deadline. Getting that move was probably enough to tip the scales in his favor in the fan vote, as 1,967 fans, or about 56%, voted for him to stay. 1,559, or about 44%, voted to give him the heave-ho.