Friday, October 29, 2010
Dear Jayson and Ruben,
As you well know, the past few years have been a very special time for the Philadelphia Phillies and its loyal fanbase.
Four division titles, three trips to the NLCS, two National League Pennants, and a World Series ring is the type of remarkable success that has not been common place in this city? Every game is a playoff atmosphere with standing room only crowds filling arguably the best venue in all of sports.
Baseball pundits and fans have debated whether this is the best era in team history— or even in Philly sports altogether. The "dynasty" word was being tossed around pretty freely, but regrettably has been shelved for now with the Phillies premature postseason exit this year.
I think you could both agree that the Phillies still have some unfinished business.
Ruben, it surely won't help the cause if Jayson is wearing a different uniform next season.
Some argue that top prospect Domonic Brown is waiting in the wings, and that this is part of baseball's natural order. Although he showed some flashes, Brown's three-month tour with the big club highlighted that he's probably not quite ready for prime time.
And importantly, he swings from the left-side. After the way the Giants lined up lefties in the NLCS to shut down the Phillies left leaning lineup, tipping the scales further in that direction clearly wouldn't improve the team's championship aspirations.
Left field in 2012 sounds just about right.
A lineup with Brown replacing Jayson in 2011 would likely have Charlie Manuel asking for volunteers to move to the right-side to balance things out like a US Airways Express flight attendant.
Besides providing an important right-handed threat amongst the left-handed sluggers, Jayson contributes to winning in so many other ways.
His athleticism, instincts and rocket-launcher arm make him one of the best right-fielders in baseball. He gets on base a lot, and then possesses the speed, aggressiveness, and hustle to freely move around them.
Did I mention that Jayson is the National League's all-time postseason leader in home runs? For a team setting its annual goal to win it all, isn't having proven big game performers critically important?
He is a true gamer whose total contributions sometimes only show up on the stat sheets in the win column. Additionally, keying in on a non-Sabermetric stat, he ranks very high in "cool" factor.
Jayson had it right when he said a few weeks ago, "Why mess with a winning formula?"
And, Jayson, it is very doubtful that you can replicate the electric atmosphere of Citizen's Bank Park, not to mention the tremendous camaraderie and chemistry with your teammates.
Speaking of the baseball stadium, wouldn't you agree that it is pretty much ideal for a player of your skills?
You are a perfect fit for this club and this city. And they are a perfect fit for you.
Why would you want to mess with a winning formula? Why not choose to remain as a key component of something very special that will be recognized in this town for generations to come?
You will be financially set for life with your next contract— here or elsewhere. Why accept anything less than the ideal situation— namely Philadelphia.
I suspect the past few years have been among, if not the best times in your life. Why walk away from more of the same for a little extra money?
Wouldn't you miss all your close friends in The Bank's right field bleachers? Why risk a case of writer's cramp sending out postcards to stay in touch?
Let's face it, Ruben and Jayson, you need each other. And, Phillies teammates and fans need you to need each other.
So, how can we work this out?
Jayson, although it might not be in your agent's DNA, perhaps you could whisper in his ear to negotiate nicely with the Phillies because they are like family. Tell him that RAJ didn't really intend to make you look bad when he mentioned that RISP stuff.
After all, didn't the Phillies take a risk on you when others wouldn't and then provide the perfect surroundings for you to flourish? That sounds like family to me.
And, how about telling that agent you're up for a hometown discount?
Ruben, think about how difficult it would be to fill the gaping hole in the lineup and in right when it comes time to negotiate.
Remember, too, there's nothing wrong with being creative. A trade here, a future expiring contract there, a deferred payment here, an advertising rate bump there— and you might be able to sell it up the line.
Consider also that Jayson had something to do with those 100-plus consecutive sellouts. Fans are willing to pay to see winning teams, especially those comprised of winning, likable players with a work ethic.
He's not going to come cheap, but isn't he worth it? (Or, if you prefer, Werth it?) Proven five-tool players are hard to come by— lets not let him go the way of Cliff Lee.
Surely, seeing the Giants players dancing on the field last week has to make both of you want to take another crack at getting it right next year. Heck, a few more rings could fit on those hands, so why stop there?
Can't we do this together? Lets finish business the way it was intended.