Phillies: Between icon and phenom

Santana initiates the infield-huddle celebration after the Phillies' first victory. Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images.
Santana initiates the infield-huddle celebration after the Phillies' first victory. Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images. /
1 of 4
The Utley of our memories will never stop running. Photo by Gavin Baker/Icon Sportswire/Corbis via Getty Images. /

Underrated and unappreciated, this Phillies player had the unfortunate timing of following a hero who will probably have a statue at the Bank, and the unlucky soul also has a stud threatening his hard-earned job.

Heart or head:

Like skipping a generation, Philadelphia Phillies fans hold the star of the recent past with unquestioned loyalty and believe his heir apparent is on the team. Meanwhile, his replacement fights for visibility in his predecessor’s shadow, but no amount of success can compete with a legend.

"IN OTHER WORDS: “In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different.” – Coco Chanel"

When a superstar reaches his twilight years, the next regular at his position has big shoes to fill, and the task is nearly impossible. Firstly, the faithful view the icon through glasses filtering out his declining performances. They remember him in his prime.

To illustrate, the idea of trading for Cole Hamels is inebriating. But a 31-year-old Hamels fired the no-hitter three seasons ago. Like all previous stars, the ace is nearing the end of the line.

But even though Hamels, 34, is the age that Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee were with only a few bullets remaining, the paying customers would have unreachable expectations for Hamels. Yes, his best days are behind him, and he won’t be a postseason MVP again. This stud is now a maybe, not a definite.

Regarding the 40-man roster, many locals don’t realize the value of those extra 15 spots. For instance, general manager Matt Klentak choose not to burn a slot in 2017’s second half to advance Scott Kingery. And although he spent a full summer in the high minors, he’s currently struggling in the majors.

After allotting spots for top talent like right fielder Dylan Cozens, center fielder Roman Quinn, and others, Klentak had four slots remaining. Reason: The rule prevents franchises from stockpiling talent. Ergo, players like Odubel Herrera get a shot with another organization.

Klentak had promoted many prospects to higher levels after last July’s break: The GM eliminated them down to two. Victor Arano was one. Meanwhile, two keepers from the Single-A advanced Clearwater Threshers received promotions to the Double-A Reading Fightin Phils: righties Seranthony Dominguez and Ranger Suarez.