Let's get the most important thing out of the way quickly.
If you have a chance to go to Spring Training, go. And I recommend going early. First of all, the games are cheaper and you get to see some of the younger guys. Also, because there are fewer fans, it seems the players are more accessible.
But it's definitely worth it. And you can do so much. Traveling to the different ballparks. Traveling to the different state and National Parks. Visiting Disney or Universal or Cape Canaveral.
Oh, and the food in Clearwater wasn't badly priced, either. We live in Wilkes-Barre, and the food wasn't much more pricey than a night out here.
Now for the on the field reaction.
This might sound crazy, but I'd like to see the Phillies keep Bobby LaFramboise on the roster. So what if he doesn't hit big digits on the radar gun. Because of his unique delivery and his ability to generate a ton of sink on the ball, he seems harder to hit the ball hard off of. He has a .8 home run-per-9 innings in the minors and major leagues. He seems to miss a fair ton of bats, too. Maybe he's not a long term answer in the pen, but based on everything else we see out there, why not give him a try. If he pitches well enough in the first half, maybe you spin him for a prospect. Or you keep him, especially since he's cheap.
As you can probably tell by now - and I'm fairly certain I've said it - I'm an optimist.
There were a few guys I've been optimistic about who I now fully believe in: Nick Williams, Roman Quinn and Zach Eflin.
None of these guys should start with the team on Opening Day. I'm not even sure I want to see any of them on the roster by the end of the season. But they have bright futures - well if Quinn can stay healthy.
I have a legitimate concern with Crawford: The fans.
Let's start with Von Hayes.* What do you think of him? He was a bust right? No. No he wasn't. Not even close. Was he worth five players? Maybe not. But the only player in the five players who were traded for him and went on to have a good career was Julio Franco. And he had a very good career. Hayes, however, was no slouch. Hayes' first season in Philly was a struggle. But his numbers from 84-89 weren't bad at all. .279/.369/.447, with an average of 17 homers, 34 doubles, 26 stolen bases and almost as many walks as strikeouts.
Those are solid numbers. You'd love to have those numbers on your team. But because of what he cost the team in a trade in numbers, people never appreciated him.
The Phillies haven't had a prospect this heralded since Pat Burrell. Did Burrell live up to his hype? I'm not so sure. But I worry that Crawford won't be appreciated by Phillies fans because he'll never live up to the expectations they've placed on him.
Say he spends five years in Philly, hitting .275/.360/.420 as a shortstop and pops 85 homers and swipes 70 bases while putting up good defensive metrics. People still won't be satisfied, even though those numbers might mean he's one of the three best shorstops in the league.
*I'm going to expand on this possible parallel in a later post.