Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Byrd Remains Phils Elder Statesman

Numerous rumors surround the Phillies oldest player
At various times in recent weeks, trade rumors involving the Chicago Cubs, Baltimore Orioles and other teams have swirled, but for now, Marlon Byrd remains the Philadelphia Phillies elder statesman on a roster still full of them.
Even with the trade of Jimmy Rollins to the Los Angeles Dodgers (still not finalized as of this morning, by the way) the Phils remain one of only two N.L. East teams with any players born in the 1970’s, and they have 5 of them.
The Mets have two such players,
  Bartolo Colon and recent free agent signee Michael Cuddyer. The Nationals, Braves, and Marlins have no players born in the 70’s.
Among the most likely National League contenders, the number of players born in the 70’s comes out in single-digits. John Lackey and Randy Choate with the Cardinals and A.J. Burnett with the Pirates are in the Central. 
Out in the West, adding JRoll would give the Dodgers 3 such players along with Juan Uribe and Joel Peralta. The defending champion Giants have 4 such players: Tim Hudson, Marco Scutaro, Javier Lopez, and Jeremy Affeldt.
As you can see, the vast majority of those aging players on the other N.L. rosters are pitchers. The Phillies quintet is made up of starting pitcher Cliff Lee (36) and 4 everyday position players: 2B Chase Utley (36), 1B Ryan Howard (35), C Carlos Ruiz (36), and Byrd (37).
In what truly is a new era in Major League Baseball, with drug testing limiting players to a more normal pace in the aging process, it has become more and more of a young man’s game. The Phillies are trying to get younger, but they still have much work to do.
The three oldest players in MLB in the 2015 season are expected to be free agent 1B/DH Jason Giambi who turns 45 in January, Mets pitcher Colon who turns 42 in May,  and free agent outfielder Ichiro Suzuki who turned 41 in October.
Three members of the over-40 club in the 2014 season have either retired or are expected to retire: Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, Rockies reliever LaTroy Hawkins, and Angels outfielder Raul Ibanez.
The oldest living former Major Leaguer, baseball’s current all-time elder statesman, is ex-Boston Braves, Brooklyn Dodgers, and Pittsburgh Pirates utility man Mike Sandlock, who turned 99 years old back in mid-October.

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