The rush for post facto explanations of the Phillies' demise in the playoffs seemed to center on two key points.
The first was that the Phillies offensive approach was to blame. There was a good bit of evidence for this, mostly the fact that they were outscored in three of the four games, but it hardly covered everything. Cliff Lee blew a four-run lead in Game Two, something that no one could predict and something that, hard as it is to believe, simply happens from time to time to pitchers as good as Lee.
Another common theme was that the Phillies had somehow gotten too old to win in the postseason. The rapid aging between the regular season and playoffs should certainly be investigated or at least turned into a sequel to Cocoon, but it too doesn't stand up to scrutiny. No one thought the Phillies were too old when the playoffs started, it was only after they lost that people decided it was a reason for the loss.
This one seems to be picking up traction, though. Bob Brookover of the Inquirer spoke to a scout who suggested the Phillies let Jimmy Rollins leave as a free agent this offseason.
"It might be time to find out about a guy like Freddy Galvis. I saw him this year and he really is improving. I don't know if he's ready to be an everyday player in the big leagues, but I just think they need to get younger. As good as they are, they have a whole lot of guys on the downside of their peak. To ignore that is foolish. To say, 'We'll bounce back and be fine next year,' it doesn't work that way most times. Usually, it ends up being ugly."
There is an argument to be made for letting Rollins go. That argument does feature his age, although it is his age at the end of the contract than his age right now. It is much more about the amount of money you'll be giving him, though, and how much sense it makes to spend that cash on a player his age.
Simply picking the name of a young player out of a hat -- especially a young player who you don't think is ready to play in the big leagues -- doesn't work as an actual solution, though. He's right about not ignoring age, because age does matter, but this isn't some sci-fi film where players over a certain age just get tossed out with the trash.
It's sports radio stuff, getting younger for the sake of getting younger with no thought about the actual impact on the team. The Phillies need to get better, same as every other team in the major leagues, and doing that is about much more than simply looking at birthdates.
The Phillies are going to be younger on Opening Day. Raul Ibanez, Brad Lidge, Roy Oswalt, Brian Schneider and Ross Gload will all be leaving and all will likely be replaced by younger players. And yet, it seems the Phillies will still need to do more to get themselves back to the World Series.