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Amaro Scuffling – Or is He?



With every tick of the clock, some sort of action or reaction is taking place within, or surrounding, the Phillies organization. A Kyle Kendrick implosion, a Kyle Kendrick demotion, an Andrew Carpenter recall, another Jayson Werth rumor, Roy Oswalt/Dan Haren/James Shields coming to Philadelphia, a Jamie Moyer injury, a possible Kyle Kendrick return, a short outing by J.A. Happ; they’ve all taken place in a semi-whirlwind of a week. And were not even halfway through it.

Those who follow this franchise mainly come from one school of thought; Ruben Amaro screwed up. He traded away Cliff Lee, failing to capitalize on what could have been the most potent 1-2 punch in a rotation in the majors. Amaro’s claim was that dealing Lee was a necessity to recoup prospects which had been moved in a deal to bring a cheaper Roy Halladay to Philadelphia. I say cheaper because in the long run, it’s likely Halladay will end up being cheaper than Lee following this season.

Then we come to the word “control.” It’s been used a few different ways recently; “is Ruben Amaro in control” and “they want a guy whom they can control.”  Both, I believe, are true.

Understanding the fact that a Cliff Lee deal had to happen because of many circumstances beyond the control of the general manager is a must. He’s gone, not coming back. End of story. Should he have gotten more in return? You bet your ass. But Amaro tells us it had to happen. Move forward to today, we’re living in the here and now, it’s so free!

The here and now consists of Amaro trying to “undo his mistake”, as some are putting it. I see it as Amaro trying to move with the market, and trying to stop this ship from sinking.  If a trade does happen where Jayson Werth is sent to Tampa Bay, Roy Oswalt or Dan Haren or fill-in-the-blank is shipped to Philly, and prospects are given to Houston, can it be looked at as savvy?

As an aside, I will say I’m not pleased with some of the GM’s tactics and the way he throws phrases out like “I think we know exactly what we’re going to do..I just choose not to tell you.” It’s his job to soothe the public that pays to see a great product as much as it is to make sure that product is in working order.

In the end, if a trade is consummated where Werth is a goner and one of those top-of-the-rotation guys is brought in, then we will have seen a flip flop of Werth and Lee for Halladay and Oswalt/Haren.

Amaro will have sent out two players who will command heaps of cash on the street this offseason for two guys who could be under team control at welcomed prices for several years. The details of each singular trade of course play into this; it’s not as easy as Werth/Lee for Halladay/Oswalt or Haren or whoever. Mistakes were made along the way, most notably mapped out in paragraph No. 4. However, Werth will sign for a deal in the Bay/Holliday range and Lee is asking for Sabathia-type money. As you know, Doc took less to come to Philadelphia and both Oswalt and Haren are locked in place at fair prices for a few years.

With the possible loss of Werth will come a fresh face. It could be someone from outside the organization or it could come from just up the Northeast Extension. Domonic Brown will be a candidate to take over in the outfield, which is what everyone wants, right?

It does appear as though Amaro is scuffling a bit as the Phillies limp through the summer.  Does a trade like this make sense? Does it give the Phillies the kick start they’ve needed since the end of May? Those questions may or may not be answered in time. Still, this may not be the only deal that is made, either, as Amaro tries to right the wrongs and keep things moving in the right direction.

In the end, maybe the Phillies will have that amazing top of the rotation everyone clamored for. And, maybe they’ll also get to see prized prospect Domonic Brown finally make his mark in the bigs.  It just probably won’t go down as many had envisioned. And it probably won’t be called savvy any time soon, although you can argue that Amaro made the right calls when it comes to the long-term money situation.

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