Amaro: "I'm tapped out, my friend"

Amaro says the Phillies are tapped out. Do you believe him? (Photo: David Warren,

Ruben Amaro Jr. joined Jim Duquette on MLB Network Radio today to discuss the Phillies payroll, among other things (via Dave Murphy). Right off the bat, Duquette asks about adding a player to bullpen or possibly elsewhere, should a deal present itself.

Amaro steadfastly denies the ability to make any move, as he has done throughout the spring, even with the rumors swirling about Rangers 3B Michael Young:

DUQUETTE: “This is the time of the spring when you’re starting to look at possibly bolstering your bullpen or your bench or whatever it might be, but from your stand point, is there room financially to make a bigger deal if it presented itself?”

AMARO: “Nope.”

DUQUETTE: “Not at all?”

AMARO: “No, there isn’t.  Anything else you want to ask me?” (laughs)  I don’t know how many times I can say that publicly.  I have no money to play with.  Our payroll is going to be over $160 million or so and I’m tapped out, my friend.  Maxed out.”

With a post in the works about why it would be a bad idea to bring in Michael Young (something I’m sure I/We have written about before on Phillies Nation), Amaro pretty much helps my case. Bringing in Michael Young or adding payroll is a bad idea.

The Phillies have enough on this roster to overcome a lenghty DL-stay by Utley. If he’s out for the season, a move to bolster the infield could be made, but to add Young’s $16 million per season for the next three is not the right one.

Down in Clearwater, Philadelphia Daily News Phillies columnist Paul Hagen and I had a conversation about this very topic over a couple of beers. Although each of us had a few, the commentary was sober enough. Hagen argued the fact that Young could be moved to left field after Raul Ibanez leaves via free agency. And in the meantime, Young would be used as a stopgap for a missing Utley.

The move to left field is a fine idea, as is the insurance for Utley, but not for $16 million and not for a guy who is heading into baseball’s old age. Paul and I both agreed Young is a fine hitter and a guy would fit in well here. We disagreed on the Joe Blanton factor.

Hagen thinks moving Blanton in a deal for Young is the right thing to do, however, I’m on the other side. While I’ve loved Young’s game for many, many years, getting rid of a fifth starter who has a decent enough contract is what ends the trade argument for me.


That’s the other question. Maybe you do think that Michael Young would be a fine acquisition. Maybe you believe he’d do well here and his presence in the order would help eradicate the questions should Utley miss time. However, the real question should be, do you believe Ruben Amaro when he says the Phillies have no room to maneuver?

He’s said that several times before, only to pull off blockbuster after blockbuster. In fairness, they are inching closer to the luxury tax level ($178 million) which they will not go over.

So, even if the Phillies do like Young, is it worth it to: A. move Blanton and other parts, B. add payroll for the next three years, and C. get older?

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