Amaro Talks Werth, Getting Old and More

amaro 1025 2010.jpg

Ruben Amaro Jr. spoke with reporters for nearly 30 minutes today about everything from Jayson Werth to concerns about the age of his lineup. Here are the most interesting things he said:

Q: How much will it cost to bring Werth back?
A: I have not had any discussions with Scott (Boras) yet. I obviously will (talk to him) over the next 48 hours or so. We’ll make contact. I guess the follow up question are, do we have enough money to do it? And would we like to bring him back? I think the answers to both questions are yes. However that will depend on what the ask is and ultimately how that will affect us with other possible moves we would have to make to do that.

Q: Are years an issue?
A: I think length is always an issue. It’s probably the most poignant issue always. Pat Gillick said this to me and I think it rings true. Anytime you get these extraordinary long contracts you have to weigh not only that person’s production on the field and off the field, that person’s affect on the club, long term and short term, both on and off the field, and also what that player brings to your organization beyond production. These are all things you have to weigh, and we’ll do the same with Jayson.

Q: Would you go more than three years?
A: I’m not sure yet. I don’t know yet.

Q: sn’t that an issue?
A:I don’t know until I talk to Scott.

Q: When you look at the core of your team, they’re all in their 30s. Are you worried they’re all going to get old at the same time?
A: I worry every day.

Q: Would you break up this core?
A: I think there are three elements we have to be ready to handle this offseason. One obviously are our six free agents. We have to deal with those. I think we have to deal with our age because we are starting to move into and past the prime ages of production. And I think we’ve got to address the bullpen because it’s something that could be or could have been an Achilles heel. They ended up performing very well because our starters went deep into games, but it’s something we have to address as well. Do I think about the age? I do. Do we have to start filtering some youth into our club? Yes, I believe that too. At the same time we want to be a contender again. So we have to balance those two things.

Q: Do you have to reconfigure the lineup so it’s not so reliant on the three-run homer?
A: I don’t know if we have to reconfigure, but you make a good point because frankly I didn’t like the way we approached our at-bats. We had a two-month period where we didn’t swing the bats well at all. Part of that is because we didn’t have our guys playing every day and we didn’t have necessarily our health. I think that probably contributed to it. But I think overall our offensive approach, we have to take a look at that and make sure that we improve in that area. Talent-wise, we’re a better club than how we performed in the postseason and during the course of the season. We had about four or five guys that we had higher expectations for and they didn’t produce as they have in the past. Partly because of not being able to gain some type of rhythm because of the injuries that they sustained and also when they were healthy – and they all were at the end of the year – we just didn’t have the right approach.

Q: If Werth isn’t back, can you just hand the job to Domonic Brown?
A: We have not given the job to Domonic Brown in right field. And he’s been told that flat out. He’s going to have to earn a spot on our club next year. He is going to Winter Ball. A lot of it will depend on the status of Jayson, but he has been by no means promised a job. He has been promised an opportunity, but he’s going to have to earn it.

Q: Can that offensive approach really change if most of the lineup is back?
A: It’s pretty clear most of these guys will be back. I think it’s going to be a combination of a couple of things. One, maybe you have to look in the mirror and maybe think they have to have a different approach. And also with regard to preparing themselves for the season. We’re not getting any younger. I’m not sure whether our health issues were age related, but there often is a correlation between the two. Some guys may be looking at preparing a little differently for the 2011 season as they get older.

Q: But how can you dictate situational hitting and getting them to understand that?
A: I think they understood it. I just don’t think we performed well enough with it. Listen, they’re human beings. They’re not robots. They’re not going to get the job done all the time. If we had gotten our jobs done we wouldn’t be sitting here right now. We would be somewhere else.

Q: Do you think the bullpen will have younger guys with Durbin, Romero and Contreras all free agents?
A: We haven’t talked budget and we haven’t gotten that far down the line yet. But I think there is going to be some flexibility to do certain things. But again, we’re talking about a great deal of money to be able to put a contending team together. That’s what I plan to do. That’s my job. I’m going to have to figure out with the rest of our baseball operations people the best way to utilize the money.

Q: If you sign Werth how difficult is it to do the other things?
A: It becomes difficult if you don’t move other pieces. I don’t think there’s any question we might have to make other adjustments on our club.

Q: That’s the only way you could resign Werth?
A: Not necessarily.

Q: But you have said you can’t have a roster full of $15 million a year players and he would be that type of guy.
A: The thing about our free agents is I’ve gotten indications they want to come back. Many of them. It depends how much they want to come back.

Q: Your payroll is around $143 million for 16 players. Does your gut tell you that you can go a lot north of that?
A: I would suspect we would not go … I don’t know what a lot is. Tell me what a lot is. I’d like to know what it is. One million is a lot to me.

Q: In your mind how much can you go north of that?
A: I do not know.

Q: Do you plan on negotiating an extension with Jimmy Rollins or do you want to see how he does next year because of the year he had this year?
A: I think we’ll probably let things kind of play out.

Q: You’ve talked about the inconsistencies in the offense. Werth arguably was your most consistent player offensively. How can you be as good or better without Werth?
A: Well, I think health will be one. I think the players themselves who were not very consistent and did not play particularly well or as well as they have in the past, I think them having more appropriate years and seasons production-wise, I think that’s one way. I think there are other ways. Jayson had a good year. It wasn’t an extraordinary year. He had kind of a tough time with men in scoring position, so he didn’t have as productive a year as he had in the past. But I think if he’s not with us, there are players that we can acquire or we have in our own organization that can help us be as consistent.

Q: Will you work on extending Charlie Manuel’s contract?
A: At some point we will probably address it with Charlie.

Q: Are all the coaches coming back?
A: I’ve asked all the coaches back.

Q: If Werth leaves, could you do something different. If you can’t find a suitable replacement for Werth, for example, could you swing in the other direction, maybe move some players around to bring in a stud starting pitcher?
A: I’ll try to be creative and make our club as good as we possibly can be. How we’re going to go about doing that, we haven’t architected the plan yet. But again, we have to be kind of open minded as to how to improve. I think there’s a way to improve the club, whether it’ s the starting pitching side, bullpen side, offensively, we’ll try to address it.

Q: Would it make sense to go for starting pitching?
A: We’ll keep our minds open on it.

Q: Have you scheduled surgery for Polanco?
A: Nothing yet.

Q: Was Utley completely healthy in the playoffs?
A: Yes, he had no issues.

Q: Could this NLCS loss motivate them next year?
A: I think they know. I think this one stung pretty good. I think these players really believed they were going to be World Series champions.

Q: What do you think happened with Utley? He struggled even before he got hurt.
A: This happens sometimes. There are blips on the screen where guys just don’t have great years. In fact, one of our biggest issues during the course of the playoffs is we didn’t have a guy who was really hot.

Q: Were Howard’s home run numbers being down a concern?
A: More of anomaly than anything else. We’ll see what happens next year and we’ll assess it. But he’s still one of the most productive players in baseball and he’s not the only player out there trying to produce. We need it from everybody.

Q: Any plans to bring back Moyer and Sweeney?
A: We haven’t addressed it with either one of those guys. We’ll talk about it and see where we go from there.

Q: Can you get younger bringing back Werth?
A: Werth’s not old. The Werth situation will depend on our discussions with Scott and I haven’t had those yet.

Q: Where do you see Jimmy in his career? His numbers have tailed off since 2007.
A: There is some concern about his production obviously the last couple years because he’s a much better player than he’s played. You just have to make sure that he’s healthy. The more important thing is to get him back on the field. I don’t think he ever got a real chance to get any type of rhythm offensively, and part of that was his health and it’s something he’s going to have to be mindful of. Jimmy is a guy who has probably played in more games over the last 10 years. There may not be a guy who’s played more innings or at-bats than Jimmy Rollins. At some point that starts taking its toll.

Q: You have other guys like that. Utley. Howard. Are you worried the tread on the tire is greater because of how much they’ve played?
A: We think about it. But again they’re very productive players and they’re not beyond their prime years. Again, we just have to make sure we keep them on the field. That’s an important element of it. Chase is another guy who spent a lot of time on the DL this year.

Q: f Werth does leave how comfortable would you be with Francisco and Brown in right field, or Francisco and Gload?
A: It’s a possibility. We’re still assessing. We’re not going to feel comfortable about anything until we know where we stand with Werth.

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Check back later today for the word from Werth …

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The Zo Zone is on Facebook and Twitter. My Phillies book “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly” is available online, and at Delaware Valley bookstores!

19 Comments

Scott Boras was a key figure in the J.D. Drew debacle. He is also Dominic Brown’s agent.

Ughh…I didn’t know Werth’s agent was Boras. I’ve seen this passion play with Adrian Beltre when he was a Dodger. Boras bottom line is $$$. He doesn’t care about arranging the best fit for his client or factoring in such intangibles as “happiness”…it’s all about $$$. So if the Phillies buy into Boras’ up-coming predictable rhetoric that Jayson Werth is the greatest thing since sliced bread and they’ll need to pay premium dollars for such, then he’ll be a Philly.

Great article! Amaro said all the right things. Phils need to let Werth go and let Dominic find his place. Ruiz, batting behind Howard, will be better than Werth and Burrell put together. Let’s get on with the future. If Rollins doesn’t bat 300 next year, he also needs to go. Great playing has taken it’s toll on his body. Thanks Phils for another great year.

Amaro said all of the right things? Give us a break. After two years with this turkey it is easy to know when he is lying, hint – his lips are moving.

The big offseason acquisition has to be a right-handed bat to break up Utley/Howard/Ibanez/Brown against left-handed pitchers. Werth’s the best on the market and a) he won’t be worth what Borass asks, and b) there’s no way they can afford him unless they move another big piece, which would be who exactly? That leaves one solution… and I’m 100% serious here… bring back Burrell. Platoon him with Ibanez in left and make sure there’s a good defensive outfielder on the bench for both of them in late innings.

After that relatively cheap move, all other resources should be devoted to shoring up the bullpen. Keep Contreras if possible, let Romero and Durbin go, sign at a couple of free agents.

zach: Burrell? Players who need late-inning defensive replacements just waste a bench player. Please. There are some interesting names on the list of free-agent outfielders, and plenty better than Burrell, but not too many better than Werth.

My concern with him is that he’ll get a longer-term contract than he should. He’ll be 32 next season, and they’re already fielding the oldest team in the history of the franchise.
Except RBI and SB, his numbers have gotten better each year he’s been here, and he’s certainly cashing in at the right time. They need to take a hard look at who else is available and what other options they have – including, but not limited to trading Victorino to free-up an outfield spot and some usable cash.

I think they’re doing the right thing by making Rollins play out his contract, and I think Amaro is justifiably concerned about the age of his baseball team. Having the league’s three best starters in one rotation is great, but this lineup has shown time and again that they cannot be consistent enough to warrant a lot of confidence in a playoff series.
I think we’re in for an interesting off-season.

muleman: Charlie should be subbing for Ibanez in late innings, so platooning him with Burrell wouldn’t waste a bench player. What other good right-handed bats are you seeing on the FA market? I agree with your concerns about Werth. I would reluctantly trade Vic, but I’m not convinced that would free enough payroll to make Werth affordable.

zach: Charlie got into bench trouble when he used to have to sub for Pat. Ibanez isn’t the defensive liability Pat is, and I think they could squeeze another year out of him. Having a guy who can’t play 9 innings puts a manager in a difficult situation. Ideally, I’d like to see him traded, but he and his $11.5 million salary are as desirable as a ’76 Pinto. They had to give him too much to sign him, and made a mistake with Moyer and Blanton (to name 2) – which is why I wonder about their judgement in such situations. They need to think long-term with a 32-year old outfielder, and can’t risk getting stuck with another Ibanez-style deal when Werth is in his late 30s.
As far as Victorino, he’s just a dumb player. He does some good things, but his mistakes are always costly. That double play on Saturday night was the icing on the cake for me. I think he has value, however, and might be their best option to try to scale down their payroll and stay competitive.

I just don’t see the point in going back to Burrell. I saw Bob Brookover mention it in today’s Inquirer, but to me it’s a last resort, and there are several better options.
There is a list here:
http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2009/09/2011-mlb-free-agents.html

Gah. Besides Crawford and Werth, that list of outfielders is pretty crappy. Who do you like there?

The ship has really sailed for Junior. Notice his doublespeak. The Phillies cannot afford more 15+ million dollar per year players yet they can still afford to sign Werth? Huh? Sounds similar to his meme that the Phillies had to trade Lee to restock the farm system. The problem here is not accepting the underlying premise as much as it trusting the guy in charge of doing it to do it in a competent manner. This guy is not Junior. It also sounds as if Junior is setting us up for one of his boneheaded moves. The Phillies should explore including Victorino in a package offer to the Cards for the disgruntled Colby Rasmus.

Famous last words from Junior in this press conference, “We [Phillies] have to change our offense approach”. To which I can only respond, “No s-h-i-t Sherlock!”. Don’t get the wrong idea, I didn’t intentionally listen to Junior’s drivel rather I am a technologically challenged as Junior is baseball savy challenged and it was the first thing I heard upon signing in to this site.

pherrisphain: you kill me! I love how you think RAJ and company have done such a lousy job assembling this team. Over the last FOUR years this team has made it to the post season. They acquired two of the best pitchers in baseball this season(Halladay & Oswalt) plus got an excellent replacement @ 3rd base. With the exception of Rollins, I think most of the starting 8 just had an off year due mainly to injuries. The loss in game 6 still stings, but I think that it will be a catalyst for next season much like 2007′s loss to the Rockies was in 2008.

Offer Werth arbitration and take the two draft picks. The league is onto how to get Werth out — throw him strikes early in the count (he’ll take them) and finish him off with fastballs anywhere above the belt (because he can neither hit ‘em nor lay off ‘em). Go with the Brown/Francisco platoon in right next year. That will give them both lots of playing time and make them ready to assume the RF and LF spots after Raul is not re-signed. (Sorry Raul, it’s not personal, it’s business)…I am glad to hear RAJ mention a change in hitting approach, because IMHO that is certainly one thing that is needed. I think Sarge’s approach makes a lot of sense. In Rollins, Utley, and Howard, we have a triad of low-fastball hitters who think they can hit high cheese. To quote Dirty Harry, “a man’s got to know his limitations.”

karen62 : Put your pom-poms down and listen up. Junior has not done anything that shows in the Phillies seasonal results. It may come as a surprise to such an astute dedicated fan and pom-pom waver such as yourself that Junior has been the GM only since Nov./Dec 2008. He inherited a world series winner and reduced to a pennant winner only then to a division winner only. I guess next year it will be a wild-card winner. But, hey, keep waving those pom-poms.

pherris, I think it is pretty obvious that the Phillies had the best roster in the postseason, and Amaro had a lot to do with that. I like how you finally acknowledge in a backhanded way that Amaro is well aware of what is going on, like you somehow knew about it before a lifetime baseball man. The Phillies have been a bad situational hitting team for years, it didn’t just rear it’s ugly head this offseason. The problem is that the key guys (Rollins, Utley, Howard, Victorino) usually had moments that got them past the issue in the postseason. But even with the best starting pitching in the team’s history, it wasn’t enough to counter this underachieving bunch. Amaro can’t hit for them.
The Phillies lost to the Giants because of lack of offensive production by some key players, and some key uncharacteristic defensive lapses. That happens in baseball and there was nothing Amaro could do about it at that point. He gave Charlie the best team and they didn’t get it done.

phan52: Come on, tell us, by what measure did the Phillies have the best post season roster? Manuel admits the Phillies have been in a hitting funk since mid-2009. Oh, yes, the way to address is to get another pitcher and/or wait over a year and bring in another retread hitting coach. Junior, a lifetime baseball man, what a hoot. I guess he learned a lot when he was a kid and took Carlton’s dirty jocks to the laundry. Maybe it was while he was riding the pines in his illustrious playing career that he absorbed something But he does have some kind of reverse midas touch afterall he took a WS winner and in one year reduced to only a pennant winner and in a second year reduced that to a division winner. But, I know, I know it is not either Junior’s or Charlie’s fault.

pherris, The team that the Phillies fielded this postseason was the acknowledged best roster out there. They were the favorites in every betting book in Las Vegas, which says more to me than the dopes on MLB Network and ESPN.
What happened in the Giants series was a lot more Charlie’s fault than Amaro’s, especially the pivotal game 4. But in the end it was the players who failed. Amaro can’t control any of that. He did his job, which was to give them a chance. They had a better chance than everybody else if they just played OK, which they didn’t.

watching the phil’s in spring training games i really thought the team was ready to make it to the ws, the first week in houston they looked very good. the signs of kendric, the doc and blanton were strong. but as the season moved along the injuries took its toll. but the team remained in second.
what i do not understand is why with good speed we do not bunt more?
the other question is howard he is not patient at the bat, at times he looks great and times he looks like a fool. maybe all that money is weighing him down.
heres is a thought rubin, ask howard, vic and maybe utly to give up a few dollars and try to get werth back, or find more pitching look at the rangers and giants young arms. where are ours?
after watching the giants game with the phils and last night the rangers their field is like a full of mud and look at the way the balls take crazy hops. dry the field out.
spring training is coming soon and i will be back to dream and hop the boys continue their success. if you are my age you will remember the late 50, the 60′s and part of the 70′s.
this team is the best.

watching the phil’s in spring training games i really thought the team was ready to make it to the ws, the first week in houston they looked very good. the signs of kendric, the doc and blanton were strong. but as the season moved along the injuries took its toll. but the team remained in second.
what i do not understand is why with good speed we do not bunt more?
the other question is howard he is not patient at the bat, at times he looks great and times he looks like a fool. maybe all that money is weighing him down.
heres is a thought rubin, ask howard, vic and maybe utly to give up a few dollars and try to get werth back, or find more pitching look at the rangers and giants young arms. where are ours?
after watching the giants game with the phils and last night the rangers their field is like a full of mud and look at the way the balls take crazy hops. dry the field out.
spring training is coming soon and i will be back to dream and hop the boys continue their success. if you are my age you will remember the late 50, the 60′s and part of the 70′s.
this team is the best.

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