Amaro Talks Werth, Getting Old and More
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.
Check back later today for the word from Werth …