Phillies Still Trying to Make A Deal

The Phillies front office has been frustrated lately with its lack of success on the trade market, but it is still trying to complete at least one deal before Thursday’s 4 p.m. non-waiver Trade Deadline.

Ruben Amaro Jr. traveled with the team to New York, where it opened a three-game series tonight against the Mets at Citi Field. But Amaro was nowhere to be found before the game as he continues to call teams to find a trade partner for a group of players that includes right fielder Marlon Byrd and left-hander Antonio Bastardo.

“Am I expecting any (trades)?” Ryne Sandberg said. “I don’t know one way or another. Just from what I hear, if there is (a trade) it’ll be very late in the process.”

Byrd and Bastardo remain the most likely Phillies to be moved, which is nothing new. Byrd is hitting .266 with 20 home runs and 60 RBIs. His 20 homers are tied for eighth among right-handed hitters in baseball, which makes him valuable. Byrd can block trades to four teams, including the Mariners and Royals. He makes $8 million next season and he has an $8 million club option for 2016 that automatically vests with 600 plate appearances in 2015 or 1,100 plate appearances in 2014-15, including 550 plate appearances in 2015, which is a sticking point to some teams.

Left-hander Cole Hamels remains available, but the asking price remains extraordinarily high. This also is nothing new. The Phillies want to keep Hamels because he is the rare Phillies player signed to a mega contract still in his prime, but they will consider trading him if they are absolutely blown away by an offer.

Cliff Lee and Jonathan Papelbon are unlikely to be moved by Thursday, but they could be traded in August if they clear waivers. Lee is owed at least $37.5 million following this season, while Papelbon is owed at least $13 million. A.J. Burnett remains a possibility, but he seems to be a second choice for teams still hoping for a pitcher like David Price, Jon Lester or Hamels. Burnett’s player option could be worth more than $10 million next season. The money owed to Lee, Papelbon and Burnett has made trading them difficult.


“Still trying to make a deal?” “Hoping to complete at least one trade?”

Seriously, what does Amaro do all day? This time of the year, when your team is in last place and has no hope of getting better anytime soon, making trades is his only job. And he “hopes” to complete one? Way to reach for the stars, Ruben.

The ultimate irony is that Rube can’t make trades because Rube negotiated such generous and restrictive contracts. Nobody wants old, mediocre players who are owed a lot of money and have vesting deals, no-trade clauses, etc. This franchise will be a big mess for many, many years.

“Clearly, no other team wants to deal with Amaro.” Sure they do, but past experience shows he’s an easy mark so they’re not making any ‘good for the Phils’ offers just yet.

1./ A’s moved top prospects to get starters Samardzija and Hammel.
2./ Angels trade four prospects for Huston Street to be their closer.
3./ Giants trade two middle prospects for Jake Peavy.

On August 2, when Amaro is having a tearful and heartfelt presser (just like Ed Wade and Bill Giles before), and complains that ‘it was a tough market this year,’ or that ‘it’s too hard to compete with the big market teams,’ will the Philadelphia press do their job and remind him of how fruitful the market was for the healthy teams that didn’t have foolish and inhibiting contracts for aging players like Byrd or Burnett?

The market has been there. Clearly, no other team wants to deal with Amaro.

Things won’t be that bad for that long. Come 2016, there’s only sizeable commitments to Hamels, Ruiz (hmm..), and Howard (zoinks) with vesting options for Lee, Papelbon, Utley and Byrd. Probably reasonable to make the assumption that Lee, Papelbon and Byrd won’t be playing in Phillies uniforms by that time.

So this team will be markedly different with hopefully a lot more positive an outlook in terms of players and salary commitments in TWO years. TWO YEARS!! Roy threw his perfect game over 4 years ago and that seems like yesterday.

Hang tough, Philly!!

Truthfully, at this point, what difference does it make? We have little value to trade and our return will amount to a box of balls and some fungo bats. Amaro and Monty have proved beyond any shadow of a doubt that they can no longer run this team in a successful manner. And the “advisors” (Green, Gillick, Manual, Wolver, Jordan and Wade) sure haven’t covered themselves in glory either. Our scouting staff is piiful and the minor league clubs are devoid of talent, they can’t seem to develop anyone, as evidenced by players lack of baseball IQ when they get called up. This franchise is rapidly sinking towards joke status. I love the game and hate my team. I’ll follow on the radio, since the TV broadcast is too painful to listen too, but I have given up my season tickets (that I had from the mid 70’s) and won’t attend another game at CBP until this management group is gone.
Well done fellows, you’ve turned a diamond into coal.

I too, see little hope for the foreseeable future……

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Play “It’s A wonderful Phillies Life” and imagine that Mike Arbuckle and especially Pat Gillick never make it to Philly. David Montgomery and his cronies would have been just like that merchant ship that would have sunk. Good news is none of the recent prospects they traded ended up being any good either. Unfortunately neither have any the of the prospects they kept. What a sorry bunch except for a couple of misfits who somehow got in and knew what they were doing.

Happened upon this when I was checking on how Arbuckle’s over achieving Royals are fairing in the post season chase.

Revisiting Amaro over Arbuckle
Posted by Pat Gallen, Wed, August 14, 2013 11:44 AM | Comments: 25
Analysis, News, Opinion, Posts
Completely forgot I wrote this in November 2008, but @GTown_Dave on twitter sent it to me, reminding me of that under-the-radar move. The move was choosing Ruben Amaro over Mike Arbuckle to take over for Pat Gillick as GM of the Phillies. Amaro got the job, Arbuckle moved to Kansas City, and here we are today.

I wrote this nearly five years ago for

On Monday, the Philadelphia Phillies announced their new General Manager, the man who would take over for the legendary Pat Gillick. Ruben Amaro Jr., just 43, is the new GM for the World Champion Phillies, filling in for Gillick who has won three titles in that position.

It’s a feel good story for Amaro, who in 1980 was a batboy, winning a championship with the team in quite a different capacity. He now gets to take over for the top franchise in baseball and will have a busy first off-season ahead of him as players like Ryan Howard and Cole Hamels look for big-time raises and Pat Burrell becomes a free agent.

With the promotion of Amaro, an assistant GM for 10 seasons with the Phils, Mike Arbuckle will be leaving the team. Arbuckle, an assistant General Manager himself, was also considered for the position before the Phillies’ decision to go with Amaro.

Arbuckle has been in baseball since 1979, when he entered the game as a scout. In 1992 he took over as the Phillies Director of Scouting and just two years later was promoted to assistant GM. One of the main cogs behind this championship season, Arbuckle is responsible for drafting Howard, Hamels and Burrell along with Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Ryan Madson, and Brett Myers.

He is from the Kansas City area, and there are rumors around the league that he may join the Royals in some capacity. His departure would be huge, and may even be the biggest loss of the season. This guy has been with the Phillies for nearly two decades and knows the Phillies system inside and out. Amaro himself has been with the franchise for a while too, but he is not as seasoned as Arbuckle.

Baseball America had Arbuckle ranked as the third best GM prospect in 2003. Five years have passed since then and Arbuckle is still an assistant, so its understandable that he wants his shot at losing the assistant moniker.

While it was great to see Amaro’s promotion, it is just as alarming to see Arbuckle leave like this. He perhaps should have been the leading candidate, but the Phils brass chose to move along with younger blood. Keep an eye on Arbuckle’s whereabouts during the off-season. Just a week removed from a title, the Phillies are undergoing their first bout with in-house turmoil.
So, looking back, was it the right move to choose Amaro over Arbuckle?
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