The Phillies did nothing in late July despite clearly being sellers & having pretty much every player on the active roster up for grabs. The Phillies had opportunities but lucrative contracts with vesting options & limited no-trade clauses (NTC), five-and-ten-rights, and a high asking price that Amaro (RAJ) would not lower; precluded deals from happening. He blamed other teams but need only look in a mirror to see who to blame.
Why do I say that? Why is he to blame? Well, with rumors this specific, opportunity certainly knocked, but RAJ did not bite:
- The Reds had interest in both Byrd & Bastardo. The only thing blocking a trade is money-to-include vs. prospects (Byrd owed $11MM not including option and Bastardo was set to make up to $5MM thru 2015 (last year of arbitration)). This package could have net the Phillies two prospects, one of which could’ve been in AA. Amaro didn’t bite, probably because he wouldn’t send over enough cash.
- Hernandez, Pap, Burnett & Kendrick drew interest but Amaro asked for one major-league-ready prospect. That price was too high for these players: Hernandez & KK are half-year rentals; Pap is overpriced at $13MM/yr; and Burnett is a ? next year with that sliding player option. Even if RAJ agreed to pay the whole contract, he still would only net an A-level prospect for each. At least he redeemed himself with Thursday’s Hernandez-to-Dodgers trade for two low-level prospects.
- Player performances and injuries played a role in RAJ trying to shop these next guys: Revere, Brown, Lee, & Howard. Revere & Brown are cheap & weren’t as actively shopped as many others but Rube was willing to listen to the initial offer. There was hardly any interest from teams because Brown was struggling offensively & Revere is, at best, a two-tool OF (singles & diving catches). Howard’s $60MM ($25MM in 2015-6 & $10MM buyout for 2017) was unmovable given his post 2009 struggles. And Lee was the Phillies’ best trade chip until the elbow injury (he won’t return this season as of the Aug. 6 update).
- And finally came Cole Hamels. He drew interest from the Dodgers & Red Sox in July and was claimed by the Cubs this week before being pulled back due to no trade agreement. The asking price was three top prospects. While it is a high price for a $100MM-in-the-2nd-half-of-his-prime ace southpaw, especially mid-season, I do think RAJ was in the right to ask for top prospects… perhaps maybe not a team’s top guys, but maybe the top lefty starting pitching prospect and 2nd-best IF & OF prospects. I personally would like to see the team rebuild around Hamels & Utley (he & Rollins also drew interest but weren’t willing to waive their 10-&-5 rights): The Bridge to the Next Era of Phillies Baseball.
So, Amaro squandered trade opportunities because he was set on getting major-league-ready players for aging veterans & rental players. Sounds like the Phillies need a new GM.