Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. was in a tough spot come the July 31st non-waiver trade deadline this year. Everyone and their mother knew the Phillies were going to be sellers as they sat at 47-61 without any real playoff aspirations. Because everyone knew they had leverage over Amaro at the deadline, reports everywhere said Amaro was not satisfied with the offers he received for some of his players as he was likely getting low-balled by other teams.
Because he did not receive any offers he deemed to be "fair," Amaro ended up not trading any of his pieces. The Phillies did not make any trades at the deadline despite having a number of very attractive players for contending teams.
How does this happen? Amaro told Todd Zolecki of MLB.com that he was surprised "there wasn’t more aggressive action from the other end. We have some pretty good baseball players." That "other end" Amaro is talking about are the 29 other general managers in Major League Baseball.
While I understand holding on to a guy like Cole Hamels, who hold tremendous value and has long-term value to the Phillies. I cannot understand not eating money to move a guy like Marlon Byrd, a 37-year-old outfielder who has hit 20 home runs this season and could be one of the Phillies best position players on the roster as it stands. If Byrd has a similar season or surpasses his current production next year, then it is a win for Amaro but betting the house on the likelihood Byrd does that does not seem like the smartest choice.
The criticisms of moving vs. not moving players were bound to appear and there are compelling arguments for both sides. Where I take the most issue here is Amaro's deflection of blame from himself to the other general managers. Correct me if I'm wrong but trade negotiations are a two-way street. If you have a player you feel is valuable and you want to trade but no team is making offers, I would think the next logical step be to go out shopping the player?
Plus, how much value does a player like Byrd or even reliever Antonio Bastardo hold on a team that is falling below the "mediocre" category? Wouldn't it have been in the Phillies best interest to deal these guys for something... anything, at this point? Holding onto Lee, despite the injury, I get it. Holding on to Hamels, I not only get it but I approve of the decision.
If Marlon Byrd is dealt this winter then this Byrd argument is null-and-void. The Bastardo one... that one still holds true. Yes, he killed his trade value in the week leading up to the deadline. Got it. However, I thought he should've been gone a few weeks ago anyways so the fact he was still in Philadelphia to kill his trade value was enough to question Amaro.
Either way, Amaro deflected blame but also told Zolecki he was "not disappointed" by not making a move at the deadline. I guess when you watch the Phillies night-in and night-out, it is tough for anything to be more disappointing than their uninspired play this season.
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