The Phillies are coming off of their second consecutive 73-win season and third straight non-winning season. The last few offseasons were spent with general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. telling the media, and anyone who would listen, that the Phillies were not as bad as they appeared and could make a push towards a playoff run.
That was clearly not the case.
This offseason is different. The front office seems more focused on the future and interim president Pat Gillick appears like he has more say in what is going on with Amaro & Co. It is evident in how the Phillies say they are operating and everything Amaro is telling the media. It's a totally different animal.
Amaro spoke with Philadelphia-area native Tyler Kepner of The New York Times about the offseason ahead and his honesty was refreshing.
“We’re a lot more realistic about it than we were in July, because now you see a pretty great shift,” Amaro said. “Teams just don’t want to give up the talent. They’d rather give up the money than the talent. So we have to have an understanding of that, and at the same time we have to identify the guys that are still pretty talented and not take a bath.
“Listen, our ownership group is not saying, ‘You have to trade these guys.’ But we as an organization, together, have decided we need to make a change."
“You identify, and fans identify, with players like Rollins, Utley and Howard, who are arguably the best players at their positions in the history of our franchise,” Amaro said. “It’s hard to cut them loose. And yet, sometimes, you have to have that mentality like, you know what, maybe we were a little too loyal, maybe we were thinking that we could squeeze some more blood out of the stone.
“But that’s also a good learning experience for me. Maybe we’ve got to do things a little differently, and think about doing that shift a little earlier.”
Who knows if Amaro is the right guy to turn the franchise around but, for the first time since everything went south on the field, Amaro sounds like he is really in tune with what needs to happen for the Phillies to regain their spot of prominence in the National League East.
Let's just hope he acts rationally on those new rational thoughts.
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