The Phillies think we’re all just jerks with wallets
Yet another trade deadline has passed, and yet again the Phillies did absolutely nothing to alter their course. It’s damned near inexplicable. Not only are they 4 games back from the hapless Mets and 5.5 back from the penniless Marlins, but they also have the league’s second oldest lineup – 31.0 years old – and the third highest payroll in the whole goddamned MLB.
Anybody – I mean really, anybody – can see that this bullshit ain’t gonna get better on its own. Old players are old, and no amount of wishful thinking can make them young again. Sometimes bad players are good, but more often they stay bad. Especially if they are already old. This shit ain’t exactly fucking science.
The period preceding the non-waiver trade deadline is generally the best sellers’ market in the MLB calendar. Unlike the relative mystery of the hot stove, teams know exactly where they are with respect to the league, managers have an excellent idea of their units’ deficiencies, and when contenders make moves, other playoff-bound teams are put under pressure to keep up with the Joneses. The 2014 non-waiver deadline was one of the most active in memory, and a number of marquee players were involved in the deals.
And yet, the Phillies couldn’t pull off a single one. Not one goddamned trade to make this squad better in the future. Nothing to indicate that they have any intention of making it to the World Series again.
Make no mistake, this is a terrible missed opportunity for the future of Philadelphia baseball. But in and of itself, it’s not worth taking personal offense to a quiet deadline. No, what’s truly onerous about the situation is the attitude coming from the man in charge, the grand marshall of this shit parade: Rubén Amaro, Jr.
Amaro: “We were not looking for exorbitant payback, so to speak. We were looking for players that would help us. I think we were very reasonable in the discussions that we had. Frankly, I don’t think the clubs were aggressive enough for the kind of talent we have on our club.” – NJ.com
Let me translate that into human English: “Nobody wanted to sell the farm for the bullshit that I was peddling, so I’m gonna peddle bullshit to my fan base instead.”
I take offense, Rubén. I take offense because you just looked me in the eye and called me a stupid asshole.
The quote simply doesn’t fall within the realm of logical discourse. For one, as I mentioned above, 2014 had a particularly active deadline. Plenty of teams were out to make moves, and plenty of teams pulled the trigger, so the notion that other GMs weren’t being aggressive flies in the face of the facts. Secondly, it indicates that Amaro didn’t believe that he was offered enough compensation for the players the Phillies put on the table. This, again, is ridiculous, because quite literally anything that could start building this team for the future would have been a good move. Amaro is implying that the players the Phillies were offering should rake in big returns, but the truth is that all of these players are burdened by significant risk.
Antonio Bastardo is an inconsistent lefty who has dropped velocity since coming off the sauce. Papelbon is a cocky twit with an incomprehensibly stupid contract. Cliff Lee’s elbow finally remembered that it was 34 years old. Marlon Byrd is a useful player, but he’s 37, under contract for just one more year, and any player of that age carries a big risk in terms of injury or simply decline. Burnett and Kendricks are, at best, back-of-the-rotation starters / long relief for a playoff squad. Ryan Howard.
The real bitch of it is that Amaro must know all of this. And yet, instead of taking whatever he could get, he did absolutely nothing. Then he gave us a big ole bullshit sandwich to chew on.
David Murphy of the Daily News wrote in his post-mortem column that Amaro is “out of touch.” And that may be so. As Murphy reports, there’s no way in hell that any team is going to give up a 20-22 year old sure-shot MLB player that has a controllable salary in exchange for a geriatric outfielder that makes $8M.
But Murphy’s take on Amaro is too generous. He’s implying that Amaro is simply stupid, or ignorant, or poorly suited for his job. Amaro is at least one of those things, but the problem goes deeper than that. That the Phillies continue to drag their heels on blowing up this obviously hapless team is a systemic issue.
Phillies President and Amaro’s boss, David Montgomery, about a month ago: “Some people say that the Phillies worry too much about attendance. Yes, we do. When you are low in attendance, the risk is only on the upside. When you are (drawing well), the risk is dropping any further. And that’s what we’re trying to avoid.” – David Montgomery, via Kevin Cooney of the Bucks County Courier Times.
And here’s Amaro himself on the same topic: “It’s a little different in this market. For us to say ‘okay, guys, this is what we’re going to do. We’re going to stop winning, or trying to win for the next five or six years and we’re going to try and build a team from the ground up, or rebuild it from the ground up.’ I think that’s something that in our market place and with what our fanbase is all about, I don’t think that’s fair. I don’t think it’s fair to them. I don’t think it’s fair to the organization, I don’t think it’s fair to the players on the field.” – CSNPhilly
Not fair? NOT FAIR! I’ll tell you what’s not fair you imbecile: Trotting out the same group of people year after year after year when it’s plain as day that they cannot and will not compete for another World Series. It sure as shit isn’t fair to the players either. I’m rooting for Chase and Jimmy to get moved, not because I dislike them, but because it hurts me to watch them in their twilight, the last of their talents wasted on an uncompetitive team with an unworthy front office.
It’s clear what’s going on here. The entire Phillies’ brass is suffering from mercury poisoning. It’s the only rational explanation for what they’re attempting to do, which is to try to keep you and me caring about this team even though every single person in the entire city knows that it’s completely screwed. They must figure that all we see is names like Chase and Ryan and Cole, and that if those guys are around we’ll keep thinking that this team has a chance. They actually seem to think we won’t notice.
Ultimately, this looks like the final proof that the Phillies front office isn’t in this for the same reasons that the rest of us are. They’re not seeking more rings. Their focus is centered on the almighty dollar. If this management group had any competitive aspirations whatsoever, they would have tried to do something like the Red Sox and ship out all the dead weight before it became worthless. Instead, we’re stuck.
This was it for me with this Phillies team. It’s the last straw. I won’t stop being a fan – they can’t take that away from me – but I am sure as shit not going to do anything that puts more money into this organization’s coffers until they show me that they’re responsible enough to handle it. I won’t be going to games and buying concessions. I won’t watch on TV. I’m through. I may still be an asshole, but they aren’t getting shit else out of my wallet.