"I think we have to have a different mind-set or approach than maybe we had in '08 or '09," he said. "I think it's a different ball club. I don't think we have nearly as much power. I think we have to rely on having better at-bats, being better with two strikes, and being better situational hitters. Frankly, those are things we'll have to change if we want to be a championship-caliber club and get to the World Series."
No doubt a second straight postseason watching the other guys have better at-bats prompted the general manager's mandate.
The Cardinals hit 33 points higher than the Phillies, had 20 more at-bats with runners in scoring position, and saw 70 more pitches. Those numbers are even more lopsided when you factor in that the Cardinals were generally facing a better quality of pitcher, with the possible exception of Chris Carpenter in Game 5.
And yet, it was the Cardinals constantly applying the offensive pressure after Game 1 and not just by hitting home runs. Rafael Furcal, Ryan Theriot, and Skip Schumaker played just as big a role in the Cardinals offense as Albert Pujols and Lance Berkman.
An advanced math degree is not needed to realize that as the Phillies core players have increased in age, their power numbers have decreased. The 153 home runs the Phillies hit in 2011 were their fewest since 2000, a year when the team finished last and Terry Francona was fired as manager. With Ryan Howard possibly sidelined by a ruptured Achilles tendon to start the season, the home-run total does not figure to be on the rise in 2012.
It was only natural that Amaro's directive to Manuel and Gross was met by some skepticism.
Does the general manager really think his veteran hitters will be open to the changes he wants to see from them? Does he really think they are capable of making such changes?
"I think we fail ourselves if we just decide to accept this is what we are and we're not going to try to get any better," Amaro said. "I think we owe it to our fans, we owe it to our players, and we owe it to each other to try to do what we can to improve; and to change, because obviously it's not working enough to get us to the next level. Our next level is to try to get to the World Series and win it, and there are some things we can do offensively to change that."
Amaro said Manuel and Gross are on board with the change.
"I think we're very much on the same page," Amaro said. "Charlie is about getting a good ball to hit and capitalizing on it. He's about grinding out at-bats as well. There is no question that Charlie likes the home run and we all do. I do, too. I think we've come to the realization that it's not just about the home run. It takes a lot of different pieces of the puzzle to score runs and there are a lot of different ways to do it."
The issue, of course, is much more complex than calling for a change in approach. The lineup is going to be different in 2012. Amaro made it clear that John Mayberry Jr. is the front-runner to replace free agent Raul Ibanez as the leftfielder. There is no guarantee that free agent shortstop Jimmy Rollins is returning even if both sides would love to see it happen.
If Rollins does return, it's hard to imagine he's going to change his approach. You have to wonder if Shane Victorino is capable of a drastic change at this point, too.
Amaro used a healthy Placido Polanco as an example of the approach he's looking for from other players, but the veteran third baseman had double hernia surgery Tuesday and has had multiple health issues during his first two seasons with the team. Next season is the final year of Polanco's contract.
"I know Polly can be a very productive player, but he needs to be healthy to do it," Amaro said. "Polly is the kind of guy we're trying to have. He works the count, he understands what the importance of contact with two strikes is. That's what we're trying to improve and he kind of epitomizes that.
"We should have more .300 hitters or close to it. We really should. These guys have the ability to do it. It's a matter of whether we're committed to doing it or not."
At some point, Amaro will be asked what personnel changes he plans to make as general manager. He admitted there will be some, but he said they will not matter unless the players currently on the roster change their approach at the plate.
It was an interesting first offseason pitch thrown by the general manager.
Contact staff writer Bob Brookover at email@example.com or @brookob on Twitter.