Phillies need to spend their money more wisely

Ruben Amaro, general manager of the Philadelphia Phillies watches batting practice. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Ruben Amaro, general manager of the Philadelphia Phillies watches batting practice. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Posted: August 04, 2014

WASHINGTON - Ruben Amaro Jr. has never been afraid to spend and even after not making a deal by the non-waiver trade deadline for the second consecutive year, the Phillies general manager talked about getting this train wreck of a Phillies team back on track.

Amaro wisely wouldn't say he felt the Phillies will definitely be contenders next season, but that obviously is the goal.

The embattled general manager is encouraged by the deep pockets that president David Montgomery and the ownership group have and he feels it is one way to get a team that will almost assuredly miss the postseason for the third straight year, back to being competitive.

The Phillies have a 25-year contract with Comcast worth more than $2.5 billion. The major financial components of the deal will activate in 2016.

Having the financial resources is indeed important but it's not exactly a revelation when pointing out that the Phillies haven't spent their money particularly well.

Look at the lemon that nearly $190 million bought this year.

Amaro talked about how aggressive the Phillies will be in the international market. They recently held a private workout with Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo, who also had an open workout that most MLB teams attended.

In discussing the international market, Amaro said, "It may be the only way to really separate yourself as far as being able to acquire talent because the draft is getting leaner and leaner."

Again, it's good to be in the market, but only if the right players are identified.

How is that three-year, $12 million deal for Cuban righthander Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez working out?

The Phillies went in the international market signing Gonzalez as a potential No. 3 starter. He's currently a relief pitcher at triple-A Lehigh Valley, moved up Friday from double-A Reading, and he has in fact been producing better lately. When asked if he was disappointed that the Phillies didn't make a trade, Amaro said, "Not disappointed, more surprised that there wasn't more aggressive action from the other end. We have some pretty good baseball players here."

Now nobody expects him to say that he has bad players, but too many aren't as good as the contracts they are working under. In several cases, not even close.

Other than second baseman Chase Utley, is there another Phillies position player in the top five in the National League? Before suggesting Marlon Byrd and Jimmy Rollins, take a look at the other rightfielders and shortstops in the league.

Cole Hamels is an elite starting pitcher and Jonathan Papelbon, despite his reduced velocity and battles with the fans, has enjoyed a stellar season, albeit at an inflated price of $13 million. Rookie Ken Giles looks like a future closer, but there are problems throughout the staff.

With Cliff Lee now on the disabled list after suffering a reoccurrence of his elbow injury Thursday, it's easy to see how glaring the lack of starting pitching depth at the major and minor league level truly is.

Starting pitchers A.J. Burnett, Roberto Hernandez and Kyle Kendrick, who will be free agents after this season, entered this weekend with a combined 4.41 ERA.

The Phillies have the worst of two worlds - an aging major league team and not enough immediate suitable reinforcements in the minors. One reason they weren't able to make trades is that they didn't have an abundance of prospects to deal.

The Phillies don't skimp on expenses for their minor league system and certainly don't for the big league squad.

They simply have to use their resources better.

We're not breaking any new ground with this information, but the Phillies won't break their current downward trend until they become much better at spending their big-market money.


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