August 1, 2012 |
SOMEONE ASKED during an online chat on Monday whether Pat Gillick was still involved in the Phillies' decision making process. And I thought, "Oh yeah, whatever happened to that guy?" Gillick is still listed as a Phillies advisor, but the days of Ruben Amaro Jr. referencing him at major press conferences — like the one announcing the 6-year, $144 million contract extension for Cole Hamels — has passed. During extended question-and-answer sessions after the formal one from the podium that day, not once did any of the principals involved reference the former Phillies general manager.
July 30, 2012
ATLANTA - It's July 29, and if history repeats itself for a fourth straight season Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. will make a significant trade at some point Sunday. Three years ago, he added Cliff Lee on this date. Two years ago, it was Roy Oswalt. Last summer, Hunter Pence came aboard, and the Phillies lapped the field on the way to their fifth straight National League East title. "I might trade four guys," Amaro said jokingly before Saturday night's 2-1 loss to the Atlanta Braves dimmed the Phillies' slim playoff hopes a little bit more.
July 28, 2012 |
ATLANTA - It is dangerous to parse a 162-game season into a three-game stretch in late July, but these Phillies occupy a tenuous position between contending and irrelevancy, with answers required by Tuesday. So general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. arrived here, accompanied by three of his assistants, and it was clear this weekend is no ordinary one. "These three games are important, yeah," Amaro said. "How determinant they are about how we go about our business from here on in, I don't know yet. Again, it's kind of a fluid situation.
July 20, 2012 |
LOS ANGELES -- It was a fine road trip. Any time you go to the West Coast and win more games than you lose, you've done your job. "We won two series," pitcher Cliff Lee said after the Phillies' jarring extra-inning loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday. "That's what you got to do to catch back up. You've got to win one series at a time and we've done that. It would have been nice if we had won today and got the sweep, but we didn't. We still won the series and it's definitely a positive.
July 15, 2012 |
DENVER - After meeting behind closed doors in the visitors clubhouse with manager Charlie Manuel and the coaching staff, Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. conceded that this six-game road trip to begin the second half was significant. He would not say, however, that this trip will decide whether the Phillies are buyers or sellers at the fast-approaching July 31 trade deadline. "These next several games are important to us, no question," Amaro said before the Phillies played the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field.
July 11, 2012 |
FROM DOMINANCE to irrelevance in 9 months; so have the Phillies fallen. Charlie Manuel guided the club to its best days and, now, to some of its worst. Andy Reid should send him a basket of Reid's favorite crullers, because Chuck and Co. have replaced the 8-8 Eagles as the city's biggest sports disappointment in decades. Maybe ever. According to the general manager's logic, Manuel will not be fired for it. Not after winning 102 games last season and hoping to hit .500 this year.
July 3, 2012 |
MIAMI - After yet another Phillies loss, Cole Hamels relished the chance to talk about a positive development - his selection to this year's All-Star Game. He called it "a tremendous honor" and "something special. " That was before the 28-year-old lefthander considered the idea of fending off trade-rumor questions in Kansas City from hordes of national reporters. "Is that all they're going to do?" Hamels asked. Well, probably. Rumors of a Phillies fire sale intensified Sunday with national reports saying general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. was calling teams to gauge interest in possible trade chips such as Hamels, Cliff Lee, Hunter Pence, Shane Victorino, and Joe Blanton.
June 30, 2012
July 29 has always been the key trade deadline date for Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. That's when he acquired Cliff Lee from Cleveland in 2009, Roy Oswalt from Houston in 2010 and Hunter Pence from Houston in 2011. Amaro does not have to make a move nearly that big this summer, but he cannot wait nearly as long to do what must be done. The Phillies have a broken-down bullpen, and if the general manager waits another month for outside help, it's going to be too late, regardless of when Ryan Howard and Roy Halladay return from the disabled list.
June 27, 2012 |
THE UPSIDE to all of this — the blown leads, the late-inning meltdowns, the suffocating level of frustration in the clubhouse — can be found in a moment like the one that occurred in the eighth inning on Monday night. Rookie lefthander Jake Diekman had just thrown six straight fastballs that missed the zone, the first four resulting in his 10th walk of the season, the next two prompting a restless murmuring from the crowd at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies held a five-run lead that would have seemed comfortable if not for their recent track record in eighth and ninth innings.
June 18, 2012
CLEARWATER, Fla. - Three of your four highest-paid players are on the disabled list and the only one who is not - Cliff Lee - has yet to win a game. Your team has been in last place for 43 straight days, the franchise's most prolonged stretch in the basement since 2002, which, coincidentally, is the last season the team finished below .500. For a brief period last week, your team slipped to 10 games out of first place and is still nine out in the middle of June. Welcome to Ruben Amaro Jr.'s world.