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Amaro’s Patience This Offseason Should Be Praised

Posted by Ryan Dinger, Wed, December 05, 2012 04:30 PM | Comments: 49
Analysis, Opinion, Posts

Think back to last offseason. Armed with a sizable budget, Phillies GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. couldn’t contain himself. He just had to spend. Jonathan Papelbon was the fortunate benefactor of Amaro’s generosity.

At the time, the deal was met with much criticism. Papelbon was, no doubt, a very talented closer with an established record of success. But the $50M deal Amaro gave him was the largest in guaranteed money ever given to a closer. Instead of waiting out the market, Amaro, in a fit of imprudence, had set it. As effective closers with a lesser pedigree signed much smaller deals, it became clear that the Papelbon deal was an overpay.

Now think back to April 2010, when an overzealous Amaro gave Ryan Howard a massive contract more than two years before he would hit the open market. Once again, instead of waiting out the market for a player, Amaro had established it.

What do these two deals have in common? Two things: First, they’re both viewed as bad contracts. Not necessarily because the players aren’t productive, but because the deals are so large. Secondly, and more importantly for this conversation, they both exemplify a lack of patience on Amaro’s end–something fans have criticized the GM for with regularity in the last few seasons.

This offseason, Amaro is seemingly learning from his mistakes. Here we are, in the middle of the Winter Meetings, and Amaro still hasn’t done a thing. Instead of haphazardly throwing money about, he’s being cautious in his spending, much like he did with Jimmy Rollins last year–a sensible contract that is recognized as one of the best under Amaro. He’s recognized that, although there is money to spend, he has a limited budget and more holes to fill this offseason than in any other during his tenure.

Amaro should be lauded for this type of shrewdness. Somehow people don’t see it that way. His inaction thus far has been met with as much, if not more, ire from the fanbase as the Papelbon and Howard deals were.

He’s damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t.

But I ask you: Which deals have been struck so far that the Phillies have missed out on? $75M for B.J. Upton? Four years for Angel Pagan? $39M for Shane Victorino? A $20M, three-year deal for the 37-year old Marco Scutaro? A two-year, $16M deal for Melky Cabrera? I know it’s an expensive market and the game is thriving, but these aren’t exactly moves I’m clamoring to make. While Eric Siedman argued earlier that the Upton and Pagan deals were fair–and they may be the fairest of the bunch–I don’t see the appeal in any of them, frankly. Let the other teams have these guys at those prices. Amaro clearly has needs, but he shouldn’t fill them at the expense of a bad contract, either in dollars or in length of commitment.

Are there some moves that have been made that leave me wondering? Sure. The Angels signing of Ryan Madson for $3.5M looked like a great fit for the Phillies. But who knows if Madson was willing to deal with Amaro after last offseason’s drama? I like the Rangers’ deal with Joakim Soria, but there are still bullpen options out there (Brian Wilson, for one). The trade for Wilton Lopez fell through and there seems to be some mystery surrounding it. But it is interesting that people are so up in arms about losing out on a guy most of us hadn’t heard of until last week. The Nationals acquisition of Denard Span seemed sensible, given that they only had to trade away one prospect. But, even though he’s a great defender, I’m not in love with Span’s bat. It’s not as if he is a game-changer. The Phils can still find a comparable piece to Span, either through trade or on the open market.

I think that’s really the point. There are still plenty of options out there. The Phils have been linked to both Josh Hamilton and Michael Bourn, plus many others. In the past, one of those guys would be signed by Amaro already. This year, he’s waiting for the price to fall or saying no thanks. He’s waiting for the right guy to come along at the right price.

This is unquestionably the philosophy with which he should operate. There are still two months left in this offseason and plenty of time for Amaro to find the right guys.

And, hey, look on the bright side: If you’re still not convinced that patience is the way to go, giving Hamilton a seven-year, $150M contract is still an option.

Avatar of Ryan Dinger

About Ryan Dinger

Ryan Dinger has written 125 articles on Phillies Nation.

Ryan stated writing for Phillies Nation in 2012.

 
 
  • Posts: 0 Ken Bland

    To your headline, here’s a quote from Kevin Goldstein, formerly of BaseballProspectus, now in the Stros front office, and widely respected amongst media and fans. “Of everything on MLBTR, it’s only 5 per cent of everything.” Not that he spoke specifically about Ruben, but it would stand to reason he’s got a lot going on. Whuich isn’t surprising, and holding steady before he gets the “right” move.

    Curt Schilling tweeted an hour ago that the Phils called the BoSox about Jacoby Ellsbury. Red Sox fan reaction to the Vic signing was that the acquisition is a sure sign Ellsbury is gone.
    Talented player, Health history sucks. Sort of reminds me of the career of Bill Buckner. Wonder how many people realize what a terrific player Buckner was at one time. Same for Bobby Valentine. Unfortunately, you don’t trade for past laurels.

    Naturally, Cliff’s name is mentioned in any prospective acquisition of Ellsbury. Stay tuned for actual details, rather than what is sifting down rumor alley.

     
  • Posts: 0 Double Trouble Del

    I follow the Sox closely and have ever since I was a kid. Ellsbury is the kind of player who will always be nagged by injury-kind of like Griffey Jr. Its a shame but the Phils really need to steer clear of what is a one year rental Ellsbury is a Boras client, who, according to Gammons will be looking for 18 million per when he hits the FA market next year.

     
  • Posts: 0 Double Trouble Del

    Speaking of Gammons, he just inferred on MLB network that the Phillies were essentially washed up. He brought mentioned Frandsen, Ruf , Brown and Mayberry as if they were a punchline to a joke. He like the rest of the baseball writers and commentators have developed serious NATITUDES!

     
    • Posts: 0 Jeff Dowder

      It’s hard to disagree with him. No proven outfielders, a black hole at 3B, serious injury concerns at 1B & 2B, and a starting catcher who will miss the first month of the season. This is looking like a 75 win team.

       
      • Posts: 0 brooks

        And still one of the best starting pitching staffs in all of baseball.

         
  • Posts: 0 Double Trouble Del

    Speaking of Gammons, he just inferred on MLB network that the Phillies were essentially washed up. He mentioned Frandsen, Ruf , Brown and Mayberry as if they were a punchline to a joke. He, like the rest of the baseball writers and commentators, has developed a serious NATITUDE! (Sorry for the typos!)

     
  • Posts: 0 Ken Bland

    Sorry I’m lste. I’d have posted sooner, but I was recovering from the shock of reading the Phils are 1 of 3 clubs interested in Raul Ibanez. Must be the grandson of the ex-Mariner and Royal that played for the Phils for a couple years. The article didn’t mention it, but I woiuld think Ruben sill try to stay soft on a committment and just offer a hort term deal. 3 years oughta do it. I’d write more, but I gotta run. Wanna get some research done and see if this would be a better sign than Don Demeter (righty bat…hmmm) or Chuck Klein (tremendous hitter).Toodles.

     
    • Posts: 0 hk

      If they come away from Nashville with Raul Ibanez and/or Michael Young, Ruben Amaro’s patience will not be praised.

       
      • Posts: 38 Ryan Dinger

        Avatar of Ryan Dinger

        I have to agree with you there. I wouldn’t like either of those guys in red pinstripes.

         
      • Posts: 0 Ken Bland

        Ya know, we need video clips around here.

        I wanna see video of hk at his keyboard having written that. I mean from reading it, you get the feeling he actually said that with a straight face.

        I mean how can anyone say that with a straight face. That’s the best line I’ve read all day, and I haven’t flipped on The Comedy Channel once.

        He won’t be praised. Leaving the door open for will he be criticized? Ya never ever know.

         
    • Posts: 0 hk

      Ken,

      Of course I was being facetious, but my great point is that patience is great if it ends up leading to one or more value transactions instead of desperate ones. On the other hand, Billy Beane jumped the gun and got a good and potentially very good, young CF in Chris Young in exchange for a utility infielder during or right after the World Series. I am not as concerned with the timing of the deals as I am with the value that the team gets from them.

       
      • Posts: 0 Ken Bland

        “I am not as concerned with the timing of the deals as I am with the value that the team gets from them.”

        That’s a terrific quote.

         
    • Posts: 0 chuck schreiber

      I hear Del Ennis wants to come back!!!

       
  • Posts: 0 Ken Bland

    And then Ryan Dinger steps up, acting like his arm was twisted, and says he’d HAVE to agree with hk’s controversial statement. Ah, amazing what people come up with when they HAVE to make a decision.

    Boy, if they could just sign Raul, this could be the most classic transaction in Phillies history. It’d almost be worth it.

     
    • Posts: 38 Ryan Dinger

      Avatar of Ryan Dinger

      I tend to to be a tad hyperbolic. Obviously I wouldn’t be forced to agree. But I do think signing Ibanez would be a mistake. Of course, I also don’t think it’s going to happen. So in the highly unlikely event that it does happen, yes I would agree it would be a bad move.

       
      • Posts: 0 Ken Bland

        Like everyone else, and it’s not actually everyone, but literally close, I love Raaaauuuul. I mean how can you not? And I don’t care what kind of propaganda spin anyone puts on it, the possibility is so comical, how can anyone comment on it seriously (and that’s not to say either of you actually did, I took the liberty of commenting as though you guys both did because you both provided pretty straightforward text. Even if they put the spin of lefty bat off the bench, which is so easy to find (now batting….John Bowker would fire ‘em up in Cheltenham), here’s a club perceived as more desparate for OF help than the worst team in any Little League, and they would come home from the meetings with Raaaaauuuuullll? What a joke. So I’m sorry, I can’t take any comment about it seriously.

        Ya gotta do better than a great locker room influence to get people fired up. Even the doing nothing would be more tolerable.

         
  • Posts: 0 Psu joe

    I really don’t get why people hate on Frandsen. At worst he’s a solid utility guy and RH bat off the bench. At best he’s a .300, .350 obp guy with an average glove.

    Using the secon half of the season as a barometer it’s a 95+ win team. A setup man gets this team 10+ wins right there.

     
    • Posts: 0 Devin

      He’s not a .300/.350 guy. His BABIP was not sustainable. He’d be lucky to be a career .250 guy and it’s not like he’s raking in walks.

       
  • Posts: 0 TheDipsy

    I always jumped on Amaro for signing the first guy in free agency every year and always paying too much money for him. Shane for 3/39m? Ugh. Perhaps Amaro believes its smarted to trade for the players you need this year. God knows our minor league squads are restocked a bit and Worley, Kendrick, and Cloyd all have some value. I think we end up with Upton and we trade away a lot of young guys to get him. Thats OK. He’s perfect for us. Is anybody as flabbergasted with the Paul Hagen thing as I am? Slow year, I guess.

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 556 Bruce

    Avatar of Bruce

    I’m reminded of the often quoted line.. “He who hesitates is lost “. I’m not so sure that Amaro’s “patience” is a virtue to admire when you see some key signings that will obviously help some ballclubs while Amaro procrastinates. The few good players remaining in the free agency are dwindling. Amaro may now have to consider trades and sacrificing some of “upper level” prospects in the Phillies farm system.

    I’m glad for the “Flyin’ Hawaiian” in getting a great contract with the Bosox. The club obviously think Victorino is worth it and I do too. Victorino is a sparkplug with speed and gold glove defensive ability. Wish you great success Victorino. And Amaro continues to fiddle. ;-)

     
  • Posts: 0 Bart Shart

    I am anxious to see something substantial happen. Frankly, as a Phils fan, I also feel that they are largely washed up and need an injection of youth. How far we can go on the shoulders of injury prone stars in their 30′s like Utley and Howard, and depend on the arms of Lee and Halladay, the bat and glove of Jimmy Rollins and Carlos Ruiz, makes me wonder. Then we have the unproven players like Fransden, Brown, Mayberry, Ruf, and Galvis. Do we really have a contender and if we do, for how long. Then somebody says bring back Ibanez….what the HELL?

     
    • Posts: 0 brooks

      2 perhaps 3 years at tops for our current ‘core’ offensive players to be at or close to the top of their games. By the time a player reaches 35 or 36, we should be expecting a downward slide. That being said, I look forward to a productive season this year. With hopes on high for Ruf, Doc to come back, Howard, Utley and Rollins to boost the Phils and mostly that Lee can give us another ‘please sir, can I have another?’ and the continuing epic novel that Cole is writing in Philadelphia.
      And Bart, I am confident in Ruben making an acquisition that will amaze and astonish (in a good way!).

       
      • Posts: 1048 EricL

        Avatar of EricL

        You should be expecting a downward slide WELL before 35, brooksie.

        Most research has players peaking in their mid to late 20s. It varies slightly for different kinds of players (speed guys vs power guys, for example) but the general tend is to peak around 26-29 and decline from there.

         
  • Posts: 0 Double Trouble Del

    They don’t have to make any move right now. Plenty of scenarios can develop between now and the beginning of Spring Training. Needs arise for different teams, particularly teams that will need pitching help. There is simply no need to jump on a Michael Bourn or a Dexter Fowler just to make a move.

    As for Justin Upton, its not going to happen, The Phils don’t have enough to get him period. What should worry the fans is the prospect of the Braves picking up Upton. They DO have minor league position players to make it happen.

     
  • Posts: 2896 Chuck A.

    Avatar of Chuck A.

    Jeff Dowder (above) says this is a 75 win team. I have to disagree. While Utley and Howard may have health concerns I do feel that if they can each play 140 or so games each that that is gonna have a HUGE impact on the lineup right from the start. Play at 80% of what they were and it’s fine. I’m calling it a 90 win season and one of the two Wild Card spots.

    Dipsy – Paul Hagen sucks.

     
  • Posts: 0 Psu joe

    It seems like 7 or 8 teams want Scheirholtz. He should’ve been tendered IMO. He has value.

     
    • Posts: 0 George

      Yes, he has value. Any player who can be gotten without having to trade away someone has value. Had he been tendered a contract, then traded, the Phils would have been lucky to get a low end minor leaguer in exchange. $2.5 million players just don’t bring much back.

       
  • Posts: 0 Bart Shart

    The big question is this: Do the Phillies want to win the NL East, or do they just want to be contenders. I see them right now as third in the NL East — behind Washington and Atlanta and OUT of the playoffs. I want better than this. They just do not have the offensive horses right now. This team desperately needs offfense– a leadoff hitter and a powerful right-handed bat. Defensively, they need a quality centerfielder, third baseman and added depth for the corner infield positions.

    Like it or not, but John Mayberry, Jr. is a valuable utility chip because he has power from the right side, can play all outfield positions as well as first base. Fransden and Galvis are also valuable for their ability to play multiple infield positions. BUT, utility players won’t get us into the playoffs.

     
  • Posts: 5401 Lefty

    Avatar of Lefty

    @Ryan, I agree with your posting. Sometimes good things come to those that wait, or in this case maybe those that didn’t wait, but bid low so they could either catch a bargain, or wait it out.

     
  • Posts: 5401 Lefty

    Avatar of Lefty
     
  • Posts: 0 Psu joe

    Blanton 2 years $15 million to Angels. Wow.

     
    • Posts: 0 Ken Bland

      Without a doubt, wow checks in as the most intelligent reaction this signing wiill render. A year ago, last day of the winter meetings, the Halos sign Albert and CJ, and they celebrate the anniversary with inking Sterling Joe. Leon Wagner just rolled over in his grave. Actually, he might still be alive, so scratch that. This weill give Joe a chance to compete against a different field for CY honors, 2013 version.

      But I will never ever forget the CG shutout he tossed in Atlanta the day game after Doc couldn’t hold a 6-0 lead, and the Phils lost, like 14-13.

       
  • Posts: 0 Psu joe

    What would it take to get Bourjos? Wiggington? Serious replies only, lol.

     
    • Posts: 0 Double Trouble Del

      Wiggy could be available on a two year 7 million dollar deal. Bourjos would take two of the following three Ruf, Biddle or Collier.

       
  • Posts: 0 Ken Bland

    While I find myself quite clearly in the patient camp, it’s really interesting, or at least my sense is, on the difference in views about the Phils off season. Some people are genuinely pissed and dreading the results of a lack of action accenting the weaknesses that seem pretty evident in the roster. The patient camp feels like it’s really, really patient. I guess Eric Seidman’s post puts him pretty much in the middle. I mean I’ve observed fan reactions for a long, long time, but it’s just weird how polar it is. And while I think the folks panicing are overreacting, you really can’t sit here and say they are unequivocally wrong. But I’m quite sure actions will be taken to reduce the liklihood of a dismal 2013. Then again, dismall carries a subjective connotation, but that’s another story for another time.

     
  • Posts: 0 Jaron B

    Is this a counter to Eric’s post?

     
  • Posts: 0 Psu joe

    The only signed FA CF or one traded for at the price paid is Span and I wouldn’t trade Biddle for him.

     
  • Posts: 0 LakotaKeya

    What do you guys think about a possible trade for Giancarlo Stanton? Miami already traded Escobar so they maybe willing to give him up for a Worley, Valle and/or Brown with some young arms. If we have to give up our top talent, we need to obtain top talent. At 23 Stanton still has room for growth and is already an experienced RH power bat. C’mon Rube make it happen!!

     
    • Posts: 0 schmenkman

      Not gonna happen:
      - he’s their only draw
      - he’s already a very good/great player who can help them win games
      - he’s cheap, so no need to dump his salary
      - they wouldn’t trade him within the division
      - the Phillies wouldn’t compete well in offering the best package of young talent in exchange

       
      • Posts: 0 schmenkman

        and,
        - he just turned 23 last month, and will probably get even better
        - they can build a team around him

         
      • Posts: 0 Bill

        Agreed, they have him on the cheap and they consider him there future. I would love to see him in Phillies red but its not going to happen.

        http://www.mtrphilly.com

         
  • Posts: 0 Bill

    Sorry, patience is NOT a virtue in this case. RAJ needs to get four maybe 5 pieces here. They need at least two outfielders, a REAL third baseman, and at least one bullpen arm. I agree with Jeff’c comment earlier. As it stands this is a 75 maybe 80 win team.

    http://www.mtrphilly.com

     
    • Posts: 0 George

      Where is that “REAL third baseman?” You can’t sign what isn’t there.

       
  • Posts: 0 gmopro

    Does it matter that we never heard of Wilton Lopez or does it matter that his numbers were outstanding. No one hears of middle inning relievers. I just hope we made the right move here and his elbow is bad. Do I care if a player has a big name?? Nope. I care about results.

     
  • Posts: 0 gmopro

    what’s up with this site? when I tab over , it jumps to the top of the page. Weird.

     
  • Posts: 2 LakotaKeya

    Avatar of LakotaKeya

    What do you guys think about RAJ pulling off a Giancarlo Stanton trade? Miami already shipped Escobar over to the Rays, and we have some decent talent to dangle. Instead of over paying for Bourne/Hamilton, or trading for a rent a player (Ellsbury), get a RH power bat we can begin to reshape the next core group of players around (Joesph/Asche/Gillies/Quinn). Only 23 and he is already a great player.

     
    • Posts: 0 Devin

      Miami won’t trade Stanton within the division. Hell, they won’t trade him within the National League, probably.

       
  • Posts: 2 LakotaKeya

    Avatar of LakotaKeya

    Sorry guys the first post said error so I reposted :D … He was already asking for a trade, wishful thinking!!

     
  • Posts: 0 George

    Just a reminder:

    The season starts in April. That leaves the rest of December (26 days) and all of January, February, and March, to improve the team. Not everything has to happen immediately, and sometimes jumping the gun is a big mistake. I personally would not have signed ANY of the free agent center fielders for what they got, and some of the other signings look equally bad, or maybe worse.

     
 
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