The Philadelphia Phillies currently sit in last-place in the N.L. East with an abysmal 47-61 record, and are on pace to miss the postseason for the third consecutive year. With evident decline in the team’s performance while aging by the day, it was clear around the baseball world that Phillies’ general manager, Ruben Amaro Jr., had to make moves before the trade deadline hit in order to quicken the rebuidling process that awaits the Phillies. Even with several trade rumors swriling around players such as Marlon Byrd, A.J. Burnett, Antonio Bastardo, Jonathan Papelbon, Cliff Lee, and Cole Hamels these past two weeks as the trade deadline was approaching, Amaro Jr. failed to close deals with interested teams by today’s deadline. Veterans Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins names did come up, but both said they would be hesistant to waive their no-trade clause.
With boatloads of money and vesting options wrapped around players the Phillies were looking to deal to interested teams, trade progress came to a screaching hault. The Kansas City Royals were interested in acquiring pitcher A.J. Burnett but did want to pick up his option for next season. Progress was made with the Seattle Mariners regarding Marlon Byrd, but once again talks diminished once Byrd revealed he would not waive his no-trade clause to Seattle unless they picked up his 2016 option. As it pertained to Cliff Lee, the Phillies told teams looking to land the left-hander that they would be willing to eat a hefty portion of Lee’s contract in order to move him, but talks once again died down due to the Phillies asking price of prospects in order to pay Lee’s contract and deal him at the same time. Relief pitcher Antonio Bastardo’s name was mentioned with rumors circulating around the Detroit Tigers, as was Jonathan Papelbon’s. Once the Tigers acquired Joakim Soria from the Texas Rangers, Bastardo and Papelbon rumors became silent as not much was said about those two as the trade deadline neared.
Cole Hamels is the Phillies player with the most value, and Amaro Jr. made it clear to teams who wanted Hamels that the Phillies would need three-to-four top prospects in return for the lefty to be traded. The Los Angeles Dodgers were the team that showed the most interest in Hamels, and had the prospects to complete a deal with Philadelphia. It was reported Amaro Jr. had offered Hamels to the Dodgers for their top three prospects (Corey Seager, Julio Urias, and Joc Pederson), but Los Angeles did not bite. With Hamels signing a long-term deal with the Phillies last season, it was expected for him to remain in Philadelphia unless the Phillies were blown away with prospects in a deal, which they were not.
Once the trade deadline hit, Ruben Amaro Jr. held a press conference where he mentioned the returns in trades from opposing teams not being good enough to make any moves. He also said that player contracts were not a factor in failing to complete a deal, and was astonished at teams not being more aggressive. In the end, Amaro Jr. believed that players being offered to the Phillies in return for current Phillies players would not help the franchise progress this year and years to follow. The press conference concluded with Amaro Jr. telling reporters that he expects to be active in August with a few solid starts from Cliff Lee reassuring his position.
Another trade deadline is in the books for the struggling Philadelphia Phillies, and no veterans have been moved. Should outraged Philly fans trust their current general manager to blow this team up and start the rebuilding process? After all, Amaro Jr. did tell closer Jonathan Papelbon that the Phillies will push towards placing a contender on the field next year which seems obvious for every Major League team. Although Amaro Jr. remains confident that he will be with the Phillies to make moves in the winter, it is in the Phillies best interest to hold off on moves for the remainder of the season and to part ways with Amaro Jr., bringing in a fresh mind as the team’s new general manager to help rebuild the team.
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