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How the Phillies and GM Ruben Amaro blew it over the winter

Jun 29, 2010, 6:00 PM EDT

OK, yeah, they should have kept Cliff Lee, too. But this is about the offense.
The Phillies have received excellent work from Roy Halladay, yet nearly halfway through 2010, they’re a mere six games over .500 and in third place in the NL East. The postseason is still very much within reach, yet the road just got a little more difficult Tuesday, with word that both Chase Utley and Placido Polanco would require DL stints.
Filling in at second and third will be Juan Castro, Greg Dobbs, Wilson Valdez and Brian Bocock.
No, it’s not a stellar group.
Castro – 597 career OPS, 492 in 113 AB in 2010
Dobbs – 723 career OPS, 465 in 66 AB in 2010
Valdez – 581 career OPS, 624 in 127 AB in 2010
Bocock – 414 career OPS, 470 in 212 AB in Triple-A in 2010
Of course, there’s not a team in baseball that can lose someone like Utley and merely shake it off. But the Phillies were especially ill-prepared for infield injuries this year and they’ve had the misfortune of having their second baseman, third baseman and shortstop all land on the disabled list.
GM Ruben Amaro Jr. deserves a lot of the blame for the ugly situation. Going into the winter, he had nine of his 13 position spots accounted for. Then he did this:
Nov. 24 – Signed Castro to a one-year, $750,000 contract with a club option for 2011
Dec. 1 – Signed Brian Schneider to a two-year, $2.75 million contract
Dec. 3 – Signed Polanco to a three-year, $18 million contract
Dec. 8 – Agreed with Ross Gload on a two-year, $2.6 million contract
And that was it. Barely a month after the World Series was in the books, the Phillies’ position roster was completely settled, barring injuries.
Amaro completely ignored the trends established the previous winter. He overspent to bring in players early and gave unnecessary multiyear deals to bench players.
Just as bad, he gave minor league free agents absolutely no reason to consider the Phillies. It should have been an attractive situation for veteran Triple-A players, given the Phillies’ status as a World Series contender and their lack of position player depth in the upper minors. But since there wasn’t even going to be a hint of competition for bench spots in spring training, the players went elsewhere.
Which is why they’re left with Valdez and Bocock.

  1. Ditto65 - Jun 29, 2010 at 10:10 PM

    HAHAHAHAHA! I thought this guy was a genious! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

  2. bbeer - Jun 30, 2010 at 12:11 AM

    Not as “genious” as you obviously.

  3. Chris Fiorentino - Jun 30, 2010 at 6:58 AM

    Keeping Cliff Lee would have made their lack of a viable bench a lot easier to swallow. It is bad enough we have to watch Greg Dobbs play 3rd base like he is floundering around in quicksand…but we have to do so behind KYLE FREAKING KENDRICK instead of Cliff Lee. Ugh.

  4. Ditto65 - Jun 30, 2010 at 7:14 AM

    Oooh – I forgot to check spelling. Shaem oan mie.

  5. Jonny5 - Jun 30, 2010 at 8:30 AM

    2 of their bench guys had a beautiful night, last night. Wilson Valdez, as well as Brian Schnieder have been looking quite good lately. I still don’t understand dumping Lee for almost worthless prospects, they had him for less than “Joe Blanton Money” for another season. I guess the Philly fans would rioted though if they had to trade him after another phenominal season.

  6. Benny Blanco - Jun 30, 2010 at 8:54 AM

    Valdez and Schneider huh? If they play as well for the Phils as they did for the Mets last season, you guys will be in great shape.

  7. BigPhil - Jun 30, 2010 at 9:07 AM

    Amaro seems more like Wade than Gillick so far. For better or for worse, the Phillies are a slow moving but loyal organization. We’re stuck with him for a very long time…

  8. Jonny5 - Jun 30, 2010 at 9:13 AM

    Ahh, I do sense the sarcasm Benny. Just remember they’re a big upgrade from what we had last season on the bench. And there is still a list of all stars, and mvp’s working along side of them.

  9. MG19 - Jun 30, 2010 at 9:14 AM

    this article has no presence, considering valdez has done everything he has to do to play well, he has a crazy arm from short, and hes hittin balls out nowadays.Amaro is a great general manager, i say valdez is a major upgrade over bruntlett and could definitely be compared to miguel cairo…so idk what this guy is saying.

  10. MG19 - Jun 30, 2010 at 9:16 AM

    this article has no presence, considering valdez has done everything he has to do to play well, he has a crazy arm from short, and hes hittin balls out nowadays.Amaro is a great general manager, i say valdez is a major upgrade over bruntlett and could definitely be compared to miguel cairo…so idk what this guy is saying.

  11. FlyEaglesFly - Jun 30, 2010 at 9:53 AM

    This article makes no sense. If there are veteran guys looking the join on with a club in spring training they aren’t good or aren’t willing to play for around a million a year. Signing Polanco was a great move. It was the one weak spot in their offense and they upgraded it without losing much, if anything, defensively. I didn’t like the Lee trade but I think it was more about money than a depleted farm system. Regardless, you can’t blame the GM when 2 all-star infielders go down the same day and their all-star SS misses most of the first half of the season. Not to mention Happ and Madson being out. If anything, only being 2.5 games out should scare the Braves and Mets because their only chance is multiple Phillies getting hurt and staying hurt until October. It’s not time to panic now. Amaro should look for a stop gap in the infield but focus on upgrading the the real problem…the pen.

  12. Benny Blanco - Jun 30, 2010 at 9:53 AM

    I didnt think Eric Bruntlett was so bad.

  13. MG19 - Jun 30, 2010 at 10:54 AM

    thank you.

  14. Grand Slam Single - Jun 30, 2010 at 12:49 PM

    Minor league free agents (excluding pitchers) signed by Amaro: Valdez, Cody Ransom, Dewayne Wise, Chris Duffy, Paul Hoover, Dane Sardinha, Willy Taveras and Andy Tracy.

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