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The Phillies “will do whatever it takes” at the trade deadline

Jul 26, 2011, 12:30 PM EDT

Ruben Amaro Jr. AP

The Phillies payroll is at $175 million, and it’s bumping right up against the luxury tax threshold. In light of that, Phillies GM Ruben Amaro had said back in June that “you will not see a major move this year.”

That position would appear to be no longer operative.  Sure, Ruben Amaro is still mum because he’s a ninja, he’s a hoodie ninja,* but team president Dave Montgomery tells the Philly Inquirer that there aren’t any constraints:

“We do whatever it takes,” team president David Montgomery told The Inquirer. “If there’s an opportunity, we’ll make adjustments.”

That suggests to me — as it suggested to the article’s authors, Matt Gelb and Bob Brookover — that the Phillies aren’t terribly concerned about the luxury tax. At the very least, “we do whatever it takes” is much different than “you will not see a major move this year.”

*Downside of going to the movies this weekend: saw that Honda Civic SI commercial twice and can’t get that friggin’ song out of my head.

(thanks to Jonny5 for the link)

  1. spudchukar - Jul 26, 2011 at 12:47 PM

    I do not begrudge the Phillies for their spending. If the money is there, spend it. But I can guarantee you the following comments will be loaded with excuses as to how Phightens’ are different than the Yanks or Red Sox. And you aren’t.

    • Jonny 5 - Jul 26, 2011 at 12:48 PM

      They’re different. They don’t substitute a DH for a real baseball player. (TIC)

    • vintage1496 - Jul 26, 2011 at 12:53 PM

      DH’s aren’t as much of a substitute as they are an addition… unless David Ortiz starts pitching for the Red Sox.

      • Utley's Hair - Jul 26, 2011 at 1:03 PM

        Nope…they are an offensive ringer—sometimes, anyway, and more than likely, a defensive liability—used to substitute another specific player in the lineup.

    • kellyb9 - Jul 26, 2011 at 1:12 PM

      Really? okay, I’ll give you the Red Sox but the Yankees paid over 18 million dollars last year in luxury tax. You really can’t compare them to the Red Sox and the Phillies. Putting them in the same payroll bracket as anyone is a gross undersimplification. Not that I’m begrudging them for spending their money.

    • b7p19 - Jul 26, 2011 at 1:14 PM

      Agree 100%. Phillies fans seem to believe they are still the underdog lovable losers from years past, when in reality they are one of the big boys that can get what they want.

      Not saying it’s wrong to spend, i’m a Yankee defender. You should put as much money into the product as possible and thats what teams like NY BOS and PHI do. I just don’t like when Philly fans turn up their nose at NY fans when they are really very similar.

      • kellyb9 - Jul 26, 2011 at 1:24 PM

        I don’t disagree with you that a team should invest in their product. I’m just sick of Yankees fans acting like they’re just one of the boys. This year, their average salary is roughly 1 million dollars more than the next team (who happens to be the Red Sox). They also spent roughly 28 million dollars more this year on payroll than the next highest team (who happens to be the Phillies). The Yankees almost pay one Kansas City Royal teams full payroll more than the next highest team. I think that puts you in another pay bracket than the Red Sox and Phillies… thats just my opinion.

      • yardleyphils - Jul 26, 2011 at 1:32 PM

        the reason Phillies fans have a tough time shaking the underdog mentality is because our team has had brief runs of success with many years of futility in between. I’m 37 years old and for the vast majority of my years as a fan the bad outweighed the good. It’s still difficult to believe this franchise is what it is right now.

    • philly56 - Jul 26, 2011 at 1:23 PM

      Last time I checked the phillies didn’t own a television network, so there’s that.

      • Utley's Hair - Jul 26, 2011 at 1:26 PM

        ESPN?

      • wlschneider09 - Jul 26, 2011 at 3:14 PM

        Don’t be silly UH, the Phillies have to share ESPN with the Yankees and Red Sox.

    • heyblueyoustink - Jul 26, 2011 at 1:29 PM

      Spud, it’s far better than the days of not being able to sign JD Drew, and seeing Curtis Montadue Shilling and Scott Rolen leave for next to peanuts in compensation………

      We never should have been a small market team to begin with. Years of incompetent management is what led to the mindset that Greg Jeffries, Todd Zeile, and Omar Daal and the like would put this team in contention.

      And me personally, I don’t think they have to apologize for any of it……

      • spudchukar - Jul 26, 2011 at 1:37 PM

        Nor did I claim you should.

    • Utley's Hair - Jul 26, 2011 at 1:44 PM

      One major difference between the Phightins and the Yankers that is quite often overlooked—whether intentionally or not—the Phils won, and then spent—some of which was necessary to keep guys—to try to keep winning. The Yankers weren’t winning, spent, still weren’t winning, spent more, and kept spending until they did win. The Borg also set the standard for massive FA signings.

  2. halladaysbiceps - Jul 26, 2011 at 12:47 PM

    The Phillies are a beast that must be continually fed. Ruben will do whatever it takes to make the team that much better.

    • FC - Jul 26, 2011 at 1:15 PM

      “Feed me Ruben! FEED ME!”

  3. drmonkeyarmy - Jul 26, 2011 at 1:02 PM

    Coming from a Phillies fan: they are no different than the Red Sox. Nobody can be compared with the Yankees and their spending though. Nobody.

  4. bleedgreen - Jul 26, 2011 at 1:05 PM

    My guess is they’re trying to get an idea of where Oswalt is before doing any deals. If Oswalt looks healthy and ready to contribute, they’ll trade Worley. If he looks shaky, they keep Worley. I don’t think they want to go into September/October with Halladay/Lee/Hamels/Kendrick/???. They need a quality 4th start more than they need another bat, especially the way the middle relief has been. They still have Herndon there to blow games for them.

    • Utley's Hair - Jul 26, 2011 at 1:25 PM

      Um…why the hell not Halladay/Lee/Hamels/Worley? Keep the VW Bus—yeah, I’m still pushing that.

      • modogg42 - Jul 26, 2011 at 5:17 PM

        poor Joe Blanton :(

      • Utley's Hair - Jul 26, 2011 at 7:16 PM

        Take a look at his contract—he most assuredly is not poor. Besides, he’s most likely done for the rest of the season, or at least for a good while more.

    • paperlions - Jul 26, 2011 at 1:25 PM

      Worley, and even Oswalt, don’t matter for the Phils this year…other than the fact that if the pitch well they will help keep the bullpen rested. The Phillies are going to the post-season. In the playoffs, you only need 3 starters…and that will not include Worley or Oswalt.

      The bigger concern would be offensive depth….they have a lot of older position players that are having a difficult time staying healthy.

  5. cleverbob - Jul 26, 2011 at 1:14 PM

    Howard, Utley, and Rollins are the cornerstones – all home grown
    Hamels, Worley, Madson, Bastardo and Stutes are all major reasons why their pitching is improved – all home grown
    Can’t forget Chooch’s major contributions, or Dominic Brown’s continued growth – both home grown

    The Phillies are built on home grown talent that has been supplemented through trades/free agency. The Yanks/Sox, not so much.

    That’s my story and I’m sticking to it ;-)

    • FC - Jul 26, 2011 at 1:17 PM

      I’m a Phillies fan but you have to admit Halladay/Lee do more than “Supplement” the team.

      • cleverbob - Jul 26, 2011 at 1:20 PM

        Yea, they’re ok I guess

      • Utley's Hair - Jul 26, 2011 at 1:22 PM

        Who?

    • gammagammahey - Jul 26, 2011 at 1:32 PM

      The Yankees at their peak were built around a homegrown core of Jeter, Bernie, Mariano, Posada, Pettite, and others. They went away from that in the middle part of this decade but are coming back to that model moreso, though they’re obviously laden with some long-term FA signings that aren’t going anywhere. Really every team in MLB is realizing that high-priced FAs aren’t worth the giant long-term contracts that they were getting, especially now that steroids are gone and players are more likely to fade in their early-to-mid thirties like they did back in the ’80’s.

    • Andy Hoover - Jul 26, 2011 at 1:44 PM

      Before Lee, their biggest FA signing was Placido Polanco, and he was a former Phillie they acquired originally via the Scott Rolen trade. They traded for Halladay and Oswalt. And they would have never been in the running for Lee if they had not traded for him in 2009.

      They’ve given up a lot more than money to get the team they have. They’re not just throwing money around.

      Yes, the Phillies are spending, but they’ve built their team in a very comprehensive way.

  6. larryhockett - Jul 26, 2011 at 1:24 PM

    The Phillies and Red Sox operate simiarly. Strong scouting leads to strong farm systems that allow them to trade for expensive players other teams cannot afford. An occasional high-priced free agent completes the team.

    The Yankees are worlds apart from that model. Once upon a time, they produced homegrown talent and made shrewd free agent signings. Now they just throw as much money as possible out there and whatever sticks is where they wind up.

    • yardleyphils - Jul 26, 2011 at 1:29 PM

      from what Ruben keeps telling us though, the cupboard is almost bare, I don’t know what the farm systems for BOS or NYY look like

      • drmonkeyarmy - Jul 26, 2011 at 1:45 PM

        The Phillies have the 5th rated minor league organization. The cupboard is know where near bare. At the higher levels of the organization there is not much in terms of prospects (Aumont, DeFratus, Schwimmer…all relief arms) but the lower levels are stocked to the brims. They need to develop some middle infield prospects, though. They are loaded with outfielders and pitchers.

      • yardleyphils - Jul 26, 2011 at 1:56 PM

        What Ranking system has us 5th? Baseball America “Organization Talent Rankings” has us 10th. I believe that’s a rank of the whole minor league system talent level.

      • drmonkeyarmy - Jul 26, 2011 at 2:06 PM

        Keith Law has Phillies ranked 5th.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jul 26, 2011 at 3:54 PM

      The Yankees are worlds apart from that model. Once upon a time, they produced homegrown talent and made shrewd free agent signings. Now they just throw as much money as possible out there and whatever sticks is where they wind up.

      Count the number of non-pitchers* that were signed as a FA on the Yankees then realize how idiotic this line of thinking is.

  7. drmonkeyarmy - Jul 26, 2011 at 1:25 PM

    I hope the Phillies get Beltran. For awhile I was hoping for Pence, but Beltran is a far superior player. Furthermore, the asking price for Pence will be just too much. I say screw it and worry about finding another outfielder in the offseason. Honestly, if you don’t want to go with Beltran then Melky Cabrera should be the back up option. His numbers are similar to Pence’s and would be less expensive in terms of prospects and salary. Furthermore, Pence seems to benefit greatly from the ballpark in Houston. Not saying a similar benefit wouldn’t bestow him at CBP, it is just something to think about.

    • yardleyphils - Jul 26, 2011 at 1:28 PM

      Beltran in Phillies uni turns my stomach a little. I like the idea of Pence better, because he can stick around longer and extend the current run for a few more years. I think Beltran is purely a rental, but I don’t know his career all that well. Plus I think Pence has a deserved reputation as a character guy.

    • Utley's Hair - Jul 26, 2011 at 1:33 PM

      NO BELTRAN, PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!

      What happened to Kemp?

      • drmonkeyarmy - Jul 26, 2011 at 1:42 PM

        Kemp was always my unrealistic pipe dream. If they are truly in win now mode, Beltran is the guy. Yes he is a rental, but a rental with a ridiculous OPS that is significantly higher than Pence’s. Furthermore, Beltran has post season experience and will bring it in October. We don’t know about Pence. Beltran would also benefit from playing in the hitter friendly park that is CBP, where as Pence already sees that benefit and struggles on the road. Also, it is unlikely that they have to give any of their “elite” prospects for him while Pence would take a fortune. I was a big Pence guy too. Then I delved into the numbers and discovered that he is kind of over rated….at least for the pot of gold in prospects the Astros would ask for. I honestly believe that Brown will be better than Pence next season. Lastly, Pence would not be better suited than Victorino (who is from Hawaii) to hit behind Howard. Shane has a much higher OPS and has shown more power than Pence this year. As I said, if you don’t want to go with Beltran, then Melky is the way to go. The difference in production is not all that great, while the cost would be.

      • Utley's Hair - Jul 26, 2011 at 2:27 PM

        I don’t want to see a rental come in here, at the potential cost of the future. I will say that Joe Banner is probably seething and fuming, as he waits to be able to reclaim a majority of the sports yammering being thrown around here.

      • drmonkeyarmy - Jul 26, 2011 at 2:38 PM

        That’s the thing, I don’t think getting Beltran now would mortgage the future success of the team. I think trading for Pence would.

    • dwil12 - Jul 26, 2011 at 4:03 PM

      melky cabrera over pence thats just stupid. cabrera is having a good year but come on look at his whole career. and pence’s career numbers are very similar besides triples, avg, and OPS. still hes a career .281 hitter on the road. the major difference between his slugging and OPS is the fact that he has 21 career triples in houston and only 3 on the road. yes pence’s home/road splits are much different in this season alone but you also have to take into account that his home numbers this year are much higher than his career home numbers. i would like to see pence have a higher OBP but he is certainly a better option than cabrera. and when it comes to beltran from what they have been saying the mets have been asking for him how can you even say that by trading for him wouldnt be mortgaging the future and trading for pence would?

  8. spudchukar - Jul 26, 2011 at 1:35 PM

    Currently the Philthies payroll is 85% of the grossly different Yankees, a mere 15% difference. Coming in at #2 and ahead of the Red Sox the MLB Philadelphia payroll is 173 mil to the #1 Yanks 203 mil. Hardly a stark difference.

    • kellyb9 - Jul 26, 2011 at 4:06 PM

      I’ve never seen or heard anyone refer to 30 million as a small dollar difference. I guess it’s nice being a Yankees fan.

      • Utley's Hair - Jul 26, 2011 at 4:28 PM

        Potatohead is a Cards fan.

  9. phukyouk - Jul 26, 2011 at 1:51 PM

    gddamn u for getting that song stuck I’m my head. its worse than the 1-877kars4kids song on 880 apox on u.

    • Jonny 5 - Jul 26, 2011 at 2:18 PM

      This one was stuck in my head for YEARS!!! It was agony.

      • Utley's Hair - Jul 26, 2011 at 2:31 PM

        Thanks for that. No…really…thanks, Jonny.

      • Jonny 5 - Jul 26, 2011 at 2:35 PM

        I have no legs, I have no legs…. Ahhh, the movie that single handedly cut down on teenage boys getting laid by a significant amount, for years….. “kids”

      • Utley's Hair - Jul 26, 2011 at 2:44 PM

        That movie was effed up.

  10. drmonkeyarmy - Jul 26, 2011 at 6:35 PM

    Jayson Stark: “Ruben is trying to do something big. I think they will do something. What he wants to do might be something he can’t do.” Makes you wonder what RAJ has in mind.

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