Ruben Amaro Jr. Rumors
The Phillies haven’t made any major additions to their team to this point in the offseason, but they continue working to address their biggest needs, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. told Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com. “We’ve had some good discussions, some fruitful discussions, with agents as well as other clubs,” Amaro said. “There are some situations where we’re waiting right now on someone to say ‘yes,’ and other situations where other teams are waiting for us to say ‘yes.’ It’s an interesting dynamic right now.” Here’s the latest on the Phillies, who are looking to contend again following an 81-81 season in 2012:
- Amaro still wants to add at least one outfielder and a veteran reliever for the eighth inning. The club could also pursue help at third base, though that could depend on the team’s search for outfielders.
- Reading between the lines, Salisbury suggests the Phillies have reached out to the Marlins to see if they’d trade Giancarlo Stanton in a follow up to Miami’s recent blockbuster trade with the Blue Jays. “We’ve made some inquiries about a lot of players that went in that trade, both to Toronto and to Miami,” the GM acknowledged. “But nothing imminent so far.”
- Amaro said he has not received any indication that former Phillies closer Ryan Madson is opposed to pitching in a setup role. Madson underwent Tommy John surgery before the 2012 season and is now a free agent.
- While B.J. Upton appears to be the Phillies’ top target, Amaro also mentioned free agents Angel Pagan, Michael Bourn and Shane Victorino as other potential center field options. “We can’t put all our resources in one area and not address others,” Amaro said. He added that the Phillies are more likely to add an outfielder or two in free agency than via trades.
- Earlier this month I previewed the Phillies’ offseason.
Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. confirmed to Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com that Charlie Manuel will return as the team’s manager in 2013. Manuel will remain in place next year and the sides will re-evaluate following the ’13 season. Amaro said he’s pleased with Manuel’s performance but acknowledged that the two disagree at times, as most GMs and managers do.
Here are some more highlights from Amaro’s Q&A with Salisbury:
- Amaro said Ryne Sandberg has been great as the organization’s Triple-A manager. The GM declined to call Sandberg the successor to Manuel, but said he’s worthy of consideration for MLB managerial jobs. Amaro added that he is hopeful Sandberg gets the chance to manage in the Major Leagues and said he would like to keep him in the organization.
- Chase Utley is an option at third base for the 2013 Phillies, Amaro said. The decision depends on Utley’s comfort level at the position. If the Phillies look outside of the organization for third base help they could seek a left-handed hitter to platoon with Kevin Frandsen.
- The Phillies aren’t impressed by the free agent options at the hot corner. “There are no third basemen out there,” Amaro said. “Very, very few. The options are very, very small. It’s no secret that that’s one of the things we were looking for at the deadline and the availability of third basemen was basically zero. And the ones that were available, the prices on them were enormous.”
- The Phillies may find their setup relievers from within the organization, Amaro said. Pitchers such as Antonio Bastardo, Phillippe Aumont, Justin De Fratus and Josh Lindblom are options. However, the Phillies were disappointed with Bastardo’s performance this year and he’s an unknown going forward.
Ryan Madson has agreed to sign with the Reds, but it wasn’t so long ago that he and the Phillies seemed close to a four-year, $44MM deal. It’s not clear what happened between Madson, agent Scott Boras, Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. and Phillies president David Montgomery, but Boras and Amaro have different accounts of the process. Boras says the sides agreed to a four-year, $44MM deal at which point the Phillies moved on.
"It's very simple," Boras told ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick. "We never rejected any offer from Philadelphia at four years and $44 million. We advised Philadelphia that we would agree to such a proposal. And Philadelphia decided upon hearing that to go in a different direction."
Amaro has a different account of what happened leading up to the Phillies’ deal with Jonathan Papelbon. He told Crasnick that Madson and the Phillies never agreed to a deal.
"There's no question we had discussions with Ryan about bringing him back,” Amaro said. “We had several discussions about it. But no agreement was made. If we had come to an agreement, we would have signed him.''
Amaro has said Montgomery knew where discussions between Madson and the Phillies stood all along. However, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com has heard that the sides were discussing details such as incentives when Amaro explained that he’d need to run the deal past Montgomery. Boras told Crasnick Madson had "numerous offers" on the table before agreeing to terms with Cincinnati.
On this date nine years ago, the Astros signed Richard Hidalgo to a four-year, $32MM contract. At the time, it was the third-richest contract in franchise history, behind only Jeff Bagwell's five-year, $85MM deal and Craig Biggio's four-year, $33MM deal. Hidalgo would go on to hit .266/.342/.475 with 87 home runs during the life of the deal, though he was dealt to the Mets mid-way through the 2004 season.
Here's a look at what's been written around the web...
- Camden Crazies looks at some potential replacements for Brian Roberts and his injured back.
- SPANdemonium presents a lineup of players 25-years-old or younger who should be locked up to long-term contracts.
- River Ave. Blues remembers when the Yankees pursued Brian Giles as a free agent.
- Capital Ave. Club quantitatively evaluates 16 of Braves' GM Frank Wren's most notable moves.
- Meanwhile, Long Drive evaluates Phillies' GM Ruben Amaro Jr. in a three-part series.
- Gear Up For Sports wonders is the Angels did enough this offseason.
- Around The Majors breaks down the first base trade market.
- The Dugout Report examines some Spring Training position battles.
If you have a suggestion for this feature, Mike can be reached here.
Brendan Bianowicz is back with a bunch of updates to the GM Trade History series. The Excel spreadsheets linked below cover each GM's trades, free agent signings, and top draft picks via tabs along the bottom. It's interesting to see each GM's most frequent trade partner - for example, Omar Minaya has matched up with Larry Beinfest and Mark Shapiro most often in his career.
- Washington Nationals - Jim Bowden and Mike Rizzo
- Philadelphia Phillies - Pat Gillick and Ruben Amaro Jr.
- New York Mets - Omar Minaya
- Florida Marlins - Larry Beinfest and Michael Hill
- Atlanta Braves - Frank Wren
Links for Thursday...
- ESPN's Keith Law has the latest on the battle between Andy Oliver and the NCAA over whether players can have agents and still be eligible for the draft.
- Yahoo's Gordon Edes writes about the ascension of Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. Edes notes that the Phils still do not have a full-time statistical analyst.
- Former D'Backs pitching coach Bryan Price landed a minor league consulting gig with the Phillies, according to MLB.com's Steve Gilbert.
- Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says it's "believed though not confirmed" that Tanner Scheppers has granted the Pirates permission to draft him again if they choose. The Pirates did not sign him last year due to health concerns, but now he's looking like a top-ten pick.
- A couple of powerful prospects got the call: Nolan Reimold with the Orioles and Mat Gamel with the Brewers. For the Brewers, Brad Nelson now has to decide whether to accept a Triple A assignment. The Orioles and Brewers are risking Super Two status with these call-ups, but only if the players are not sent back down.
According to MLB.com's Todd Zolecki, the Phillies have no immediate plans to add another bench player.
GM Ruben Amaro Jr. was asked if his club is still interested in Nomar Garciaparra. "If I were to handicap this thing," Amaro responded, "I would say less than 50 percent." It probably depends on the A's interest. Phillies officials said last week that they have no desire to enter a bidding war with another team.
Amaro also said talks are "still open" with the representatives for left-handers Joe Beimel and Will Ohman. "But nothing has changed there," added the general manager. Both relievers are holding out for bigger and better offers. As Zolecki writes,
Amaro said a few days ago that those relievers would have to accept a very modest salary to join the Phillies. That likely means a contract worth less than $1 million.
According to MLB.com's Todd Zolecki, the Phillies are looking at an Opening Day 25-man roster payroll of $132.5MM, a franchise record.
The Phils can expect an increase in merchandise and ticket sales after their 2008 World Series win, but the club might not have much of a budget for in-season acquisitions. Ryan Howard will command the highest salary from the Phillies in '09 at $15MM. Brett Myers is second at $12MM.
8:18pm: Philadelphia's search for a right-handed bat continues. Alden Gonzalez adds an update on MLB.com.
Names the Phillies have been linked to in that regard include Nomar Garciaparra, Ty Wigginton, Moises Alou, Rich Aurilia, Mark Grudzielanek and Kevin Millar, Gonzalez wrote.
Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. told Gonzalez that the addition does "not necessarily" need to be an infielder, though a little insurance while Pedro Feliz and Chase Utley recover from offseason surgeries wouldn't hurt.
"We're looking for a guy that has a bit of that versatility that's needed in the National League," Amaro told Gonzalez.
Jan. 23: Jim Salisbury of the Philadelphia Inquirer has the latest on the Phillies' pursuit of a right-handed bench bat. Names of interest: Nomar Garciaparra, Moises Alou, Mark Grudzielanek, Rich Aurilia, and Kevin Millar.
Salisbury says Garciaparra is the team's first choice, but Ruben Amaro Jr. remarked, "We can't be held hostage by Nomar, though he'd be a guy we'd like to bring in." Salisbury's source says the Phils are going "pretty hard" after Alou, who will attempt to re-establish his health in the World Baseball Classic. Two issues there: Alou's playing time expectations may be too high, and he reportedly prefers the AL where he can DH.