Cliff Lee’s season — and possibly his career — is in jeopardy due to a torn flexor tendon in his left elbow, effectively eliminating him as a trade chip for the Phillies and GM Ruben Amaro Jr. The Philadelphia GM told ESPN’s Jayson Stark, however, that losing one of his two ace-caliber trade chips won’t change his approach to his healthy ace, Cole Hamels.
“No reason to change it,” said Amaro. “I don’t know what our ’stance’ on Cole is. Others have ’stances,’ I guess, for us. I guess other people must think we have a ’stance.’ Our ’stance’ is that we’re open-minded. And that hasn’t changed one bit.”
Amaro sees little comparison between the two pitchers, noting that in Lee, the team had a pitcher that was hurt in 2014 and is still hurt now. With Hamels, he finished the season healthy and is healthy now in camp. There’s no “lesson” to be learned from Lee’s situation, said Amaro, because any pitcher can get hurt at any time. “Is there a lesson learned from Yu Darvish?” Amaro rhetorically asked Stark. “All pitchers can get hurt. All players can get hurt. It can happen any time. That has nothing to do with the way we go about our business, (by) planning for a player to get hurt. That doesn’t make any sense.”
Amaro pointed out that other teams’ top pitchers are equally likely to get hurt, which could present new trade opportunities this summer. On whether or not he feels he should have trade Lee when Lee was healthy in 2012 or 2013, the GM said the Phillies were still trying to win at that point. Said Amaro: “I think (team president Pat Gillick) made a statement the other day that we maybe waited one year too long to go into rebuild mode. Maybe we did. But we’ve got to look forward now. We can’t do anything about it now.”
The quotes from Amaro likely shouldn’t come as a surprise, as the GM has already stated this spring that he expects Hamels to open the season with the Phillies, and he has repeatedly stated that he’s under no pressure from ownership to move Hamels.