Photo: St. Pete Beach Photo
Ruben Amaro called in to the MLB Network’s “The Rundown” just now, and — are you ready? — half-admitted to making mistakes. PROGRESS.
Ruben was asked right off the bat how close the Phillies were to making a significant deal, which (no shit) he didn’t really answer. He said that he doesn’t like to talk about deals being close or almost done unless they are actually done, but said they did have “a lot of dialogue” and “we’re hopeful we’re going to continue to work through some things” and decided they were better off waiting for the off-season. Next, Ruben was asked if he, as he has been accused of doing, valued his players a little too high, especially since they’re really only worth what others are willing to offer for them. In a shocking instance of almost admitting he made a mistake and finally displaying an understanding of what market value means, said “that is probably true, beauty is kind of in the eye of the beholder.” He continued, saying that the Phils were looking for deals that would have improved the team in more of the long-term sense instead of the short-term, and the last year-and-a-half to two years have been “unacceptable.” It still amazes me that he literally just realized that weeks ago, but who am I to stand in the way of Ruben learning things? He also acknowledged that though he previously said he was surprised other teams weren’t aggressive in going after his players, this trade deadline was full of “bold, impressive moves.”
After talking about Lee for a brief period, Ruben was posed his final question:
Matt Yallof: I know that it’s been written and talked about, that there is a concern you keep your fans, but what is a timeline to think that this team will come back to becoming an elite team?
Ruben Amaro: You know we’re not sure, and we think that we’ve gotta make some pretty significant changes to do that. We haven’t put a timeline on it. I’d say we’d probably have to take a step or two back to move forward, but we’ll see what happens as this season wears on and moves forward. A lot of it will be determined by the productivity of the players that we have right now and then we’ll have to make the appropriate decisions either after the season or sometime during the course of these next two months.
Reading into Ruben’s tone of voice, it’s hard to tell what exactly he means by “a lot of it will be determined by the productivity of the players that we have right now.” It could mean how well they do for the rest of the year will determine if they stay… or that their play for the remainder of the season will determine how much the Phils can get for them. I can’t really tell what he means, but knowing Ruben, you’re probably better off just figuring out which one you think is worse and assuming that is what he meant.
Look, yesterday was rough. I totally understand if what transpired left you confused and angry and speechless. It’s okay. And then, after all of that, Cliff Lee went down. I can’t blame you if you just said “You know what? Fuck it. I’m done.” It’s understandable. But the baseball writers of Philadelphia (and America), luckily for us, had things to say. I imagine some of them had drafts written and ready to go just in case the Phils made zero moves, but then they had to go and rewrite them all to include Ruben’s now infamous “I’m not disappointed, more surprised there wasn’t more aggressive action from the other end,” comments. So, without further ado, let look at the skewering:
Randy Miller, of NJ.com:
Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. was up at the plate for a franchise-changing at-bat Thursday and …
He struck out.
Todd Zolecki had so many things to say he wrote two pieces. One for his blog, where he said:
“Not disappointed,” Amaro said. “More surprised that there wasn’t more aggressive action from the other end. We have some pretty good baseball players here.”
But there seemed to be a clear difference of opinion there. The Phillies look at a roster with Cliff Lee, Jonathan Papelbon, A.J. Burnett, Marlon Byrd, Antonio Bastardo and others and see players that can help contending teams. That might be true, but other teams looked at those players with age, injury or performance concerns often with high price tags attached to them.
He saved the good stuff for his chat with Anthony Gargano and Rob Ellis though, where he told the hosts: Continue reading
Right in line with the troubles his former team faced yesterday, Roy Halladay had little value in his Gulf Coast Domestic League.
I assume throwing the dog in is akin to Ruben Amaro using Chooch to sweeten offers: But he’s loyal, house-trained and sooooooo adorable… and you STILL won’t take Ryan Howard’s contract off our hands? How rude!
I thought for a second that maybe Roy was taking a swipe at Amaro’s inability to pull the trigger yesterday (and maybe he was), but I think he was just making fun of himself since this was his first trade deadline out of baseball. Kind of sad, actually.
Even though the trade deadline came and went without so much as Ruben Amaro rolling out of bed and checking his phone, the Phillies still could’ve moved Cliff Lee before the end of the season if he were to clear waivers (probable). In fact, you could argue that it was likely he would get dealt. But nope. Not anymore. Whatever remaining value he had is gone. Urinated away into the D.C. night.
He hurt himself in the third inning tonight. After throwing his first pitch to Denard Span, he walked off the mound, pointed toward his elbow, and basically took himself out of the game. Here, watch:
I’m not a doctor, but I play one on this blog, and that to me looks like the sort of reaction pitchers have before they need Tommy John surgery. It’s once again Lee’s flexor-pronator in his left elbow. Jim Salisbury explains:
The official word from the Phillies was that Lee suffered a recurrence of the flexor-pronator tendon strain that had sent him to the disabled list on May 20. Given that Lee missed two months with that injury and now has a similar problem, it’s not a stretch to believe that his season is over.
Lee, who turns 36 in August, is owed the remainder of $25 million for this season and is guaranteed $37.5 million after this season. How this injury impacts next season is unclear, but if Lee were to require surgery, he could miss time in 2015, as well.
That’s just great. Well done, Rube. Well done.
CONTINUE. The Phillies will CONTINUE to compete? The Phillies are on pace for a 70-win season. Four closers in the National League have more saves than Papelbon has save opportunities. And not only am I supposed to believe Ruben said these things to Papelbon, but I’m supposed to believe he was cool with it and totally didn’t flip his shit? That’s the second most ridiculous thing to happen with the Phillies today. The first, of course, is that nothing happened.
UPDATE: Ruben was also surprised people weren’t banging down his door for aging players with terrible contracts:
A comprehensive breakdown of the Phillies’ trade deadline transactions:
So, if you haven’t been staring at Twitter all day just begging for something to happen, you may not know that ESPN’s Jim Bowden done goofed. Here’s what happened: A false trade was reported by a fake account for another writer, Joel Sherman. A quick glance at the account that tweeted the original trade shows that it’s not real (number of tweets, followers, etc. are dead giveaways). Sure, fans and people who are staring at twitter all day hoping Ruben will do something may be fooled, but an ESPN baseball insider like Jim Bowden knows better. Or not. Jim Bowden didn’t know better. And then he panicked.
The original tweet said that Marlon Byrd has been traded to the Yankees for a player who does not actually exist in their farm system. Bowden saw this, and without crediting or retweeting, took the info (curiously dropped the Yankee prospect’s name), and reported it as fact. Others credited Bowden’s on the report (not naming names, Kyle). Of course, it wasn’t true, or even real. Sherman quickly denied the fake report. As we waited to see if Bowden would delete the tweet (reasonable) or just apologize for being wrong (more reasonable), he changed his avatar to one of those blank eggs. Then he changed his handle from @JimBowdenESPNxm to @JimBowdiv (taking all his followers with him) in a fit of what I can only assume was shaky-hands panic-typing. He still did not delete the tweet. Some enterprising troll then hopped on @JimBowdenESPNxm and, with only two Tweets, has already amassed nearly 500 followers. And now, Bowden has disappeared after briefly changing his name to Ralph:
Screen grab: Deadspin
He’s successfully done the internet equivalent of slinking from room to room, evading capture. He’s now as incommunicado as Ruben has been all day, so our fun is over again. And I know it’s all online, but I’d really find it hard to believe if you told me Bowden wasn’t hiding under his desk right now. In one hour, he went from active trade deadline reporter to a guy with two non-existent Twitter accounts. That’s impressive.