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:
It was clear to Zolecki how upset many fans were and he believes that also was true for the team. “There’s a lot of frustrated people in the Phillies front office. They really thought that they were going to be able to get something done,” [Ed. Note: Am I supposed to feel anything but angry about this?] Zolecki said.
“Honestly guys, it didn’t even sound like they were close on anything. It did not sound like they were close on anything.”
David Murphy, who has been on a bit of a roll lately, went in on Ruben in the Daily News:
Amaro and team president David Montgomery would likely argue that bad luck has been a significant contributor to their franchise’s demise. But while it is true that those in the front office cannot predict specific injuries, they can predict that injuries in general will occur, and they can figure out the probability of them occurring, and they can factor such knowledge into their decision-making, and use it to limit their exposure to risk. They can avoid concentrating the bulk of their resources in players whose age increases their risk for injury. They can trade healthy players before they have a chance to injure themselves …
Too often, the Phillies seem to operate on sentiment alone. For 4 years, they have stumbled blindly into the future, operating on a move-to-move basis, with little coherent long-term strategy.
Ryan Lawrence, also of the Daily News:
If there was any team in baseball that screamed, “Seller!” it was the Phillies, with a bloated payroll, the third-highest in baseball on Opening Day, and a third straight October sitting out of the postseason upcoming. After losing 89 games a year ago, the Phillies are on pace to lose 90-plus games this season.
So there had to be at least some level of disappointment when Amaro – still on the phone talking through trade options in the last half hour before the deadline – was unable to consummate anything to improve the direction of his listless team.
The DN’s sister-paper ran this, from Matt Gelb:
When 4 p.m. passed without a Phillies transaction, it was not an indictment of Ruben Amaro Jr’s inability to trade. Instead, it served as yet another damning commentary on the flawed roster the general manager constructed.
He blamed the rest of Major League Baseball, although it was Amaro who created this abyss …
“The Phillies,” a rival executive said, demanded too much. “They wanted young players able to immediately contribute in the majors.”
CSN’s Jim Salisbury has the passage that easily got my Irish up the absolute most this morning, and I may have actually thrown my laptop out the window (sorry, Kyle) and am now working on my phone:
Amaro was pressed on the subject. Could he have been guilty overrating his own talent?
“No,” Amaro said.
“If anything,” he added, “rival teams are guilty of overrating their prospects.”
The Bucks Co. Courier Times‘ Kevin Cooney just made me feel bad for the lowly ticket manager:
A team can live with one or two poison-pill contracts. There are 10 of them in the Phillies’ clubhouse — and that speaks to the poor management decisions that are now threatening to turn off a generation that has embraced the club for the past decade.
The toughest job in the organization now belongs to any marketing person or ticket manager who somehow has to try to draw people in to watch a lifeless franchise headed by a general manager and front office that has lost every single shred of trust of the fan base.
Jeff Passan, speaking to 97.3 ESPN in South Jersey:
Speaking of missed opportunities, the entire Ruben Amaro era has turned into one. As Cleveland showed in getting rid of Justin Masterson and Asdrubal Cabrera, here is what you do with impending free agents: trade them. And when you have players of value, and your team is in last place in great need of a talent infusion, here is what you do likewise: trade them. Today, the Phillies still have Marlon Byrd and Kyle Kendrick and Jimmy Rollins and Antonio Bastardo, all of whom fall into the previous categories, not to mention Cole Hamels, one of baseball’s best pitchers. To blame other GMs for not wanting to give up more was the very definition of cluelessness from Amaro, whose poor read on value is evident by the disastrous contracts handed out under his watch and the mess of a team he fields on a daily basis.
Much national attention was paid to the teams who actually made trades yesterday. There were a bunch of them. If you weren’t crippled with anger and fear at the prospect of the remainder of this Phillies season, yesterday would have been kind of fun. But child bow-tie model Ken Rosenthal put the Phillies’ trade deadline heyday firmly in the past with only two lines:
This might be an over-generalization, but most AL teams give off a more assertive vibe than their NL counterparts. The Phillies once were an exception.
Buster Olney, always reliable for some kind of smart-ass comment that still seems harmless because look at his face, offered up the only common sense epitaph for the day:
Section 215 had the best Twitter reactions to Ruben’s no-show, and this sums up that one guy we all hate in Fantasy Sports:
Hardball Talk laid out the trade deadline’s winners and losers, and you’ll never guess whose picture they used:
Philadelphia Phillies: OK, so this one is terribly obvious. It could be seen coming, too. It at least seemed that Ruben Amaro Jr. would move Marlon Byrd and/or Antonio Bastardo, two guys who had some legitimate trade value without the Phillies having to eat any money. Nope. Nothing. Nada. It’s disappointing that Amaro couldn’t pull off some sort of a deal with so little to lose. On the plus side, most of the rest of the Phillies will clear waivers, making them available in August deals.
From Barstool, and the appropriately titled “Ruben Amaro And The Phillies Are In Last Place, Have No Farm System, And Made ZERO Moves At The Trade Deadline“:
Unreal. Absolutely, positively unreal. This last place team with bloated contracts and no minor league system desperately needed to do something, ANYTHING, to not improve the organization and they did the unthinkable. Nothing. Ruben Amaro Jr. sat on both his thumbs and was left with his dick in his hand. HOW CAN THIS HAPPEN? If anything, make a move solely to appease the fanbase that already hates everything about baseball in Philadelphia right now. They could’ve dumped Dom Brown for a limbless chimp and people would’ve said “Hey, at least they’re trying something.” But, nope. They did nothing and RAJ gives us a Golden Shower and claims it’s a drizzle.
CBS Sports gave the Phillies the “Worst performance by a seller” award, which is pretty obvious, saying:
The Phillies, of course, badly need to slough off veterans and rebuild their cored-out base of young talent. To that end, they did nothing on Thursday. Nothing.
To hear Amaro tell it, that was because contending GMs — contending GMs who on this day swung deals for David Price, Jon Lester, John Lackey, Asdrubal Cabrera and others — weren’t aggressive enough. I’m being charitable in the extreme when I say I find that assertion to be … implausible.
Ryan Gerstel at Phillies Nation got pretty sad about the whole thing:
The fact that not a single move was made today is unacceptable. Sure they can still make a move before the August 31st waiver deadline, but the time to make a big splash was today, and now that time is over. It is time to move on from this core group of players. RAJ and the front office needs to realize that this team’s winning days are over. Every fan realizes it, so why can’t they? There is no answer right now.
And Barry Petchesky at Deadspin showed that a little optimism was a bad thing going into last night’s game:
I don’t want to be overly simplistic here, but pretty much any move, even for the proverbial bag of balls, would have improved this club.
But there is still time. One side effect of all the big-money deals on staff is that August becomes prime trade season. For example, Cliff Lee is owed—at the bare minimum, before a potential vesting option—about $34 million. That kind of cash will scare most teams away from claiming him on waivers, making an August deal where the Phillies pick up some of his salary a realistic thing.
And then Lee went and injured himself 31 pitches into his start last night. It was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad trade deadline day for the Phils.
So what now? Well, our continuous, constant yelling to get Ruben fired didn’t work, so maybe a severe attendance drop at games will send the message. What’s that? That’s already happened and still nothing’s changed? Shit.