This is what our next few months is going to look like: Ruben Amaro Jr., always thinking one or two steps behind everyone else, told Ryan Howard about a week ago that the Phillies are probably better off without him. According to NJ.com, Ruben told Mike Missanelli:
“I told him that in our situation it would probably bode better for the organization not with him but without him. With that said if he’s with us, then we’ll work around him. We’ll hope he puts up the kind of numbers that we hope he can and we’ll see where it goes from there.”
According to the Boston Globe, at least one GM said he would “use Howard as a DH” if he was released and his contract eaten by the Phillies. At this point — not that trading him was ever really a reasonable option — that is probably the only way forward. Especially after you tell every reporter within earshot that you don’t want him around anymore.
But speaking of questionable GMing, reportedly — and unsurprisingly — the only thing getting in the way of a Hamels to the Red Sox deal is Ruben Amaro. As Peter Gammons said:
The Red Sox made it clear when they opened talks about Hamels that they will not deal Mookie Betts, who is clearly a regular and he who wills the vital role of leadoff hitter … They will also not trade catcher Blake Swihart. Now, Charlie Manuel saw more games in the Boston system than any other team and believes Garin Cecchini is a rising star and loves several others, but while Manuel is one of the best evaluators—particularly of hitters—in the game, his voice is not heard by Amaro. Nor is the voice of Pat Gillick, who would look at this list of the nine big trades for “ace” pitchers in the last seven years, thought out building to 2017 and gone immediately to outfielder Manuel Margot, third baseman Rafael Devers or shortstop Javier Guerra. Get one, the way the Cubs got Addison Russell, two pitchers in the Anthony Ranaudo generation and use the $100M to build internationally.
Gammons follows this up with a list of trades involving ace pitchers (three of which involve the Phillies) and shows how small their returns were. “The Phillies are on landfill with this Hamels deal,” Gammons says, and it’s one of Ruben’s making.