Amaro still evaluating Phils, exploring options
GM not yet ready to say club will be seller with Trade Deadline approaching
MIAMI -- Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. insisted Tuesday that there is time to change his mind.
"These next 10 games leading into the All-Star break are going to tell us a lot about where we're going to go," Amaro said at Marlins Park.
But it would have to be one heck of a 10-game road trip through Miami, Pittsburgh and Milwaukee. The Phillies opened the trip 36-46 and last in the National League East, eight games out of first place. In most situations, a 6-4 road trip would be considered a success. But that would leave the Phils eight games under .500 with just 16 games remaining before the July 31 Trade Deadline.
So while Amaro did not post a "For Sale" sign Tuesday, he also spoke realistically about the organization's future.
"My mind is open to everything," Amaro said. "We'll listen to everything. We'll try to assess the most advantageous move we can make and we'll go from there."
But what kind of rebuild could it be? The Philadelphia 76ers have decided to completely start from scratch, using their top two picks in this year's NBA Draft to acquire players who are expected to contribute little, if at all, this season.
Amaro isn't inclined to play the long game.
"I can't blow this team up for five years and expect us to be [bad] for the next five or six years," he said. "I don't think that's the right way to go about our franchise. Our fans, our organization, I think we owe it to a lot of people. If we do have to go into a transition, it's going to be a shorter one than that.
"There's ways to do it. You have to make shrewd moves, make intelligent moves and try to continue to do that so that the drop-off isn't long term. So if we have to go a step backward for a year or two to move forward, then that's what we'll try to do."
The Phillies are where they are today in part because of misfires in talent evaluation. The Phils' Drafts over the past 10 years have not been very succesful, and the pro talent evaluation has had similar struggles.
If the time comes to trade, can the organization acquire the right talent in return?
"I will disagree with you only because whenever you try to make moves to acquire talent, it's always a crapshoot," Amaro said. "When you're looking to acquire talent to your club and you look way down the line for young talent … in terms of trades we've done in the past, we've done them for a reason. We've added certain levels of talent at certain areas for a reason.
"When we talk about the Cliff Lee trade, we decided it was important for us to add to our lower levels of the Minor Leagues because we moved so much lower level talent. And at the time, we had a lot of Major League talent that wasn't going to go anywhere. So we were viewing a lot of those moves as long-term moves. Some of those moves don't work. Some of those players don't pan out. It doesn't mean they weren't talented players. You just don't know whether they're going to be Major League players."
Amaro also indicated he won't feel pressured to pull the trigger on deals if he does not consider the compensation fair. If he can't trade players by July 31, he can trade them in the offseason.
"You can't ask a team to pretty-please trade with us," Amaro said. "We've had a ton of conversations. We're not the only team in baseball that may have players available. We're not the only team trying to improve our club. So I think a lot of teams are in limbo. There's a lot of time left to decide. Teams are still not sure what it is they need. On our side, we're looking for some offense, we're looking for some younger players, we're looking for some things that can help us short term and long term."
Amaro said he does not feel like he is on the hot seat.
"I'm not worried about my job," he said. "My job is to try to do what's best for the organization, short term and long term. I feel very good about our ability and our staff's ability to do that."
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.