The Time Is Now For Ruben Amaro and the Phillies to Start Rebuilding

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It’s time to part ways with Utley and other core players (via PhilliesNation)

Ruben Amaro faces a question that will affect the Phillies franchise for years to come. The question that looms over the Phillies general manager is whether he should keep his team’s old core players or bring in cheaper, younger players. The current core of Jimmy Rollins, Jonathon Papelbon, Cliff Lee, Chase Utley, and Ryan Howard are all over 32 years old and cost the Phillies a combined $64 million.

Along with the high payroll, these players have not performed up to expectations. Howard has been either injured or a strikeout machine for the past two seasons. In 35 percent of his at-bats over the past two seasons he has been rung up. To put that in perspective, Joey Votto, the All-Star first baseman for the Reds, has struck out only 18 percent of the times he has stepped up to the plate in the past two seasons.

Papelbon has blown six saves this season and seems to have lost his fastball, which has set him apart from other closers in the past. Rollins is batting a measley .250. Lastly, both Utley and Lee are performing well, but both are 34 years old and most likely only have a few more productive years remaining. Amaro decided this year not trade to these players and try to win the NL East instead of rebuilding the aging team. Unfortunately, the core players who used to dominate the division have underperformed, leaving the team struggling just to reach the .500 mark.

The more sensible choice for Amaro is to trade all of these core players while they still have trade value. The great general manager Branch Rickey, who was the man to create the farm system and sign Jackie Robinson, once said “Trade a player a year too early rather than a year too late.” This is what Ruben must do by trading these players; he would get rid of the core players’ massive contracts while simultaneously revamping the Phillies’ depleted farm system by gaining top prospects.

It’s time for the Phillies to start leaning on their prospects like Dom Brown (via ProSportsBlogging)

Over the past six years, the Phillies have traded their prospects in order to find key players and fill select holes in their lineup, allowing them team to compete for the playoffs. Trades for players like Hunter Pence, Roy Holladay, and Cliff Lee are some of the major players the Phillies gave the talent in their farm system up for. Now, in order for the Phillies to get productive young players, they must reverse their mentality and focus on rebuilding their farm system by trading their stars for prospects.

If Ruben decides to rebuild the team by trading away his core players, the Phillies will eventually have a brighter future. They currently have a few talented players that they can build around like Domonic Brown, Darin Ruf, Cody Asche, Ethan Martin, Adam Morgan, Jesse Biddle, and Jonathan Pettibone. More importantly, if their big name players are traded then there will be a boatload of money available for potentially signing a couple key free agents too.

The Boston Red Sox have taken this approach. A large-market team like the Phillies, the Sox had a very poor season in 2012 winning only 69 games. The team then fired manager Bobby Valentine and traded big contract players in a deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Boston traded Carl Crawford, Nick Punto, Adrian Gonzalez, and Josh Beckett for various prospects. They also traded Kevin Youkilis to the White Sox and signed new faces Mike Napoli and Shane Victorino. Now, the team is leading the American League East. The Red Sox’s situation in 2012 reminds me of the Phillies’ current situation. After the Red Sox fired their manager just like the Phillies fired Charlie Manuel, the team, traded their old, expensive core players and added some new fresh faces; the front office has now turned their team around.

I would like to see the same approach and outcome for the Phillies in 2014.


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Categories: Editorial, Phillies

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One Comment on “The Time Is Now For Ruben Amaro and the Phillies to Start Rebuilding”

  1. Bobo
    August 24, 2013 at 10:28 am #

    Your analysis is correct, but the underlying problem is contained in your title. Saying it’s time for Ruben Amaro to rebuild is like saying it’s time for the fox to fix the broken chicken coop. The ability to rebuild is not within his powers. The Phillies MUST get rid of him before they can begin to improve.

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