Amaro: 'These next 10 days are big' for Phillies

Amaro: 'These next 10 days are big' for Phillies

July 5, 2013, 7:45 pm
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The Phillies are 49-50 entering their three-game series with the St. Louis Cardinals. (AP)

The Phillies on Friday night began a 10-game homestand that will have repercussions on the remainder of this season and seasons to come.

A strong showing – we’re talking something like 8-2 – could convince management to hang on to talent for a possible second-half run.

A poor or even mediocre showing could push management to begin a purge that could lead to players such as Chase Utley, Jonathan Papelbon, Cliff Lee, Carlos Ruiz, Michael Young and others being shipped off to new teams.

“This homestand is very important,” general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said before Friday night’s game. “We’ve got to play well to stay in contention, clearly. I think we’ll know a lot more about this team after this homestand.”

Could the makeup of the team change if the Phillies don't have a good homestand?

“It could,” Amaro admitted. “It could. I hope we’re adding to this club rather than subtracting. That’s the goal, but as I always say and I’ve been saying, the players will dictate it.

“These next 10 days are big.”

It’s possible that Phillies management could take steps toward deciding its course for the remainder of the season even before the 10-day homestand is over.

On Tuesday, Amaro will convene a meeting of the team's major-league staff and his top baseball people. The decision to stay with it for 2013 or focus on the future could come out of that meeting. That would put great importance on the three-game series against the Atlanta Braves that began Friday night. The Braves entered the game leading the NL East by six games over second-place Washington and by 8 1/2 games over the third-place Phillies.

“We have it every year,” Amaro said of Tuesday’s meeting. “See where we are. Get some insight before the trade deadline, go over information.”

Amaro would not specify the record he needs to see on this homestand to keep the team together. When asked if 5-5 would cut it, he indicated that he’s looking at quality of play.

“It depends on how we get to 5-5, you know?” he said.

Though the trade deadline doesn’t arrive until 4 p.m. on July 31, Amaro said dialogue has picked up with other teams. He said he has had a number of conversations with potential trade partners in recent days. He’s initiated some of those conversations and fielded some calls. If the Phils look to add talent, it would probably come in the bullpen. Amaro said a number of his conversations have been with clubs interested in Phillies players.

No one is untouchable.

“Some guys are a lot less touchable than others,” he said. “But we’ll keep our eyes open, our ears open.”

Amaro has stated that he prefers to hang on to Lee. That could change if he’s blown away close to the deadline.

As for Utley, the homegrown fan favorite? Amaro said it would be “really tough” to trade the second baseman.

But he didn’t say no.

“Again, I see him as a Phillie for life,” Amaro said. “But I’m not the most stubborn human being on the planet.”