NEW YORK – Buyers? Sellers?
Ruben Amaro Jr. is still on the fence.
“It’s an important time for everybody in Major League Baseball trying to figure out what they’re going to do,” Amaro said before Sunday afternoon’s game against the Mets at Citi Field. “We’re one of them.
“If you ask me today, we’re going try to improve the club somehow. That could change, I guess. But that’s the thought process right now.”
The Phillies entered Sunday afternoon’s game at 49-49, 6 1/2 games back in the NL East. They were also 6 1/2 back in the NL wild card.
Amaro said he’s been exploring the market for outfield and bullpen help.
With Ben Revere out, the Phils would like to add an outfielder that can “support” John Mayberry Jr. in centerfield, Amaro said.
So far no dice.
“It’s pretty barren,” Amaro said. “But we’re looking and trying. We’ve had some conversations with clubs. Doing trades in this day and age is not easy.”
The Phillies are currently carrying three catchers instead of a fifth outfielder.
“We don’t have another outfielder that we think is better than the three catchers that we have,” Amaro said. “Pretty simple.”
That’s a sad commentary on the quality of outfielders in the Phillies’ system.
Amaro is also on the prowl for bullpen help. Specifically, the Phils would like to upgrade the eighth inning. The quest to add bullpen help is complicated by the fact that many other teams are looking for the same thing and demand outweighs supply.
“We’ve talked to clubs about trying to add some bullpen,” Amaro said. “Right now, the price tag is high. It’ll probably remain high. It’ll depend whether or not we see if there’s a fit for us. Many of the trades we’ve discussed, teams have asked for players that are on our major-league roster. It makes it difficult to subtract when we’re trying to add.”
One player that interests other clubs is third baseman Michael Young. Several American League clubs, including the Red Sox and Yankees, like the fact that he’s versatile and can be a designated hitter. If the Phils decide to sell, they will have a healthy market for Young. Carlos Ruiz, Jonathan Papelbon, Cliff Lee and Chase Utley would also be in demand, though Amaro has said he’d like to hang on to Utley and Lee.
Amaro will be protective of his minor-league prospects when considering trades. The Phils’ system is thin on blue-chippers, but it does have some coveted players. Amaro used the subject of the minor-league system as a springboard to rip those who rate minor-league systems.
“We have some guys that may be available,” Amaro said. “Clubs have asked about some guys that you don’t see on the top 25, top 50 lists of everyone who knows everything about baseball. I said that sarcastically, by the way, because I don’t think people know (crap) about it. You can print that if you’d like.
“There’s just a lot of those lists that come out that make me laugh. I don’t see anyone working for any major-league clubs that do that with those lists. It’s interesting.”
NEW YORK – Buyers? Sellers?