Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. fielded a bunch of questions from reporters late Friday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park.
Amaro talked about the approaching trade deadline, the possibility of rebuilding, his team’s chances of becoming a contender in the NL East and his own job status. He said the team would be willing to eat money on some contracts if it made trades. He talked about the possibility of trading Chase Utley or Jimmy Rollins and said that basically there are no untouchables.
Here is the best of the interview, in Q & A form:
Q: Where are you in terms of making a decision on whether to rebuild/retool or keep the team together?
A: We think about it every day. We assess every day, and we’re preparing for how to do those things. It’s not like we’re not preparing. If we have to go backwards to go forward, then we’re prepared to do that, too.
Q: How are you preparing?
A: Our scouts, they will be out seeing as many teams as possible. We’re making sure we know which players we like the most in certain organizations and preparing for that. At the same time, we’re continuing to assess what our needs are. If we have to go through the transition, we’re preparing and evaluating what our needs are.
Q: Does the fact that nobody is running away in the division make things more difficult for you in deciding whether to deal players or hang on?
A: As I said before, there is not any team out there without any warts. These next several weeks are important to us because we will find out a lot more about where we stand. And not just evaluating the rest of the league and our club, but evaluating what possibilities we have.
Q: Is there a magic date or number where you will decide to trade off players?
A: No there isn’t.
Q: How much do the contracts on the books inhibit things for you?
A: Not that much because we have taken money back on deals before and will do it again if we have to.
Q: Are you already getting calls from rival teams about your guys?
A: We have had discussions with a lot of teams about things.
Q: Do teams like your guys?
A: Yes. Wouldn’t you? We have some pretty good players.
Q: Can Cliff Lee get back in time where he can be appealing to contending teams if you go that direction?
A: I think so. Cliff threw again today and it went well which is good. Hopefully he can start going on a straight line.
Q: Do you have any untouchables?
A: I can’t say there are any untouchables. But some guys are less touchable than others, so to speak.
Q: Where is your confidence/faith level that this team can put together a run and can get into this thing when you haven’t won more than three games in a row in a year?
A: It hasn’t been great in that regard, no question. Our recent history is not great. We have to see what happens over the next couple of weeks because we got [Cody] Asche coming back, we are waiting on Cliff to jump back into this thing (in early July), we have our bullpen starting to do some things that we hoped they would do earlier in the year. You are seeing some of that growth now, finally, I think.
What is my confidence level? I believe in our players, but if they keep on playing at the same rate they were playing … if they play the way they played in the last 3-4 games, that would be different. But if they keep playing at the rate they were playing earlier, last week and couple of weeks prior, then my confidence would be low, but we will see. They have ability and it is a matter whether the guys put something more significant together.
Q: Could Jimmy Rollins or Chase Utley be trade possibilities?
A: It's hard to speculate because they are 10-and-5 guys. So, if someone comes and says we would like to have Jimmy Rollins or Chase Utley or whatever player out there, I have to do my job and listen, explore. But the reality of it is it could all be a waste of time because they might not want to go anywhere, and at that time we might not want them to go anywhere either. A lot of it depends on what we want to do, but most of it depends on what they want to do.
Q: Your job status is constantly debated. Are you the guy to oversee a mid-season transition if it happens?
A: That's a question I get asked pretty much every day. I don't have any issues with my own job status. I believe in what we do and what I do.