Philadelphia Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. apparently laughed off reports that the club was listening to offers for Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels. Inquirer beat writer Matt Gelb went so far as to say Amaro and assistant GM Scott Proefrock put on a “skit” about the rumors.
This is baseball’s silly season, when a lot of stuff gets thrown against the wall that probably has little-to-no merit. Fans might mistake what Amaro had to say next as part of the act however. Despite an aging core and a bloated payroll preventing a team that finished with a 73-89 record last season from adding meaningful pieces in free agency, Amaro contends the Phils are contenders. Here’s more from CSN insider Jim Salibury:
“We’re built to win,” Amaro said. “I like our lineup. I’d like to add some pitching to it.
“I think we’ve got a pretty good lineup as it stands today. If we can improve on it we’ll try. But I like our lineup. We’ve been sitting here and discussing it internally. I like the balance in it. Is it older? Yes, it is. It doesn’t necessarily mean it’s worse just because it’s older. We just have to get them healthier. If it’s healthy, it’s better than last year, clearly. We have to score more than 610 runs or whatever it was that we scored last year. That was awful. We have to score 700-plus runs to contend. I think the guys that are in the lineup as it stands today can do that.”
From a certain standpoint, Amaro’s right. The Phillies, with their huge contracts awarded to the likes of Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins and Jonathan Papelbon to name a few, are built to try to win. Whether or not they are actually built to win, as in they have a legitimate shot at chasing a World Series title in 2014, is certainly up for debate.