Despite Recent Trade Activity, Phillies Gm Ruben Amaro Says Philadelphia Isn’t Throwing in the Towel On the Season

The Philadelphia Phillies came into this season with extremely high expectations. However for a variety of reasons they have failed to meet them. Because of their lackluster first half and numerous injuries, Phillies GM Ruben Amaro decided he had no choice but to make some drastic changes at the trade deadline. After numerous reports and rumors, the Phils dealt away two key pieces of their outfield, Hunter Pence and Shane Victorino, in an effort to re-tool the team and make a run again next year. Philadelphia got some talent in return but replacing two All-Stars in the outfield is no easy task. Amaro is going to have his work cut out for him this offseason if he wants to get the Phillies to return to the top of the National League East and be alive when October comes around. Ruben Amaro joined WIP in Philadelphia to talk about how he feels about what went down at the trade deadline, when he knew it was time to make some deals, getting to watch some of the younger players now, if he was disappointed in what the team got from Hunter Pence, whether the plan is to keep Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay and Cole Hamels together and what he expects the rest of the season.

How he feels about what went down at the trade deadline:

“Obviously we’re disappointed in the way that we played in the first half of the season for a variety of reasons but it’s time for change and I think we’re going to give guys some opportunities to see if the guys can’t pick it up and kind of carry the ball here for awhile. See what we’ve got out of the guys that we have in house and we will kind of go from there.”

When he knew it was time to make some trades:

“I was kind of looking for the energy level of the club and I didn’t see a whole lot change when both Chase (Utley) and Ryan (Howard) came back and then when Doc (Roy Halladay) came back I didn’t see a lot of change as far as how we were playing and what they were doing on the field. Getting swept in Atlanta hurt us but I felt like it was time for us to do some things differently and give some other people an opportunity and at the same time give ourselves a chance to have a little bit more flexibility down the road.”

On getting to watch some of the young guys develop:

“The pluses and minuses of going out and getting high priced players Like (Cliff) Lee, (Roy) Oswalt, (Hunter) Pence and Doc is it costs you talent. When the talent leaves your organization it thins you out to the point where it’s hard to count on some of the guys that are down below. When we trade for quality players and they are quality, you have to give up quality to get it. When you still have guys you feel are going to be helpful in our organization, when you feel that those guys, it’s time for them to get an opportunity, it’s important for them to get their chance and to play. If they play and don’t produce it obviously puts you in a position to have to go out and do something externally. At the very least, even if we have to go out there and I hope this is not the case, have to go out there and revamp the entire outfield at least we have the flexibility to be able to do that. I think we have some ability there but we will see whether or not these are the pieces we want to have moving forward, to continue and to be back in to a situation where we’re making another run at a championship.”

Whether he was disappointed in what Hunter Pence gave the Phillies:

“No. I mean there were times when you saw some things happen in the outfield and some things that happened at the plate. He’s a productive player, he’s a great energy guy, he’s a fantastic person in the clubhouse, but we just felt like if we were going to put the 14 million dollars into our payroll next year with utilizing that with his salary that perhaps we were better served using it in a different way or at least giving ourselves a chance to do that because there’s going to be some outfielders out there who are free agents that the mix of those guys may be more helpful.”

If the plan is still to keep Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay and Cole Hamels together:

“Absolutely. Cliff is a top of the rotation pitcher. He had some struggles with some of his mechanics and some of the things that affected how he pitched this year in the early part of the year but I fully expect him to be Cliff Lee and I fully expect he and Cole and basically once he gets his strength back, Halladay, to be those guys. Will he have the same effectiveness that he had in his first two years with us? We don’t know that but I would count on him. I believe in those guys and I will tell you this publically, all those rumors were really quite overblown. When you have a pitcher like Cliff Lee, obviously with the way our season has gone people would think that since we signed Cole that we had to trade Cliff and again that was absolutely not the case. We were not shopping him. A couple of teams did some really kicking the tires on him but that was not at all what was happening. Really the rumors out there are usually somewhere in between 60 and 80 percent false anyway and that was similar to the case in Cliff’s situation.”

If the team may still make movers with the waiver deadline:

“It’s possible. Very possible.”

Good luck next in 2013 Ruben:

“I have a little more optimism about this year than maybe some other people do. We’re not throwing in the towel for this year. I think we have a hell of a team still. Sometimes what you see on paper can play up or play down depending on the chemistry of the club and the energy of the club. We’re hoping that we can go out there and win some games. We don’t have any delusions of granger that we’re all of the sudden going to reel off 10, 15 or 20 wins but as our pitching gets healthier and I think we got a little bit better our bullpen, our guys are getting more experienced and you never know.”

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