MLB….Ruben, you are not fooling anyone.

I want everyone to meet Ruben Amaro Jr. Ruben is the General Manager and head puppeteer of the rapidly aging Philadelphia Phillies. I don’t want anyone to think that today’s article is about the fact that growing up, my National League team was the New York Mets, and our number one nemesis was the Phillies, so I have a natural predisposition to disliking them on an intergalactic level. No, it is not about that at all. No, sir-eee! This is about my trying to understand why ol’ Ruben thinks he is fooling anybody with his tired-out act of trying to bluff and out-maneuver other teams when he has nothing but low cards in his hand to go along with his one Ace…
Let’s start with this. Amaro has been listening to offers for pitcher Cole Hamels for what seems like eons at this point. Amaro is demanding a king’s ransom in minor leaguers and established major leaguers for Hamels. Luckily for all the other teams in the league, they realize that Amaro is acting like a used car salesman who is trying to sell a lemon for a premium. It’s not happening. Amaro is insisting that the Phillies will pay little-to-none of the $96M remaining on Hamels’ contract to move him. But in true used car salesman fashion, Amaro is extolling the virtues and features of the only viable trading chip that he has in what I would call the ‘almost premier market’. Of course Amaro is going to say that he expects Hamels to be in camp with the Phillies next week at the start of Spring Training 2015 in Clearwater, Florida on one hand, while working furiously behind the scenes to trade his top starter on the other. Amaro is not exactly dealing from a position of strength here, especially now that pitcher James Shields has signed a deal with the San Diego Padres. I am sure that the interest in Hamels is legitimate, and there are several teams that could certainly use him, but those same teams can afford to wait Amaro and Hamels out. Also included here would be Cliff Lee, and basically everything that I said here regarding Hamels also applies to Lee. My opinion is that the longer Amaro tries to push his weak position, the less of a return he is going to get. There has been speculation that Boston could be a landing spot for Hamels, but Amaro wants catching prospect Blake Swihart and OF Mookie Betts, plus an established major leaguer or two. There is no way that Ben Cherington, or any other sane GM is going to make this deal. But Amaro keeps insisting, and the price for Hamels will continue to drop as the season gets closer.
Over the last few seasons, as well as more recently, there have been a lot of changes to the Phillies. Gone is Jayson Werth. Gone is Jimmy Rollins. Whether or not reliever Jonathan Paplebon stays is a matter of speculation. The Phillies still have Ryan Howard, who was once a premier player, but who is now a shadow of his former self. On the positive side, they still have Chase Utley, Dominic Brown, and Ben Revere, all fairly good players. This will not in any way, shape, or form, bring the Phillies anywhere close to even sniffing the playoffs in 2015. Amaro, just like a used car salesman, needs to close some deals fast. He needs to stop trying to be a carnival barker, and simply make the best deal for his team that he can. I have a feeling that it is going to be a long, hot summer in Philadelphia…

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