Roy Halladay was the first gem to be sought by the Philadelphia Phillies after the 2008 championship. Will Rube Amaro again reel in valuable catches?
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A History Of Success:
The pattern is unmistakable. Amaro sets his sights on an acquisition, and he finds the path that leads to that star. Halladay appeared on his radar near the trading deadline of 2009, but the Jays were not willing partners. The GM pivoted with the same offer to the Tribe, and Cliff Lee made everybody temporarily forget about the Doctor. The General produced a 7-4 mark with a 3.39 ERA, but was a stunning 4-0 during his 1.56 ERA postseason performance. The following spring, the new brass in Toronto were willing to accept 1 top minor-league chip instead of two: Kyle Drabek without Dom Brown. Doc went 21-10 with a 2.44 ERA, and followed that by going 19-6 during his 2nd season, lowering his ERA to 2.35. However, the higher-ups prioritized one $20M ace and not two, which was more about the allocation than the dollars.
One July after Lee, Rube eyed another stud in the purgatory of Houston: Roy Oswalt. The right-hander delivered a line of 7-1 with a 1.74 ERA. Again in 2011, the ‘Stros were deal associates with Hunter Pence, who hit .324, 11 bombs and 35 RBI for 2 months. Jonathan Papelbon joined the squad last summer, saving 38 of 42 opportunities with a 2.44 ERA. Amaro’s deadline swaps for his first 3 tours netted Lee, Oswalt and Pence. He started his first off-season by signing Raul Ibanez, who averaged .272 and clubbed 34 dingers with 93 RBI for 2009. He brought on board Ibanez, Halladay, Lee and Papelbon for his first 4 campaigns at the helm before spring training.
Fielders Of Interest:
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The general manager has a strong resume of bartering and inking stars. However, 2013’s roster is rumored to be his toughest challenge yet. A transaction for Wilton Lopez came to an abrupt halt after his physical on Wednesday, which elbowed his reasoned availability. On the other front, the offer to B.J. Upton was for only $11M per over 5 years, but the Braves paid $15M+ a pop or $75.25M total.
Those facts indicated that Amaro was not willing to overcompensate Upton, and wants a twofer. The team’s preference is 2 regulars for $14-16M instead of one at $15M. This is where you can rule out Josh Hamilton, Michael Bourne and Nick Swisher. The players to watch are Cody Ross and Ryan Ludwick. Meanwhile, Rube is on the hunt for 1 back-end arm as well.
$178M Maximum Before The Luxury Tax:
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This is GM chess and the initials don’t stand for grandmaster, like Bobby Fischer. If you noticed, Atlanta spent an additional $4M+ per for Upton, because they expected Philly to bid $75M over five 162‘s. The Braves had $25M for expenditures with Bourne and Chipper Jones off the books. In other words, 60% of their working capital is exhausted, and that doesn’t include the lengthy time that money is tied up.
Amaro has $19.5M to acquire 3 pieces, which can be split into $8M, $6.5M and $5M–or some combination thereof. We know now that he doesn’t desire a $10M CF upgrade, which could signal a move for 3B Michael Young. That translates to 2 or 3 of 3: Young (RH bat), a center fielder and a set-up man. Young’s expiring contract is for $16M with a balance of $7.6M–and $15M deferred from the 5-summer, $80M deal. $7.6M or less could be a viable amount. Together, Young and John Mayberry Jr. are equal to the run production of 113 RBI with 22 homeruns. Two starters and a bullpen veteran involve many moving parts or things to go right. The key comment from Rube is that there is not a slam dunk on the market, which means for the Phils. It explains his recent, current and upcoming decisions.
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This is the 5th storyline for 2013. Check out my recent publication (Retooling In Progress) and the 121 storylines for 2012 on the Phillies page or my author archives, where there is an excerpt photo. Also, my new feature is Suds Or Studs.
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