We call them “lies.”
Ruben Amaro calls them “strategic fibs.”
And this time, he enlisted a partner in crime.
Before Friday night’s game against the Marlins in Miami, Amaro announced that Utley would not be playing third base in any of the Phillies’ six remaining games.
For some reason, the Phils decided that throwing an oft-injured player into a position he’s never played before with very little training or time to prepare may not have been the swiftest idea in the world.
“I don’t know if it’s a matter whether or not he can do it,” Amaro said. “I think it’s more a matter of practicality and what’s really best for the team overall. While having that option would be helpful, I don’t know if it’s really an option that’s going to make us necessarily better.”
Hang on. You mean thrusting an All-Star caliber second baseman over to a completely different side of the diamond with no real preparation just to give a player with a career OPS of .617 a permanent job at his position isn’t a move that’s going to make the Phillies better?
I’m also shocked there’s gambling in that there casino.
Moving Utley to third base didn’t make a lot of sense for a few reasons.
The first is that moving Utley to third didn’t really give the team more options for improvement. The free agent talent pool at second base is just as thin as the garbage bin players at third (unless for some reason you’ve had a hankering for Jeff Baker, Mike Fontenot, Maicer Izturis, Kelly Johnson, Adam Kennedy, Jeff Keppinger, Jose Lopez or Ryan Theriot to be your every day second baseman in 2013).
Freddy Galvis is a great defensive player, but his offensive numbers before his injury and suspension were downright awful (.226/.254/.363, OPS+ 64). He ain’t the answer.
The second is that it’s simply not fair to Chase to throw him into this position. Of course Utley was willing to try it. Chase would probably cut off one of his fingers if he thought it might make the difference between a win and a loss. He’d probably be even more likely to cut off one of YOUR fingers.
“He would play anywhere we want him to play,” Manuel said.
Well if that’s true, you know, Carlos Ruiz could use a few days off now and then. Maybe…
The third is that six games isn’t enough time to evaluate anything.
“In retrospect, it would be difficult to make a real assessment in six games, to watch this guy play and say, ‘OK, we know Chase Utley is going to be an average defender and better for our team,'” Amro said. “That’s a very difficult thing to be able to assess. None of us are good enough scouts to be able to do that.”
That’s why the Phillies need more Moneyball scouts. These Clint Eastwood scouts aren’t worth two poops on a stick.
As a result, the Phillies will likely head into the 2013 season with some combination of Galvis and Kevin Frandsen at third base. The decaying corpse of Placido Polanco will not be an option, his contract will be bought out for $5 million.
Perhaps there’s a trade to be made that no one realizes, but that’s doubtful.
What is for sure is that Ruben Amaro lied to us all once again. How do we know?
His lips were moving.
Thanks, I’ll be here all week. Try the veal.