Earlier this week, Ruben Amaro told CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury that all those people who want to see the Phillies go into full-on sell mode at the trade deadline should look at what the Boston Red Sox did last year, and keep on dreamin’.
“People think we’re going to blow up this team. We’re never going to be in the position of blowing up. There’s no blowing up. There might come a time when we make changes to improve for the future, but we don’t have a reason to blow it up. Boston didn’t blow it up last year. They retooled. That’s the challenge we have whether it’s July 31 or November 1.”
If Amaro doesn’t want to “blow up” the team, that’s his prerogative. He’s the general manager, and if he wants to retool rather than rebuild, that’s on him.
Unfortunately, Amaro keeps using last year’s “retooling” by Boston as some sort of blueprint for how he should go about rebuilding the Phillies.
Obviously, this is idiotic. There are numerous reasons why the Phils will not be able to rebuild and “retool” the way the Red Sox did last year. Some of those reasons are luck, some of those reasons are good fortune, but most of them are smart baseball planning.
Boston was blessed by the incredible stupidity of the Los Angeles Dodgers who, for reasons passing understanding, decided to take on the bloated salaries of Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, and Josh Beckett. In return the Sox got much-needed salary relief as well as first baseman James Loney, infielder Ivan DeJesus Jr., outfielder/first baseman Jerry Sands, pitcher Rubby De La Rosa and pitching prospect Allen Webster.
In other words, Boston was able to dump Gonzalez’ 7-year, $154 million contract, Crawford’s 7-year, $142 million deal, and Beckett’s 4-year, $68 million contract. That’s $364 million the Red Sox pawned off on the Dodgers.
The Phillies would probably love to do something similar with Ryan Howard and Roy Halladay, but both players are both too old, ineffective or injured to garner any trade value in return. Not only that, teams have seen how Los Angeles’ move has blown up in their faces so far, and are likely looking to avoid doing something just as dumb.
There are likely no suckers in this year’s market.
So, the Phils are stuck with many of their over-priced, under-producing big-ticket items.
The other big advantage Boston had over the Phillies is the Red Sox’ incredibly rich farm system that continues to churn out productive every-day players, with more talent still to come.
Baseball America had four Boston prospects in their top 50 coming into the 2013 season, and five in the top 100. Conversely, the Phillies had two prospects in the top 100, and none in the top 50.
Shortstop Xander Bogaerts was ranked as the #8 prospect in all of baseball, with Jackie Bradley Jr. at #31, right-handed pitcher Matt Barnes at #40 and right-handed pitcher Webster at #49. All of them are ranked higher than the Phils’ #1 prospect Jesse Biddle, who came in at #89.
Not only that, they drafted their starting third baseman Will Middlebrooks, outfielders Jacoby Ellsbury and Daniel Nava, starting pitchers John Lester and Clay Buchholz and their incredible second baseman Dustin Pedroia. All are in the primes of their careers. They’ve also filled in the gaps with some smart pick-ups like catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, outfielder Shane Victorino, and closer Andrew Bailey.
And they’ve gotten lucky that their own version of Ryan Howard, David Ortiz, was able to get over his injury problems and become a fearsome hitter once again.
The Red Sox had talent coming up through the minors last year to help them in the rebuilding process.
The Phillies have Cody Asche, Jesse Biddle, Mikael Franco, Cesar Hernandez, Freddy Galvis, Adam Morgan, Ethan Martin and maybe Darin Ruf in their pipeline. Their pedigrees are far short of what Boston has.
Also, from 2003-2013, the Red Sox had 15 first-round draft picks. Among those picks were Ellsbury and reliever Daniel Bard. During that same time, the Phillies have had six first round picks, and the two that have made the Majors, albeit briefly for both, are Kyle Drabek and Joe Savery. Drabek had value, as he was the centerpiece of the Roy Halladay trade. Savery has been a spare arm so far in his brief career.
The Phils are going to have to get real lucky that either some or all of Asche, Franco, Biddle, Hernandez and Galvis pan out as solid everyday players. The odds of that are long.
Two years ago, the Red Sox made a bunch of dumb free agent signings. They appeared trapped until the Dodgers bailed them out.
But the Sox were also smart. They built through the draft and, when the time came to change course, they were confident they had the prospects to make the transition.
The Phillies do not have a team that will take on their dead weight. They do not have a farm system that is comparable to Boston’s.
Their situation is nothing like Boston’s was last year. And any plans to move forward using them as a blueprint is a plan that is doomed to failure.