Andy MacPhail (center) till take over Oct. 5, but until then Pat Gillick (right) and the woeful GM Ruben Amaro Jr. hold the keys to the Phillies’ future!
By Sam Bush
So, there are only seven days to go before the MLB non-waiver trade deadline, and rumors are flying.
There are lots of questions with very few answers because the Phillies seem stuck by the reality that:
No one in the major leagues knows who is in charge!
The Phils are trying to trade Cole Hamels, Jonathan Papelbon, Chase Utley, Ben Revere and others, but other organizations think the Phillies’ eventual transition from Pat Gillick to Andy MacPhail as team president and the uncertainty surrounding general manager Ruben Amaro’s future could slow the team’s willingness to make a deal.
If MacPhail is going to be calling the shots beginning Oct. 5, maybe the Phils will wait until the offseason so the new front-office members are the ones making the final calls on Hamels, Papelbon, etc.
“I don’t see this situation as an impediment at all,” Amaro said Tuesday. “Pat is my boss. Andy is in an advisory role. He’s informed and he gives his opinions about the discussions that we’ve had, and I always believe three or four or five or six heads are better than one. We’ve always been very inclusive when we do deals anyway. In essence, we’re just adding another very smart baseball man into the process.”
But this setup certainly is different than the past. For example, when the Phils pursued Cliff Lee as a free agent in December 2010, Amaro dealt exclusively with former Phillies president David Montgomery. Assistant GM Scott Proefrock played a critical role in the contract negotiations and Gillick offered his opinions as an advisor, but it essentially was Amaro and Montgomery.
Gillick declined to comment and a request to speak with MacPhail was declined, but Amaro said baseball operations have not been slowed.
“Everybody has their opinions and everybody is free to express them,” Amaro said. “At the end of the day, I think we’ll bring together what we think is important to us as a unit. We’ll move forward unified. I’m the point guy. I’m the GM. So whatever discussions we have, I’ll take back to our group and discuss it and move on.”
So these reports?
“It’s speculation,” Amaro said. “It’s people speculating, I guess, about things they probably don’t know much about. But I believe it’s clear that clubs have needs and have been aggressive. It doesn’t mean anything will get done, but I think there is some aggressiveness. Listen, we have some players that are desirable. And so we fully expect teams to be aggressive, because we’ve opened the doors to allow them to discuss it. We’ve been open-minded from last October on.
“There’s nothing weird about this situation. It’s pretty clear-cut. Andy is an advisor right now. He’s going to become the president. I think he’s part of the decision-making process, but Pat is my boss. He kind of has the ultimate say. He’ll consult with the ownership group, and we’ll try to make good decisions. Both Pat and Andy are working together to do what’s best for the Phillies. That’s what we’re all trying to do. We all have a very vested interest with what happens with the organization.”