The Phillies’ problem is that Amaro has been dumb all along. In five years as Gillick’s replacement as GM he has shown no ability to make deals, evaluate talent or handle the contract side of the job, which is why he can’t even trade Jonathan Papelbon or get full value for Cole Hamels. And why he admitted yesterday that team legends like Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley, who are now past their prime, will be with the team in 2015!

By Sam Bush

The major league baseball meetings are underway in San Diego, and while the Phillies are not the topic of the moment — Jon Lester’s decision today on his decision on whether he will sign with the Red Sox is — when you get hundreds of media in a room they have to interview someone.

And Pat Gillick, the Hall of Fame exec who is overseeing the Phils’ baseball ops, always has something of interest to say:

“We want to get some younger people on the field. It’s not easy, what you say and what you can accomplish. There are challenges to getting younger, from the standpoint of contracts, trade situations, no-trades, 10-and-5, all that stuff enters into it. You can’t just” — Gillick snapped his fingers — “get younger.”

Gillick said he supported his embattled general manager, Ruben Amaro Jr., citing Amaro’s role in the Phillies’ run of five division titles, including a World Series championship, from 2007 through 2011. Amaro, Gillick said, “didn’t all of a sudden get dumb,” and deserves a chance to turn the team around.

The concern is that the Phillies waited too long to make deals. Amaro did nothing at the July 31 trading deadline, unsatisfied with the deals he was offered for his veterans. The Phillies, he said, have learned from that.

“We’re a lot more realistic about it than we were in July, because now you see a pretty great shift,” Amaro said. “Teams just don’t want to give up the talent. They’d rather give up the money than the talent. So we have to have an understanding of that, and at the same time we have to identify the guys that are still pretty talented and not take a bath.”

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