Under the category “be careful what you wish for” include fans of the Philadelphia Phillies hoping to sell off an aging team for hot young prospects.
That’s the big question on Philadelphia talk radio these days and judging by the callers, there’s a strong lean to sell. The element of trusting Phillies management for getting a proper return on the transactions doesn’t ever seem to be discussed, though.
It should be, since the person doing the selling, general manager Ruben Amaro Jr., doesn’t have a stellar record in such transactions over the last few years.
Amaro took over for Hall of Fame GM Pat Gillick after the 2008 World Championship season with less-than-stellar results. When trading for younger players, like getting John Mayberry Jr. for Greg Golson, Amaro seems to have done fairly well. He also does well trading for veterans, hitting on the 2010 deal of Michael Taylor, Travis D’Arnaud and Kyle Drabek for Roy Halladay.
When trading older guys for younger guys, though, he’s been pretty much a failure.
The first deal Amaro made for Cliff Lee deal was also a bust, with the Seattle Mariners getting Lee for Phillipe Aumont, Tyson Gillies and J.C. Ramirez. None of those players figure to have the kind of impact on the major league level Lee had, and Amaro paid for it by having to get Lee back last year as a free agent.
In 2012, Amaro got back veteran Nate Schierholtz and a Triple-A catcher in Tommy Joseph from the San Francisco Giants for veteran outfielder Hunter Pence. Although Joseph is a highly-rated prospect, he’s struggled at the plate at both Reading and Allentown.
Before being put on the DL for headaches related to a concussion, he was hitting .206 in Allentown. Not exactly the kind of “hot prospect” Phillies fans were looking for. Meanwhile, Schierholtz no longer plays for the Phillies, so that trade has to be considered another bust for Amaro.
Another 2012 deal shipped veteran center fielder Shane Victorino to the Los Angeles Dodgers for reliever Josh Lindblom and minor-league pitcher Ethan Martin. Lindblom is 1-2 for the Texas Rangers, while Martin is 9-4 with a 4.91 ERA for Allentown.
Victorino is hitting .285 as the starting center fielder for the Boston Red Sox — another bust for Amaro.
So the question for Phillies fans is this: do you trust Ruben Amaro Jr. to get quality prospects when dealing established major leaguers? The answer, from all objective data available, has to be an unequivocal no.