Things worked out fine for Gillick, who would in 2008 bring Philadelphia its first World Championship since 1980 and then retire.
When Ruben Amaro Jr. succeeded Gillick, he approached things from the opposite perspective, making deals on deadlines for Cliff Lee in 2009, Roy Oswalt in 2010 and Hunter Pence in 2011 before last year shipping out both Pence and fellow outfielder Shane Victorino at the trade deadline.
This year, Phillies fans assumed that Amaro would get an itchy trigger finger again, but nothing happened. He lined up a few possibilities in his trade scope, then decided he could not go through with it. For once, it was a good move. Amaro could have dealt Lee to the Boston Red Sox, but they were offering a package of prospects were were topped by third baseman Will Millbrooks. Amaro already had a higher-rated third-base prospect in Triple-A, Cody Asche, who is now with the big club. He could have dealt third baseman Michael Young to the same team, but the prospects he was offered for Young were even more suspect.
Amaro figured why give those two guys up for prospects who, in his mind, could never reach the majors, and sometimes, no move is the right move to make. After all, keeping Lee at the top of the rotation for the next two seasons is not the worst thing in the world and the Phillies, if they can’t move Young through waivers at the end of this month, can at least make room for Asche by jettisoning Young and his $16 million contract at the end of the season.
As Gillick once proved, sometimes “Standing Pat” can turn out for the best. Standing Ruben doesn’t have the same ring to it, but Amaro hopes the results eventually are similar.