Going into the 2013 MLB Winter Meetings some may have thought the Philadelphia Phillies were willing to do something to improve their roster via trade or signing free agents. While the Phillies made noise the entire time they only signed one player and traded for none. Basically their time at the meetings was just spent for rumors and little else but their financial situation leaves very little room for more.
Because GM Ruben Amaro Jr has chosen to hold on to his veterans long enough that no one wants to trade for them, he has extremely little wiggle room on his payroll. The signing of Marlon Byrd earlier in the offseason was probably about as big of a splash as they are capable of unless Amaro receives the green light to spend more money than they have. Players like Ryan Howard and Chase Utley take up a huge amount of payroll but contribute little combined to winning.
At least Utley has remained quite productive in his older years. Howard could supposedly have a bounce back season at any time but that seems extremely unlikely. Because of this situation, it isn’t a surprise at all that the Phillies were very inactive at the Winter Meetings. They needed a starting pitcher but only came away with Roberto Hernandez, previously of the Tampa Bay Rays, who has a career ERA just below 5.00.
Needless to say they need more improvement to be able to see their success rate match their high payroll all season long. Amaro’s hands were very nearly tied before he walked into the meetings because of previous deals and non-deals. Now, because he wasn’t able to take advantage of the meetings’ atmosphere, he’ll need to pull off at least one miraculous move before the end of the offseason.