PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Phillies have signed two players so far this offseason, outfielder Marlon Byrd and catcher Carlos Ruiz. Byrd is 36 years-old, and Ruiz will be 35 when the season starts. Many fans have wondered when the team will start to turn the page on the current core, and begin to build the next one.
General manager Ruben Amaro says that you can’t do both things at once.
“We have some young players on our roster. A guy like Brownie [Dom Brown], and a guy like [Ben] Revere, and we’ll have probably [Cody] Asche or Maikel Franco at third base,” Amaro said during a surprise call to Angelo Cataldi and the 94WIP Morning Show on Friday. “They are some young players, but we can’t have a stockpile young players and expect our team, the way it’s set up, to win baseball games on a consistent basis. That’s my job, to put a team on the field that is going to win baseball games.”
Byrd and Ruiz join a core of Jimmy Rollins (35 years old on 11/27), Ryan Howard (34 years old), and Chase Utley (35 years old on 12/17). The Phillies went 81-81 in 2012, and 73-89 in 2013, a season that saw Amaro fire manager Charlie Manuel and bring in Ryne Sandberg.
Amaro is doubling down on a core that has had some ups and downs over the last several years. Chase Utley had a steady, mostly injury-free season in 2013, but Rollins struggled, and Howard struggled with injuries and production.
“We need Ryan Howard to produce for us and if he produces for us we will have success. He is a very key element to our club,” Amaro said. “My mind is open on everything and so I can’t close myself off or allow our organization to close ourselves off from different ways in trying to improve our club. I believe that Ryan Howard still has a lot left. We’ll find out, because he is going to be playing for us. We didn’t even think about moving him now, probably at the lowest point of his value. Ryan Howard needs to play for the Philadelphia Phillies and do well so that we can have success, and if he doesn’t then it’s going to be difficult for us to have success.”
A player that had been part of the Phillies core, right handed pitcher Roy Halladay, is a free-agent with a blurry future.
“I absolutely cannot answer [whether Halladay will be back], because I do not know,” Amaro said. I have had some dialogue, about a week and a half ago I had some dialogue with his agent. I told him to keep me posted on what the market is going to bare for him. I really don’t know how to value him. It’s a really difficult process because you just don’t know what Roy Halladay you will get in 2014.”