I'll be honest. I was planning on doing a detailed recap of all of the moves that the Phillies made today. Been working on it for weeks.
I bought my racing paper on twitter every day. Read the lines left and right. I knew the turf conditions, the weather, right down to which horse was eating organic carrots.
I knew everything you wanted to know about Nick Castellanos, Joc Pederson, Jackie Bradley Junior, Bryce Brentz, Michael Choice, Gary Sanchez, hell, I was even ready to dissect why trading for Jurickson Profar might have been a bad idea and how I knew Boston was gonna dupe Ruben into taking Will Middlebrooks in the classic prospect hype oversell.
The jockeys told me what I needed to hear. The light was at the end of the tunnel. It was derby day.
Funny thing happened though. No one was selling what the Phillies were supposed to be buying.
Now we all know that the reason for this is simple. Ruben Amaro is an idiot who should be fired and couldn't manage a Wal Mart let alone a billion dollar baseball club. If David Montgomery had any sense he'd fire him tomorrow for not convincing the Boston Red Sox to part with Xander Bogaerts, for not making Michael Young accept a trade to Baltimore who was sure to deal us at the very least Jonathan Schoop for him. Damn him for not convincing the Detroit Tigers that Jonathan Papelbon and his mouth of doom (and fastball of declining velocity) were worth parting with the 15th best prospect in baseball because we need him to play RF and 3B at the same time. All he had to do was eat a few more million dollars and that deal was ours!
We had one shot today. One shot at rebuilding a franchise by effectively taking every last decent prospect that these organizations spent years developing.
Heyman told me so! Buster enforced it! Ken and Morosi confirmed it! Jim Bowden TWEETED IN ALL CAPS!!!
Ruben screwed this up.
He should have sold sooner! Before everyone else made their deals. You know, like The Rangers, who gave up Mike Olt and three other guys I don't remember (I think one was Jason Grimm) not named Jurickson Profar, Martin Perez or Leonys Martin for Matt Garza!
Cause we NEED a 3B who can't see so good and fell 50 spots in the prospect rankings. KEITH LAW STILL HAS FAITH!!**
And if you think I'm wrong just look at what other teams did!!
I said, LOOK AT THE BATS THE OTHER TEAMS GOT!!
They're there. they have to be. Buster said Texas needed a bunch.
Its easy to point fingers at Ruben. It really is. So easy that I think it becomes a crutch for a lot of us, myself included. But there's very little blame that should be pointed at him on this.
I have to be very careful when I write certain things because the last thing I want to be seen as is a Ruben apologist. I think the guy SHOULD be fired. I really do. He could figure out a way to trade for David Price and Giancarlo Stanton without giving up so much as Michael Martinez and I'd still believe that. Hes just done too many things to make up for them. Fire him. Tomorrow if you like.
But not because he didn't trade Michael Young in a market where the biggest bat dealt was Alfonso Soriano.
Hello, I hear you have a 2010 Cadillac with some miles on it you'd like to sell.
Why yes I do.
What are you asking for it?
How bout I give you this bicycle and pay off the rest of the loan?
Welcome to the trade deadline 2013. Look, there are pissed off people right now who believe (maybe correctly, who knows) that Young had to go for whatever was offered because he's not coming back. But it still has to be a fair, non-insulting offer. Maybe that happened, maybe it didn't. We might never know. But we do know what did (or didn't happen) to virtually everyone.
The biggest offensive player dealt was Alfonso Soriano.
A player who has 18 HRs, 55 RBIs and has amassed 1.8 fWAR on the season. More than any Phillies position player save Chase Utley and Dom Brown. More than the entire starting lineup of last night's game, save Utley, COMBINED.
Soriano was traded, by the Cubs, and Theo Epstein, considered by many to be the greatest operational guy in the game; the same team that dealt for Mike Olt and pounced early, to the New York Yankees. For those 18 HRs, the 55 RBI's and the almost 2 wins, the Yankees sent Theo and the Cubs a single A pitcher named Corey Black. His minor league statistics are here. He's 21 years old, was a 4th round draft pick last year, ranked 25th in their system. The Yankees have one of the worst systems in the game. For the privilege of receiving this touted prospect, Theo and the Cubs agreed to pay $18mm of the $24mm left on Soriano's contract.
Yeah I know. UPSIDE! Yeah. Provided there's no injuries, he can cut the 4 BB/9 down he's maybe a bullpen piece or a back-end rotation guy.
Remember this later, when someone, probably John Heyman reports after the fact that the Yankees would have made a deal, or the Red Sox would have made a deal, and doesn't name the prospect, or the dollars. It was less than this. Which no offense, isn't worth the paper in the fax machine.
Everyone wanted offense, no one bought any.
The Rangers have no DH and their RF is about to be suspended.
The Red Sox have no third baseman right now.
The Orioles have no DH
The Yankees still need both a 1B and a 3B to compete.
Desperate teams looking for offense stood pat left and right.
No one was willing to pay in this market.
So explain to me how, in a market where NO ONE CAN TRADE A HITTER, it's the GM's fault for not making a deal sooner? Or the player's fault for not waiving his no trade clause soon enough?
Well, it's a combination of a lot of things. A one-game playoff, the changing free agent market, additional wild card teams... and the real issue is that there are too many teams (and save an 0-8 skid the Phillies would have been one) that are what I call "faux buyers". Essentially teams that are too close to sell, but not close enough to risk making a mistake by buying.
The Yankees are a good example of this. In years past they would have offered enough for Young to make a deal. Now? They don't want to give up anything because in a week they may be out of it. And even if they make it, it's one game. No one is going to mortgage a potential future prospect of any value in this free agent landscape for the shot to face Justin Verlander in a one-game playoff. Any team can beat any team in one game.
Take that, combine it with the fact that too many teams are close, and no one wants to make a mistake.
So nothing gets done.
Ruben Amaro is guilty of many things. But I don't believe for a second he stood pat because be wanted to.
He stood pat because the freeway was congested to the point of a standstill. Nothing was moving. For miles. And if it did open up, the road was so thin and narrow that it wasn't worth moving out of the traffic.
And no one predicted this. No one saw it coming. It didn't happen last year but guess what? Last year was the first year with the second wild card. People learned things about what worked and what didn't work. Zack Greinke for Jean Segura? bad idea. Marco Scutaro? Hello Jose Iglesias for Avisail Garcia. Hey, I can deal Iglesias, I have Bogaerts in the wings, how bout Garcia and some junk for Peavy? Awesome. This cost me NOTHING.
And that's how Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley stay Red Sox.
Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the new millennium of professional baseball transactions. Where trading prospects is slowly becoming a thing of the past and a focus on developing talent through the draft, the international market, and controlling young players is the future.
Thats why Ruben extended Hamels, and is extending Utley. Because he hopes he can squeeze two years out of his most productive player while he develops his replacement in the system.
Its why Maikel Franco and Jesse Biddle are still here, why they weren't traded in the off-season or today, and in a way, that's also kind of why we're stuck watching the Young and Young suck factory. And I'll take that over a hyper-inflated deal for this year's Hunter Pence. (And by the way, its been TWO YEARS since Ruben traded a prospect worth his salt for anyone. TWO YEARS. And were still bitching about it.)
It's why Dom Brown agreeing to a contract extension next year is the single most important thing this team can do.
It's why he went out and risked 60 million dollars on Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez. Who arguably was the biggest and best signing of the deadline.
Think about that for a second. Name another team that added a 26 year old under team control for six years this month, who projects to be a mid rotation starter or better, ceiling wise, without giving up prospects of value.
He's learning. He's adapting, and while its still too late in my opinion to forgive the past transgressions, he's done a much better job this year than we give him credit for.
Above I said the market is changing. Drafting talent, the international market, cost controlled young players.
About 15 minutes after I wrote this, John Heyman WROTE THIS. I can't make this stuff up.
**(I think... I don't know that for sure. To be fair, I get Mike Olt and Joey Gallo confused sometimes, and I always think Gallo is better because his reminds me of Joey Votto, so I think he plays for the Reds and THATS how I remember how he's different than Mike Olt. Who I THINK had Lasik, or maybe hes putting drops in his eyes now, but anyway, hes definitely better than he was and should be awesome going forward. I think. Bowden thinks he's AWESOME. )