Ruben Amaro is finally talking about some potential trades at the deadline. I guess that is progress being made. But according to Matt Gelb of Philly.com, Amaro doesn’t believe that if the Phillies trade Jonathan Papelbon or Cliff Lee at the trade deadline they will have to eat part of their salary to ensure a good package of prospects.
“That’s usually the case with most deals in this era,” Amaro said. “In the cases of the players rumored out there, like the Lees and Papelbons, taking back money is not going to be an issue because the talent is too high. That’s not going to be debilitating for anybody. The teams who would be interested would be willing to take on the dollars associated with it. Particularly in those deals – I don’t anticipate doing those – but it’s about making baseball deals, not monetary deals. I haven’t been mandated to go and shed payroll. I’ve never had that mandate.”
That wasn’t exactly a quote that clarified much from Ruben Amaro. Amaro began the quote by saying that normally in trades today, taking on some salary is necessary and ended by saying that it won’t be necessary to do that in a Cliff Lee or Jonathan Papelbon trade. That type of comment would make you think that maybe the Phillies would be willing to trade Lee’s remaining 70 million dollars just for salary relief. Gelb says Amaro doesn’t need to do that.
Amaro does not need to trade anyone. He said there is no mandate from ownership to shed payroll, even as the team has experienced an average decrease of 5,871 fans per game this season at Citizens Bank Park. When the Phillies’ TV contract expires at the end of 2015, they’ll be signing a new one that could bring $4 billion to $5 billion. They’ll need to maintain a shred of competitiveness to ensure its value.
So I guess Amaro believes he can truly get a good enough return from a contender and have them take on all of Lee and Papelbon’s salary. I could see either the Tigers or Red Sox taking a majority or all of Papelbon’s salary. But in the case of Lee, to ensure a good return, the Phillies are going to have to take on some salary in my mind. And Amaro did admit that if the situation was right, the Phillies would consider helping a team with salary relief.
Amaro said if any trade was right – on baseball terms – the team could assume some salary. He cited the Jim Thome trade in 2005 when the Phillies ate about $24 million of the first baseman’s pay. But that is the last major instance of ownership taking such a measure.
“We learned to do it if it’s something that makes sense for the franchise,” Amaro said. He added that team president David Montgomery and the silent ownership partners have not allowed finances to restrict baseball decisions.
“They have given us a ton of flexibility to do a lot of things,” Amaro said. “It’s my job to make the right decisions. . . . We have some strong revenues.”
So what did we learn today kids? That the Phillies may or may not be willing to take on salary in a trade, and they are aware of trade rumors about Cliff Lee and Jonathan Papelbon. So basically nothing.
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