As the Phillies sit out there in Las Vegas, trolling for whatever, newly-minted general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. might be best to sit tight. Figure out an answer to Jamie Moyer's issues, whatever they are. Don't do any unnecessary gymnastics in an attempt to fill in for Pat Burrell in leftfield. Don't go crazy about a backup infielder to keep second base warm while we wait for Chase Utley to heal -- unless you've been lying about Utley's prognosis following hip surgery.
Do less. Horde some cash, even a small pile. Wait.
Read the economy here. See the effect it is having all over the sports landscape. Watch the National Football League lay off 14 percent of its staff. Maybe this is an excess of caution -- I have no idea -- but every league except the NHL has already resorted to at least some layoffs. See that. Plan for that.
If the economy fails to turn in the next few months, cash will be king once the season starts. If the recession grows worse, anybody sitting on even a little bit of money will be in a position to turn that money into a talent windfall. June will be a lousy time to be a seller in MLB but a great time -- maybe a historically-great time -- to be a buyer. That should be Amaro's plan.
You would think, coming off of a World Championship, that Philadelphia will be a little bit more recession-proof than the average baseball city. If Amaro can identify and isolate some cash now, it is likely to be still available in a couple of months. At that point, provided the team doesn't get off to a terrible start, it might be the better time to know the Phillies' needs and to address them.
If the economy turns up, great -- they'll have the money to spend in a normal economy. But if it stays bad, that cash will buy things they never had a chance to buy in the past from teams desperate to shed salary. The prospects that they don't have to trade won't matter. Cash will be king.