Ruben Amaro Jr. had a few interesting things to say earlier this evening as he addressed the Phillies' search for pitching and infield depth.
First, he said that he would consider dealing a player off of his big league roster if he felt it would upgrade the overall competitiveness of the club.
"Obviously I don't want to weaken my club," Amaro said, "but if I have to weaken one area to strengthen another, I might do that."
Second, he said that Domonic Brown has played his way into consideration for a promotion at some point this season, although he stressed that the top prospect's 12 games at Triple-A are still too few to render a judgment on his readiness for the big leagues.
"The players dictate their progress, and he's dictating it," Amaro said.
Those two statements are related, of course. The Phillies two most tradeable quantities, at least when it comes to the starting line-up, are outfielders. Right fielder Jayson Werth will be a free agent after the season, and thus far the two sides have not come close to reaching an agreement on a contract extension. Center fielder Shane Victorino, meanwhile, is signed to a three-year, $22 million contract that runs through the 2012 season. Veteran left fielder Raul Ibanez likely would not attract much attention, given his contract (the Phillies owe him $11.5 million next season) and the decline in power numbers he has experienced this season.
Brown plays right field, but Werth can play center field as well, which is why moving Victorino would still leave the Phillies with some flexibility.
Amaro declined to address any specific names, either on his own roster or that of another major league team.
But the Phillies are looking for a pitcher to bolster their rotation and an infielder to fill the void left by Chase Utley at second base. If he had to choose one, Amaro said he would choose a pitcher. The Phillies are also open to adding a bullpen arm, but their top priority is a starter.
Of course, they had a starter back in December. His name was Cliff Lee, and they traded him to Seattle citing the need to replenish the farm system. Amaro said he does not regret the move.
"If we had Cliff Lee, we wouldn't have Roy Halladay," Amaro said.
But if they can trade for a pitcher now, why couldn't they have kept both Lee and Halladay?
"Time and circumstance dictates some of the things you can and cannot do," Amaro said. "We just felt like we were in a position to be able to hold one guy and not to hold the other guy. We had to put ourselves in a position not to leave our club and our organization with the cupboard bare. By moving all of this talent from our organization, it just made it very difficult to continue to be able to do business long term. "