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Amaro says Phils want Werth and can re-sign him

Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. knew as soon as he sat down for his season-ending news conference where the initial questions were headed. “Shoot, ask whatever Werth questions.”

Amaro says Phils want Werth and can re-sign him

Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. addressed the media today at Citizens Bank Park. (Sarah J. Glover / Staff Photographer)
Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. addressed the media today at Citizens Bank Park. (Sarah J. Glover / Staff Photographer)

Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. knew as soon as he sat down for his season-ending news conference where the initial questions were headed. “Shoot, ask whatever Werth questions.”

Amaro said the Phillies want Jayson Werth to return and have enough money to re-sign him, but said that will “depend on what the ask is” and “how it will affect other things.”

Werth figures to be the main attraction among position players on the free-agent market. Amaro said he will talk with agent Scott Boras within the next 48 hours.

The Phillies have exclusive negotiating rights until 5 days after the completion of the World Series, but Amaro said he expects “this will go deep into the offseason.”

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“What is going to drive the bus is Jayson and Scott,” Amaro said of the time frame. “Typically these things don’t move particularly quickly.”

“Jayson had a good year. It wasn’t an extraordinary year,” Amaro said. “He had a tough time with men in scoring position. It wasn’t as productive a year as he had in the past. If he is not with us, there are players that we can acquire and or we have in our own organization that can help us be as consistent.”

On the question of payroll, Amaro said, “We haven’t talked budget and we haven’t gotten that far down the line. We are only two days into the offseason. We are going to have some money to do some things … I’m going to have to figure out with the rest of our baseball operations people the best way to utilize the money.”

Amaro said the Phillies, “have to be open-minded as to how to improve the club, whether it’s starting pitching or bullpen, offensively, we’ll try to address it.”

Amaro said the three biggest issues for the Phillies this offseason are addressing the team’s six free agents, the age of the team, with players “starting to move into and past their prime age of production” and the bullpen, which he said “could have been our Achille’s heel. It turned out they pitched very well.”

As for the possibility of breaking up the team’s core group as the players generally move into their 30s, Amaro said, “It’s my job to be creative but I’m pretty happy with our core players.”

Amaro said the Phillies are still evaluating their players and assessing their offseason targets. However, “we’re not going to feel comfortable on anything until we know where we stand on Werth and go from there.”

* Amaro called it a “successful season with a disappointing finish,” because they expected to be in the World Series. “I think this one stung pretty good. The players really believed they are World Series champions and they will be chomping at the bit come this spring.”

* On manager Charlie Manuel, who is entering the last year of his contract. “At some point, we will probably address Charlie,” Amaro said. “We have not [yet].” The Phillies also have asked the entire coaching staff to return and they are working on contracts.

* On the team’s free agents, other than Werth, including relievers Chad Durbin and J.C. Romero, lefthander Jamie Moyer, Mike Sweeney, “I’ve gotten indications that many of them want to come back. It depends on how much they want to come back.”

* On whether it is safe to say that starting pitching does not need to be addressed: “You can never not address things. We’re pretty pleased with our rotation as good and as it performed at the end of the year. When we acquired Roy [Oswalt], we did some pretty extraordinary things as far as wins … No question having those three guys in our rotation had a great impact … Joe Blanton pitched extremely well at the end of the year. Kyle as a fifth starter, threw 180 innings and had a pretty good performance. As far as addressing it, I don’t know where it is on the totem pole, but we’re pretty please where we are with that.”

* On productivity from the leadoff spot: “Both Shane and Jimmy were better players than they performed the last few years. We would like more out of the spot. Jimmy has done in it in the past. Shane is not as proven … There is not a reason [Jimmy] can’t get back to being as productive a player as he has been in the past.”

* On the offensive issues: “I don’t think they have to change their style of hitting. I think, though, we have to have a little more consistent approach as far as what we can expect from them. We asked [Greg Gross] back and I think he made some strides over the last couple of months of the season gaining their trust and their understanding of what he preaches and what Charlie preaches. I think we are on the right path.”

* On the offensive issues specifically in the playoffs: “This happens sometimes. There are blips in the screen where guys don’t have good years. We didn’t have in the course of the playoffs where one player was really hot. Cody Ross, obviously, was really hot for the Giants. We didn’t have that guy step up and really do it. That really hurt.”

* On the Giants: Amaro said he thought the “Giants were getting slighted here” and that “the Giants played better baseball.”


 

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