General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. spoke for a half hour Monday at Citizens Bank Park to issue his state of the team address as the Phillies head into the off-season without a pennant for the first time in three years.
He had plenty of interesting things to say.
"I think there are three elements we have to be ready to handle this off-season. One is our six free agents," Amaro said. "We have to deal with those. I think we have to deal with our age because we're starting to move past and into the prime ages of production. And I think we have to address the bullpen because that's something that could have been an Achilles' heel. They ended up performing very well because our starters went deep into games."
The age comments were intriguing because, really, it hasn't been discussed much publicly by the front office.
"Do I think about the age? I do," Amaro said. "Do we have to start thinking about filtering some youth into our club? Yes, I believe that too. But at the same time, we want to be a contender again. So we have to balance those two things."
Obviously, most of the talking points began and ended with Jayson Werth, who is a free agent.
"I haven't had any discussions with Scott [Boras] yet," Amaro said. "I obviously will over the next 48 hours, we will make contact. I guess the following question is, do we have enough money to do it? And would we like to bring him back? I think the answer to both questions is yes. However, that will all kind of depend on what the ask is and ultimately how that will affect us with other possible moves to do it."
Boras said during the season Werth was having a "franchise-type season." Amaro didn't necessarily agree.
"Jayson had a good year," he said. "It wasn't an extraordinary year. He had a tough time with men on in scoring position. It wasn't as productive a year as he's had in the past. But I think if he's not with us, there are players we can either acquire or are in our own organization that can help us."
If the Phillies try to sign Werth, how difficult is it to do other things?
"Well, it becomes difficult if you don't move other pieces. ... We might have to make other adjustments."
That's the only way you could re-sign Werth?
If Werth leaves, Amaro said the job would not be handed to rookie Domonic Brown.
"We have not given the job to Domonic Brown," he said. "He's been told that, flat out. He's going to have to earn a spot on our club next year. He's going to winter ball. A lot of it will depend on what the status is with Jayson."
Other things to note...
-- Amaro said the team will likely not negotiate with Jimmy Rollins this off-season. Rollins is entering the final season of his contract.
"I think we'll probably let things, at this time, play out," Amaro said.
-- Charlie Manuel is also going into a contract year and the GM said that will be taken care of at some time this off-season.
"At some point, we will probably address it with Charlie," Amaro said. "We have not. I've asked all the coaches back."
-- Assistant general manager Chuck LaMar said first base prospect Jonathan Singleton's experiment in the outfield during Fall Instructional League went so well that he will begin next season as the left fielder at single-A Clearwater.
-- And as for the mood around the club, Amaro had this to say:
"I think this one stung pretty good. I think the players really believed they were going to be World Series champions. I think they'll be chomping at the bit come spring."
Read Tuesday's Inquirer for much, much more...
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