Saturday, February 6, 2016

Bill Giles: 'This is the most difficult July I have ever seen'

Phillies chairman Bill Giles is just as curious as you: He sees the trade-deadline decisions that face his team as the most difficult yet.

Bill Giles: 'This is the most difficult July I have ever seen'

Jimmy Rollins (left), Michael Young (center) and Chase Utley (right). (David Maialetti/Staff Photographer)
Jimmy Rollins (left), Michael Young (center) and Chase Utley (right). (David Maialetti/Staff Photographer)

NEW YORK — Bill Giles watches from the periphery now; he attends the All-Star Game every summer to represent the National League as its honorary president. He is the chairman of the Phillies, although his role is reduced with age. And yet, Giles is the soul of the Phillies, the man who organized the current ownership group into purchasing the team for $32.5 million in 1981.

He sees a team mired in limbo.

"I used to be very involved in making decisions and working with the general manager and this is the most difficult last two weeks in July I have ever seen," Giles, 78, said. "I haven't talked to Ruben (Amaro Jr.) lately. He has some tough decisions what to do with all the guys."

Giles mentioned the familiar names: Chase Utley, Carlos Ruiz, Michael Young, Delmon Young and Cliff Lee. He separated Utley and Ruiz from the group and said he is "worrying a lot" about their futures with the club. He added Amaro has not yet decided his strategy.

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"I am rooting for Chase to be with us, I will tell you that," Giles said. "He is a quality person and has done so much for this organization.

"You have to give him some points for nostalgia and fan enjoyment. I have always been a big guy in trying to get players who are fun to watch like John Kruk was, and the sex appeal of Utley and [Ryan] Howard and these guys. I am just hoping we get better in the second half."

Utley is a free agent at season's end. If the team retains him, they will almost certainly extend a qualifying offer to the second baseman, which would guarantee a high compensatory draft pick if Utley signs elsewhere.

Amaro has said he views Utley as a "Phillie for life." He has not eliminated the possibility of trading Utley, though.

Said Giles: "It will be an interesting two weeks."

Have a question? Send it to Matt Gelb's Mailbag.

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