Monday, September 22, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Phillies remain shackled to their past

The deadline came. The deadline went. The Phillies did nothing. Enjoy the rest of the season.

Phillies remain shackled to their past

Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr.
Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

The only flurry came just before 2 pm, reporting disguised as reading Twitter. It said breathlessly -- is there an emoticon for breathlessness? -- that Marlon Byrd had been traded to the Yankees. But it was a fake Twitter account that started it all and the gullible were chastised by a series of quick denials.

In the end, it was just a belch in the wind -- for the day, for the season, an all-purpose metaphor. The Phillies did nothing at the trade deadline, just as they did nothing at the trade deadline last year. And now we wait a little longer -- for the month of August, when trades can and do happen after waivers are obtained on a player, and for the off-season after that.

There undoubtedly are very good reasons why the Phillies were inactive at the deadline. It is their business to know the market for trades, and it is something that none of us is in a position to criticize. We don’t know who might have been available for Byrd, or A.J. Burnett, or any of them. We can pretend, and read Twitter, but we really don’t know -- not for sure. Only Ruben Amaro Jr. and the people on the other end of his phone conversations know the truth.

That the Phillies need to rebuild severely goes without saying. That they need to find a way to trade old, expensive players for younger players and prospects -- in a world where nothing is more valuable than a young player with a controllable contract -- is the obvious conundrum. And it might very well be true that the Phillies will be in a better position to solve this riddle in the off-season, when teams have more money to work with and the Phillies have more time to be creative.

More coverage
 
Amaro surprised by lack of action at trade deadline
 
Phillies are broken beyond repair
 
Lack of moves an indictment of Amaro's roster
 
A's trade Cespedes to Sox for Lester, Gomes
 
Recap: Rundown of deadline deals
 
POLL: Thoughts on the Phillies standing pat?
Are you happy the Phillies were silent at the trade deadline?
Yes. I don't Ruben making any more personnel decisions.
No way. They needed to do something ... anything!
Would it really have made a difference?

They could be doing the right thing here, however frustrating it is. They really could.

But even if what they are doing is right, and even if it is true that more of a market will develop in the off-season, the problem is simple: you are being asked to trust the Phillies for a few more months and you stopped trusting them a long time ago.

This is supposed to be fun, not a chore. But this is what we are left with: a ballpark in which it will be safe to set off artillery in September without fear of injuring anyone, followed by an October about which you could not give a rip, followed by 2 months of decisions that will go a long way toward deciding the future of the franchise. 

Today could have been the head start on that future. Instead, for a few more weeks and months, the Phillies remain shackled to their past.

About this blog
Rich Hofmann arrived at the Daily News in 1980 for a job whose status was officially designated as "full-time, temporary." A senior at Penn at the time, he was hired to fill in on the copy desk during a staff illness. The notion of him covering the Eagles or being a columnist did not exist in anyone's imagination. It was supposed to be six weeks and out, but he never left. It is only one of the reasons why so many people have concerns about him as a potential house guest. Rich has blogged the postseasons of the Flyers and Eagles. E-mail Rich at hofmanr@phillynews.com

Rich Hofmann Daily News Sports Columnist
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