Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Amaro talks free agents, Utley, Howard and more

With less than two months until spring training, Phils GM Ruben Amaro Jr. updates status of Chase Utley and Ryan Howard.

Amaro talks free agents, Utley, Howard and more


The Phillies introduced two new players on Tuesday - third baseman Michael Young and starting pitcher John Lannan.

Afterward, general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. answered several questions that would make the gathering kind of qualify as his "State of the Offseason" as Christmas nears.

Here is some of what Amaro had to say:

His thoughts on Michael Young, third baseman:  "As far as Mike playing third base, we had enough historical information. It wasn’t that long ago when we had these kinds of questions about Placido Polanco. He had been playing second base at a very high level. I know Michael at various parts of his career has been a Gold Glove caliber defender. For him to go back to third base, its not a great concern of ours. We feel like that he’s going to be able to do that and handle it fine.

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On the state of finding another outfielder this winter: "We’re still trolling through the possibility of adding another piece there. And we’re also considering the possibility with a double platoon. That’s a possibility as well. We’ve done some things that have helped our club at a couple of different levels. I don’t think the process of trying to help improve our club stops until the end of the season."

On using the phrase "cautiously optimistic" regarding Chase Utley, and what that means: "When a guy is down for two years and doesn’t play full seasons in the two years prior you have to be a little concerned. But we think Chase has learned and we have learned to manage whatever he’s got going on in his knees pretty well. I think he has a pretty good understanding of it, we have a pretty good understanding of it and I think he’s going to be fine. But you just never know. Obviously he’s got knee issues. Hopefully he’ll be able to put himself in the position – we think he’s put himself in the position to be ready to go out of the chute this spring. But that remains to be seen. We’ll see what happens."

On Ryan Howard's progression from the Achilles injury: "I think Ryan right now, he’s been in the process of still getting 100 percent strength, he was never really at 100 percent, I don’t know how close he’ll be when spring starts. But typically it takes a full year to gain your full strength capacity with an injury like that, and I think he’s getting closer to that. From what Ryan was doing prior to his wedding and his honeymoon, he was doing well. I think he continued that program when he went on his honeymoon. We’ve been monitoring him and he’s seemed to be doing well. We’ll find out more once he gets back."

On whether draft pick compensation is a concern when scouring free agent market, as Phils hold 16th overall pick: "If we think it s the right guy to sign we ll sign him. I mean, a lot of it depends. First-round picks are important, but at the same time if we feel like short term, long term we should go that route we re still trying to figure it out."

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