Montgomery shows cautious optimism as the trade deadline approaches

Phillies president and chief executive officer David Montgomery. (Gene J. Puskar/AP file photo)

READING -- David Montgomery, the Phillies general partner, president and chief executive officer, feels that the best-case scenario would be for the Phillies to make another run at a playoff berth with the current group.

He also understands that several different situations could unfold before the July 31 trade deadline. The Phillies are 48-48, and are 5.5 games out of the second wild card and 6.5 games behind Atlanta in the N.L. East. They have 66 games to play and at this point remain in playoff contention.

Yet there are 10 games left until the trade deadline, including a nine-game road trip that begins on Friday at Citi Field against the New York Mets and continues in St. Louis and Detroit. The Phillies then host San Francisco on July 30, the day before the deadline.

Montgomery says he doesn’t envy the job that general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. has to do at the deadline.


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“It’s a little early to judge what this year is going to be,” Montgomery said following Reading’s 6-5 win over the Trenton Thunder on Wednesday. “With all that uncertainty, it makes you think about all sorts of possibilities and I know that is how Ruben is approaching things.”

He added that so much goes into the decision as whether to be a buyer or seller.

“You try to do what is right for several constituencies, one is you try to do what is right for the group in the clubhouse, “Montgomery said. “As long as they show they feel they have an opportunity to make something out of this year, we should be supporting that if at all possible. You certainly want to send that message to your fans as well.”

He understands why teams wait until the last moment to make trades. That’s because a team can leap into playoff contention with a good week-and-a-half.

The Phillies have won four straight series, going 9-4 in that span.

“Everybody acts like it is tomorrow but it is two weeks away,” he said about the trade deadline.

And it’s a time that creates plenty of angst.

“I will be honest, July 31 isn’t really my favorite time of the year because it becomes an anxious time not for those of us in front office, but for the player population,” Montgomery said.

One of those players, Shane Victorino, was dealt last season to the Los Angeles Dodgers at the trade deadline.

“Last year for example it was very tough for me to say goodbye to Shane Victorino, who represented us so well on the field but also so well off the field,” Montgomery said. “And so you hope that we respond well and we’re still feeling good about things two weeks from now and see what we can do.”

Montgomery is encouraged by the improvement the Phillies have shown recently and he is glad that the players have made it difficult on management with how well they have played lately.

“Had we limped into the break as opposed to the way we played, maybe we would feel differently, but it gives you some optimism,” he said. “We know we are going to a couple of tough places where obviously, playing the Cardinals and Tigers on the road is a challenge and I am sure we are going to see a couple of those young starters in New York.”

His level of optimism is certainly higher than it was 13 games ago.

“The opportunity lies ahead,” he said. “Now we will see if we can take advantage of it.”