In an interview on WIP Tuesday morning, Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. continued to voice a change in what has been an optimistic perspective on the future of his last place team.
Amaro has come under fire during the Phillies' two-year, and seemingly now three-year, absence from the playoffs after a five-year run of division titles. Most recently, he passed the blame from himself to other general managers when asked about his lack of action in an active market leading up to the MLB trade deadline. Tuesday morning, however, it seemed reality had taken its course.
“We may have to step backwards to step forwards and that’s also part of the plan here, is to understand that—listen, we may not be a contender in ’15 and ’16,” Amaro said to host Angelo Cataldi. “And to try to get back to where we need to be in ’17 or ’18. It may just be a one year, you know, glitch. It may be two years, but we are open and really understand that the fact that listen, we have not played well. We have not done what is necessary to be a contender this year. We’re going to have to make changes to get better.”
Amaro made similar statements in early July. On Tuesday, he hinted at the various directions the team may go in, following another dismal season.
“I mean, obviously we’re going to be hopeful that we can do some things internally," Amaro said. "We’re looking into the Cuban market, we’re looking into a variety of different ways to improve the club. And it may be through trades, it may be through signings.”
The statements seem to contradict what Amaro told Jonathan Papelbon about the club's future when the closer expressed the desire to leave and pitch for a contending team.
"Ruben promised me that going forward we were still going to compete," Papelbon said recently. "No matter what it took to put a winning product on the field, he was going to do it. . . . He promised me that we were going to compete year after year and there's no rebuilding here with the Phillies."