If Ruben Amaro ever rules the world — humor me for a second — I imagine his first act will be to wipe away the 12-month calendar system and have all 365 days of the year be known as July 29th.
Paul Holmgren and the date June 23rd became synonymous for many Flyers fans with the club making big trades in both 2011 and 2012. The lockout didn’t give Homer a chance to keep the streak alive in 2013, but Ron Hextall started it up again a month ago.
The Flyers’ June 23rd is Amaro’s July 29th. It just happens to date back a bit further.
A quick recap:
- July 29, 2009 — Traded pitcher Jason Knapp, pitcher Carlos Carrasco, catcher Lou Marson, and shortstop Jason Donald to the Indians for Cliff Lee and Ben Francisco.
- July 29, 2010 — Traded pitcher J.A. Happ, shortstop Jonathan Villar, and outfielder Anthony Gose to the Astros for Roy Oswalt.
- July 29, 2011 — Traded pitcher Jarred Cosart, pitcher Josh Zeid, first basemen Jonathan Singleton, and outfielder Domingo Santana for Hunter Pence.
Even though there is no true link to this pattern other than the dates falling on a busy transaction time in the sport, you start to believe there’s really something to the trend.
The first two years, at least, of this timeline should serve as a reminder that Ruben Amaro was once pretty good at his job. The Lee trade was absolute highway robbery. It put the Phillies two wins away from repeating as World Series champions and not one of those four prospects panned out. Knapp, considered the centerpiece of the deal by many pundits, never even made it to the show.
The 2010 trade with the Astos didn’t quite measure up with 2009. Gose and Villar are still only 23 years old. The jury is out as to what type of players they become but both are receiving playing time (with Gose now on the Blue Jays).
Happ has survived in the back end of the Blue Jays rotation most of the season. Oswalt hasn’t pitched for the Phillies since 2011, but he was fantastic in 2010 when they acquired him and was instrumental in the August and September surge to make the playoffs.
It wasn’t a slam dunk, but anyone who big time rips Amaro over this is subscribing to some major revisionist history.
The same unfortunately cannot be said for 2011. Cosart and Singleton look like future stars and including Domingo Santana in the deal may haunt the Phillies for years to come. Pence was great in two months with the team but they only won two games in October, and he didn’t really add much that wasn’t already there. Worst of all, Amaro got much less than what he originally gave up when he shipped Pence off to San Francisco a year later.
The difference between now and those three trades is obviously that the Phillies were all-in buyers, and currently they’re on the opposite end of the spectrum as sellers. That partly explains why there is no edition to the July 29 timeline for 2012 and 2013.
I provided my take on Amaro and the Phillies approximately two months ago in preparation for this week. Things are slightly different in that I didn’t think Cliff Lee would be on the disabled list for so long, but if interested, you can read my original thoughts here.
Now, I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if nothing happens because outside of maybe Marlon Byrd and Antonio Bastardo, Amaro doesn’t have many assets to offer. Value is bogged down by large contracts, vesting options, and no-trade clauses.
There is a chance the 4 p.m. Thursday deadline passes without the Phillies doing anything, but if Amaro does make a blockbuster move, history suggests it may happen today.