The Philadelphia Phillies have loudly announced through their silence and inactivity at the trade deadline that they are a franchise without a plan.
Or a brain.
General manager Ruben Amaro, Jr., soon to be known as "lame duck GM Ruben Amaro, Jr.," did as good a job at the just-passed deadline as you did.
You did nothing to make the Phillies better, and neither did he. Of course, it is not your job to improve the Phillies' roster for either this season or future seasons.
For now, at least, it is his job. His inexcusable inaction at the trade deadline, though, suggests that it may not be his job all that much longer.
The prevailing belief about the Phillies' failure to move even one expensive veteran player for younger, cheaper help is that the Phillies wanted too much for the players other teams had interest in.
Calling out the Phillies as the primary loser of the trade deadline, ESPN.com's Jayson Stark indicated that other general managers were put off by Amaro, Jr.'s insistence for premium return on players like Cliff Lee.
Worse still, Amaro, Jr. steadfastly maintained that the Phillies would not pay any of Lee's exorbitant contract to make a deal happen.
Lee had more than enough value to return the types of prospects Amaro, Jr. allegedly wanted (Xander Bogaerts from the Boston Red Sox for example), but not if the team getting Lee would be on the hook for upwards of $75 million in the next three seasons.
Amaro, Jr. wanted the best of both worlds in a Lee deal, and thus came away with no deal at all.
All right, so maybe holding on to Lee was a good idea.
But there is no reason or excuse for Michael Young or Carlos Ruiz to still be playing in Philadelphia.
Young and Ruiz are middle-aged players with playoff experience who were attractive to teams in contention.
And that is how, as Stark put it: "Shockingly, after an eight-game cliff-dive...they still managed to stagger to the deadline tape without GM Ruben Amaro Jr. pulling off a single deal."
So Amaro, Jr. and the Phillies (and their fans) pick up in August where their abysmal July left them off.
Twelve and a half games out of first place in the National League East division.
Nine games out of a wild card berth, with three teams ahead of them.
Hey, at least Phillies fans will get to watch Ruiz try to add to his 2013 total of one home run for the next two months.
Ruben Amaro, Jr.'s trade deadline performance, in school terms, does not even merit an "F." Only a grade of "incomplete" fits.
Because failure implies effort.
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