The Philadelphia Phillies and their general manager, Ruben Amaro Jr., conducted themselves at the 2013 Major League Baseball winter meetings like a deadbeat dad at Christmas.
Maybe they had great intentions. Maybe they had big plans.
But due to a lack of funds (lost long ago on bad investments) and a dearth of ingenuity, the present that Phillies fans got from their team from this December boondoggle was the equivalent of a convenience store bag of pork rinds bought at 10 p.m. on Christmas Eve.
Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com had the news first:
Source: Phils agreement is with Roberto Hernandez. Formerly Fausto Carmona.— Jim Salisbury (@JSalisburyCSN) December 12, 2013
Per Steve Adams of mlbtraderumors.com, "Hernandez will receive a $4.5 million guarantee, and his contract contains another $1.5 million worth of incentives."
Adams then recited the very *whatever* statistics Hernandez posted as a Tampa Bay Ray in 2013: "The 33-year-old Hernandez pitched to a 4.89 ERA with 6.7 K/9, 2.3 BB/9 and a healthy 53.2 percent ground-ball rate in 151 innings, marking his first full season since 2011."
Wow, Dad, thanks for the fifth starter! Or probably the fourth starter given the present state of the Phillies rotation.
This news has to come as an enormous letdown to Phillies fans who heard all sorts of wild speculation this week about big pieces that could be coming or going.
Per Todd Zolecki of MLB.com, Amaro Jr. spent as much time "dismissing or downplaying rumors involving Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, Domonic Brown and Jonathan Papelbon" as he did saying anything substantive.
When word surfaced about Amaro Jr. shopping Hamels and Lee, hardballtalk.nbcsports.com's Craig Calcaterra said it best: "If someone — anyone — has a clue what the Phillies’ grand plan is, I’d love to hear it. I’m sure anyone would."
Never mind, though, because Hamels, Lee, Brown, Papelbon and everyone else who began this week as Phillies property remains Phillies property.
So, to paraphrase Rick Pitino, Matt Kemp is not walking through that door. David Price is not walking through that door. Not even Ervin Santana is walking through that door.
Comedian Sarah Silverman said it best on her Twitter feed the other day. "It's the thought that counts," Silverman tweeted, "unless that thought is '(screw) it—it's the thought that counts.'"
That is exactly how Phillies fans will feel after the team leaves Lake Buena Vista, Fla. with one inexpensive, low-impact free-agent signing and without consummating a blockbuster deal.
The grade for the Phillies and Amaro Jr. is "D" as in "deadbeat" and "dad."
Enjoy your pork rinds, Phillies fans.