Phillies GM Ruben Amaro spoke to the media about the Phillies’ position in the market with ten days to go until the trade deadline. Prior to this afternoon’s 5-0 loss to the Mets, the Phillies were again at .500, 6.5 games behind the Braves in the NL East. He talked about the scarcity of capable center fielders and the high price tags on relief pitchers, but also added a seemingly unnecessary snipe at people who have commented on the team’s Minor League system, viewed as among the weaker systems in baseball.
Via Jim Salisbury:
Amaro will be protective of his minor-league prospects when considering trades. The Phils’ system is thin on blue-chippers, but it does have some coveted players. Amaro used the subject of the minor-league system as a springboard to rip those who rate minor-league systems.
“We have some guys that may be available,” Amaro said. “Clubs have asked about some guys that you don’t see on the top 25, top 50 lists of everyone who knows everything about baseball. I said that sarcastically, by the way, because I don’t think people know (crap) about it. You can print that if you’d like.
“There’s just a lot of those lists that come out that make me laugh. I don’t see anyone working for any major-league clubs that do that with those lists. It’s interesting.”
As Eric Longenhagen pointed out on Twitter, Amaro has yet to attend a game at one of his affiliates and is mouthing off despite being the guy behind a system that doesn’t have a capable plug-in center fielder. Amaro very nearly single-handedly ruined Domonic Brown as well. While his overall grade as GM of the Phillies may get an average to slightly above-average mark, his grade on handling the Phillies’ farm system would keep him off of the honor roll. His comments, in context, seem preemptively defensive more than anything.
The Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.
Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”
Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”
The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.
There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.
Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.