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Will Ruben Amaro's change in philosophy benefit Phillies in 2013?


Just prior to trading for outfielder Ben Revere  and landing Michael Young from the Rangers last week, the Phillies had been eerily quiet on the transactions front. The team followed up with more moves on Saturday, when it was announced they had signed reliever Mike Adams and former public enemy No. 1 John Lannan.  

Now I know what you’re thinking. These aren’t exactly the major blockbuster deals Ruben Amaro has been known to make during this time of the year. There’s no Roy Halladay-ish type trade, no signing of Cliff Lee. Not that the Phillies couldn’t use a big-name free agent to give the team a boost, but the Phillies have become victim to the eventual crux of long term deals given to aging superstars. And because of this, Amaro is filling these proverbial team holes the best way he sees fit from a  financial standpoint.

Revere is a LOT cheaper than B.J. Upton or a Josh Hamilton. As talented as Hamilton is, it’s probably not logical to give yet another Phillie $25 million a year.  Revere’s salary in 2012 was a little under $500,000. The Phillies have to get younger sometime, and they think Revere might be one of those players who can help them in that regard.

Then you have Young, who at this stage of his career is the exact opposite of his last name. Young will be 37 in October and played all of 25 games last year at third base. The Rangers also agreed to pay $10 million of Young’s $16 million salary. While Kevin Frandsen is a serviceable player, the team needs a veteran to man the hot corner. Kevin Youkilis is three years younger and got a $12 million dollar deal from the Yankees.

Unlike Young however, isn’t exactly known for being a good clubhouse presence. While me may not be the Michael Young of old (no pun intended), he could be a nice addition to the Phillies for an affordable price.

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Young's former Rangers teammate Mike Adams, who signed a two-year deal with the Phightins worth $12 million last weekend, had been pursued by the Phillies on different occasions over the years. When Adams pitched for the Padres, he and Heath Bell were a pretty sweet combination when it came time to closing games. Over the last three years, however, Adams’ fastball seems to have diminished. To be fair, this might be due in large part to thoracic outlet syndrome, which has been known to cause numbness in your arms as well as affect your neck, back, and shoulder. The Phillies lost 16 games last season when they carried a lead into the seventh inning or later. Adams, who is coming off surgery for his previously mentioned medical ailment and still needs to pass a physical, could be part of a nasty one-two punch with Jonathan Papelbon in the eighth-ninth inPhoto: hardballtalk.nbcsports.comning if he regains his form.

I think it’s safe to say that, until yesterday, nobody ever thought they would see John Lannan in a Phillies uniform, but with Vance Worley included in the Revere deal, the Phils’ have need for a fifth starter. Lannan, who is best known to Phillies fans for breaking Chase Utley’s hand and then plunking Ryan Howard during his major league debut in 2007, has a 3-13 career record against the Phightins, so if you can’t beat ‘em, I guess he figured he’d join ‘em.

In all actuality, Lannan’s career record of 42-52 with a 4.01 ERA might be better than it appears because some of those Nationals teams from previous years were outright awful. Lannan will most likely compete with Jonathan Pettibone and Tyler Cloyd for that final rotation spot, but with a $2.5 million salary, it’s his spot to lose going into spring training.  

Can Revere become the player the Phillies need him to be? Will Young play like he’s.....young? Will Adams once again become a dominant set-up man? Will Lannan pitch well with a half-decent team? Needless to say, these four recent additions to the Phillies all come with question marks. But then again, all you have to do baseball these days is just get to the playoffs and it’s a crapshoot. The Giants squeaked into the playoffs two out of the last three years, and they now have more championships than the Phillies do since 2008. Go figure.

Sure, it’s probably more out of necessity than anything, but time will tell if Amaro’s moves will prove beneficial for this aging Phillies team, or if injuries and unexpected circumstances make 2013 another throwaway year.


Contact Joe Vallee at jvallee@philly2philly.com

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