Two years ago, Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria revamped his roster with three blockbuster trades that shipped five stars out of Florida. It didn’t take him long to realize his club needed a change, and without breaking a sweat, he did just that. Going into the 2015 season, the Marlins now have their young slugger Giancarlo Stanton locked up for over a decade and are looking confident with the additions of Michael Morse, Dee Gordon and Dan Haren.
After three losing seasons and a franchise record payroll, Ruben Amaro Jr. finally started making impact moves last week during the Winter Meetings. But the Phillies’ rebuild has the opposite feel of what happened in Florida. Instead, we must wait for the drama to unfold, slowly. Over a week later, the Jimmy Rollins trade to Los Angeles is not official. When it was reported that Amaro ‘s first step was to trade the centerpiece of Philadelphia’s latest golden era of baseball, I thought: now that’s a statement. The longest tenured athlete in Philadelphia history goes first. It is a sobering message to fans that nostalgia has no place in this business. No one is sacred. But Major League Baseball must cut through its own red tape before approving such a move. It is essentially a three-team trade that involves the Dodgers who are sending Matt Kemp to the Padres in return for three minor leaguers, including pitcher Zack Eflin whom the Dodgers will be sending to Philadelphia. But because of the money exchanging hands, and waiting on the results of Kemp’s potentially shaky physical, Amaro’s message to the fans has become fuzzy. Am I the only one who thinks this storyline deserves a Daytime Emmy?
It seems fitting that the embattled GM’s first move to overhaul an overpaid, underperforming roster sits in limbo. All of the well wishes and farewells to J-Roll from fans on social media now seem presumptuous. It is assumed that the deal will go through, eventually, and Jimmy will hopefully get to chase another ring. In the meantime, with the exception of Antonio Bastardo wearing a Pirates uniform, this Phillies club looks very familiar. Let’s hope there are no surprises waiting for Amaro from MLB or the West Coast, and his message lands loud and clear. It’s time to rebuild-finally.