Phillies fans do not have much to be thankful for. They just watched the coveted Cuban power-hitting outfielder Yasmany Tomas get snatched up by the Arizona Diamondbacks. Like the Phils, the D-backs are a last place team looking to make improvements, but they are nowhere near as offensively starved as the Phils. With this move, they have a solid middle of the order lineup that includes Tomas, Mark Trumbo and All-Star Paul Goldschmidt. At six years, 68.5 million, Tomas could be a huge bargain. The Phillies front office “cooled” on the slugger citing his defense and conditioning, and chose instead to stare blankly at its barren minor league system devoid of power hitters.
When asked about Tomas at the General Managers Meeting, Ruben Amaro Jr. sounded like a spoiled rich kid who didn’t want his peers to think he was jealous of their Christmas gifts. “Just because one guy did well signed from one country doesn’t necessarily mean the next guy is going to do well…It’s like saying, ‘This Dominican player played real well one time so we’ve got to sign Dominican players.’ It’s ridiculous.” Is that the tone and commentary of a professional? No wonder it seems like Amaro has quickly become the GM that others try to avoid. He seems to be trying to make up for the lopsided trades of Hunter Pence and Shane Victorino by setting ridiculously high prices on who is left. The Yankees checked in on Rollins and quickly left that conversation. With power at a premium, it seems Marlon Byrd and even Ryan Howard should be creating more buzz. Now that Russell Martin has signed, Amaro should be getting plenty of calls about Carlos Ruiz. If he continues to present himself like a frustrated teenager, those conversations will most likely not be very productive.
And then there is Cole. No matter how many Max Sherzers are on the free-agent market, a 30-year-old left-handed starter with a World Series MVP award in his back pocket is a major attraction. The Phillies are more than happy to eat salary for the right prospects, so Hamels can be an affordable ace for a team with the right farm system. Most signs point to the Red Sox, but Hamels probably would love to pitch on the West Coast, so Amaro will probably hear offers from the Padres and Giants. No matter how many offers he gets, Amaro needs to get the Hamels trade done. It provides hope for the organization’s future, and the future of his career. Fans can watch Cole chase another title with another team confidently as the prospects he netted develop. Ruben can still sell a few tickets as fans come to watch Chase Utley grind and Jimmy Rollins flash his glove and smile for a bit longer until their bittersweet retirement ceremonies at Citizens Bank Park. Hopefully Ruben gets in with the cool kids again and can come back from the Winter Meetings with a sleigh-full of offers of young talent and good cheer.