Sometimes, Ruben Amaro Jr. was saying, it is the little deals that make all the difference. Take Matt Stairs.
At the end of August, the Phillies traded a player-to-be-named - who turned out to be pitcher Fabio Castro - to the Toronto Blue Jays for Stairs. It was seen as a nothing deal, a complete yawner.
And now . . .
"We talk about it all the time - these kinds of moves matter,'' said Amaro, the Phillies' assistant general manager. He was on the Phillies' team bus, headed back to the hotel, headed back after Stairs hit the two-run homer that beat the Los Angeles Dodgers, 7-5, giving the Phils a 3-1 lead in the National League Championship Series.
"A lot of times, it's not necessarily the principal pieces that get the job done. It's the support players. Pat [general manager Pat Gillick] is very good at this. He knows how to build a team. It's the J.C. Romeros and the Matt Stairs and the Chad Durbins and the Jayson Werths that end up being more important than people realize when the deals are made.
"It's Pat,'' Amaro said. "He's been making moves like this his whole career. He knows how to build a roster. ''
What did they see in the 40-year-old Stairs, who is with his 11th team?
"We've been interested in him, really, for more than 1 or 2 years,'' Amaro said. "He is a very professional lefthanded bat off the bench - a professional hitter and a professional person. ''
And what did Toronto see in Castro.
"They were moving in a different direction,'' he said. "They liked the player they were getting. They had asked about Castro in the past - they were kind of sweet on him.They got a young, lefthanded arm for a guy who was an extra guy for them. They felt it was the right thing to do.
"And with Matt, collectively, we felt if we could get a legitimate threat like that off the bench, it could change the complexion of a game. And I guess he just did. ''
MATTHEW WADE STAIRS
Bats: Left. Throws: Right
Hgt.: 5-9 Wgt: 215
Born: Feb. 27, 1968 Age: 40
Birthplace: St. John, New Brunswick
Resides: Bangor, Maine
Drafted: Signed by Expos as a non-drafted free agent, Jan. 17, 1989
ML Debut: May 29, 1992.
Acquired: From Toronto Blue Jays for player to be named later (Fabio Castro), Aug. 30, 2008
Career: A .266 career regular-season hitter with 11 teams.
Played With: Expos, Red Sox, Athletics, Cubs, Brewers, Pirates, Royals, Rangers, Tigers, Blue Jays, Phillies.
Career HR (Season). . . 254 (4937 AB)
Career HR (Playoffs). . . 1 (13 AB)
Pinch-Hit HR (Includes Playoffs). . . 15
2008 Season. . . .294 (5-17), 2 HR, 5 RBI
Postseason. . . .333 (1-3), 1 HR, 2 RBI