NASHVILLE, Tenn. - About an hour after the latest free-agent outfielder on his radar committed to a home without a Philadelphia-area zip code, Ruben Amaro Jr. found a comfortable seat inside the Phillies' suite at the Opryland Hotel.
He leaned back on the couch and answered questions with ease. He didn't look like an anxious general manager in the wake of his latest swing and miss at a free-agent centerfielder.
Looks, of course, can be deceiving.
"I hope we'll make [our fans] a little less anxious come April 1," Amaro said of the public perception that the Phils need to act fast. "They're not nearly as anxious as I am."
And so on Dec. 3, exactly 2 months since their season ended in Washington, the Phillies' roster was unchanged. Despite admitting that he'd like to add at least two regular position players this winter - either two outfielders or an outfielder and a third baseman - Amaro hadn't added either after the first day of the winter meetings.
On Monday, centerfielder Angel Pagan signed a 4-year, $40 million contract to remain in San Francisco, less than a week after B.J. Upton inked a 5-year, $75.25 deal with Atlanta.
"It's part of the process," Amaro said. "We liked both players, but it's a part of it."
The urgency that some fans have voiced - listen to talk radio, log into a Twitter feed - is not shared by Amaro. He said he's comfortable that there are still "good options" available.
Shortly after Amaro's meeting with the local press corps, Ken Rosenthal of foxsports.com reported that the Phils had talks with the Colorado Rockies regarding centerfielder Dexter Fowler, and MLB.com reporter T.R. Sullivan, who broke the Cliff Lee signing two winters ago, said the Phils "had interest" in Texas Rangers infielder Michael Young.
Both of those players would have to be acquired via trade. As for the free-agent market, Amaro was never overly impressed from the get-go.
"We didn't really have a Plan A," Amaro said. "We had like 10 Plan Bs because, to be frank with you, I just didn't think that the marketplace was all that strong in the beginning. There was not a comparable to [Jonathan] Papelbon out there. There really wasn't.
"There were some good players out there, and there still are some good players out there, but I don't know there's a difference-maker."
"Maybe one," he added.
All 13 people in the room immediately identified the player without anyone saying the name out loud: Josh Hamilton.
Amaro was asked if he was "in" on that difference-maker.
"Come on. Next question," he said.
With the centerfield options dwindling - Michael Bourn and Shane Victorino are the only high-profile centerfielders left on the free-agent market - Amaro did say the possibility existed that the Phils could allocate money into a corner outfield position. Hamilton has played all three outfield positions, but many view his future in one of the corner spots.
Although he is clearly the most talented offensive free agent this winter, Hamilton brings some baggage (substance-abuse history) and his bat somewhat disappeared in the final 4 months of last season. His numbers after Memorial Day (.247, .323 OBP, .820 OPS, 23 homers, 49 extra-base hits) were comparable to Jimmy Rollins in the same time frame (.261/.330/.823, 22 homers, 53 EBH).
But the 31-year-old Hamilton also has hit .313 with a .952 OPS and a 162-game average of 41 home runs and 130 RBI in the last three seasons. He'd clearly help a middle of the order that might not be able to rely on the injury-plagued Chase Utley and declining Ryan Howard anymore.
Amaro was asked if he met with Hamilton in Nashville.
"No," he said. "But I wouldn't tell you if I did."
Nick Swisher is another accomplished, free-agent, corner outfield bat. Ditto Cody Ross, Ryan Ludwick and Ichiro Suzuki.
Josh Willingham and Michael Cuddyer are corner outfielders who could come available in trade. Other centerfield options, in addition to Bourn (free agent), Victorino (free agent) and Fowler (trade), include Coco Crisp (trade), Nyjer Morgan (free agent) and possibly Boston's Jacoby Ellsbury (trade).
Bourn is an interesting name for a couple of reasons. He was drafted and developed by the Phillies before being shipped to Houston in the Brad Lidge trade and, like the Phils, his options are dwindling.
When the market opened, it looked as if Bourn and agent Scott Boras could cash in with a deal perhaps more lucrative than the one Upton signed. But a month into the free-agent period, fewer teams need centerfielders, meaning the supply-and-demand factor could bring his price down.
"There are only so many chairs to sit in," Amaro said.