NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Ruben Amaro Jr. was rather upbeat Monday less than an hour after another outfield target, Angel Pagan, was scooped off the market.
"We move on," Amaro said.
The Phillies GM said he still prefers to sign a centerfielder rather than trade for one. The pool has shrunk to Michael Bourn and Shane Victorino. Dexter Fowler is a trade candidate, and as FOXSports.com reported, the Rockies are looking for young pitching. That is a strength of the organization.
But Amaro was not overly concerned about failing to sign Pagan or B.J. Upton.
"We didn't really have a Plan A," Amaro said. "We had like 10 Plan B's 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."
Amaro smirked. He was talking about Josh Hamilton, the former MVP slugger, without mentioning him by name.
Are the Phillies in on said "difference maker?"
"Come on," Amaro said. "Next question."
The exchange was telling.
When asked if he had met with Hamilton, who is believed to be in the Nashville area this week, Amaro said, "No. But I wouldn't tell you if I did." When asked if he had met with Hamilton's agent, Michael Moye, Amaro said, "No. But I wouldn't tell you if I did."
Hamilton is believed to be seeking at least a five-year deal. His former team, the Texas Rangers, expect a final shot at Hamilton even if he goes shopping elsewhere.
The 31-year-old outfielder carries great risk, of course. His history of drug and alcohol abuse is long documented. ESPN.com reported the Phillies are "wary" of said problems.
But chatter at these winter meetings has pegged the Phillies as possible suitors because of Amaro's willingness (and necessity) to make a splash. Moye, about as private as player agents come, would make for a perfect quiet negotiating partner.
An idea that was ridiculous a month ago is less as such while other options sign elsewhere.