NASHVILLE, Tenn. — It's December 3 and Phillies fans are antsy. Perhaps it's the byproduct of a city's morose football team, or that two division rivals have upgraded at a position where the Phillies crave improvement.
Ruben Amaro Jr. has sobering news for you.
"We may be waiting until January or February or March to fill all our needs," Amaro said this weekend. "I'm good to take as long as it takes. I'll keep looking for things as long as we feel it is the right thing to do for our club in the short term and the long term."
That is the public face Amaro has adopted, and generally he has swayed from it.
Maybe, though, it's time for a history lesson. Amaro is known as an aggressive shopper. But, you know, it's only Dec. 3. Here is Amaro's activity in previous winters before Dec. 3:
2011: Jim Thome (Nov. 4), Jonathan Papelbon (Nov. 14), Brian Schneider (Nov. 17), Ty Wigginton (Nov. 20 trade)
2010: Jose Contreras (Nov. 15)
2009: Juan Castro (Nov. 24), Brian Schneider (Dec. 1)
This winter, which has thus far featured the re-signing of Kevin Frandsen, does not greatly differ. Amaro was especially quick last winter, when he locked up Papelbon to the richest deal ever signed by a reliever. The others? Not so much.
It's interesting to see Amaro bemoaned for a lack of activity. Sure, it's understandable fans are restless because of the Phillies' needs. (And there are many.) Here's guessing some of them have criticized Amaro for overspending instead of allowing the market to form. (Papelbon, Raul Ibanez, Ryan Howard come to mind.)
Amaro has preached patience from the start of this offseason. It was difficult to take at face value because of his history. Maybe there are fireworks here in Nashville. Maybe not.
Either way, someone will be upset.