For the most part, it's been a mostly quiet off-season for Ruben Amaro Jr. and the Phillies. Despite having several roster holes that need to be filled, the usually-aggressive general manager has yet to make a really big off-season splash.
That changed, to a degree, last week, when he traded for outfielder Ben Revere and infielder Michael Young, in two separate moves designed to address two of the more pressing needs for the team. And while they now have a centerfielder and a third baseman, Amaro still has plenty of work to do before his off-season work can be considered to be done.
First, the team is still in need of an outfielder. While Revere will be a full-time player in 2013, the Phillies are still left with a vacancy in either one of the corner outfield spots. With Domonic Brown likely to earn one of the corner outfield spots, the Phillies have to decide whether or not they want to roll the dice with Darin Ruf (a first baseman by trade) in left field. Despite his success at the end of the 2012 season, the Phillies would be wise to keep their eyes on the open market for an actual outfielder, such as Nick Swisher, Cody Ross, or -- if the price is right -- Josh Hamilton.
Adding an established veteran outfielder with a solid bat will result in the Phillies having to rely less on Ruf or John Mayberry while simultaneously rounding out their offense.
Second, they are now in need of a starting pitcher. As we talked about last week, the trade that brought Revere to Philly left them short-staffed in the starting rotation and in need of another starting pitcher. While they could technically start the season with Kyle Kendrick and Tyler Cloyd at the back-end of the rotation, the Phillies are in the market for a veteran starter who can provide them with valuable innings during the season.
In a recent column with CSNPhilly.com's Corey Seidman talked about Amaro's desire to add a “low-risk, high-reward” starter. In other words, a pitcher that isn't going to break the bank but still brings a great deal of potential value to the role. While the Phillies aren't going to sign the next Cole Hamels, Seidman mentions pitchers that fit that mold perfectly, like Jair Jurrjens, Rich Harden, or Erik Bedard. It's not a veritable wish-list of aces, but considering the cost and potential return, it's just what the Phillies need.
Finally, the Phillies are still in need of a reliable bullpen arm. After failing to acquire Wilton Lopez from the Houston Astros -- which would have been a great move, by the way -- the Phillies are still in need of a reliever to take over duties in the eighth inning in order to let the younger arms, like Justin De Fratus and Phillippe Aumont, cut their teeth in the middle innings.
Fortunately, the market for relief pitchers is a deep one. Although RHP might be the only one worth signing (at least for their purposes), there are plenty of solid enough arms, like Jason Frasor, Francisco Cordero, or Peter Moylan.
Thanks to the recent moves by Amaro, the team has more than enough money to spend to aptly fill all three spots for 2013. And though it's likely that they fill out the roster with modest deals, Amaro might have one or two big splashes up his sleeve.