Ruben Amaro's end of the season press conference wasn't lacking in juicy subject matter.
We tackled his thoughts on the team's offensive approach on Tuesday, which was definitely blunt, but hardly a bombshell to anyone who follows the team. What he had to say about Domonic Brown, however, qualified as something that came out of left field, fittingly enough.
"Domonic Brown has some work to do in left field. He's got some things to work on as far as hitting is concerned. His life has changed over the last several years as far as our needs go. If I had my druthers, I'd keep him in Triple A and let him get 500-600 at-bats and go from there."
That was unexpected.
With Raul Ibanez leaving and Ryan Howard likely sidelined to start the season, it seemed like there was finally a shot for Brown to get himself an extended look in the Phillies lineup when the 2012 season rolled around. He hasn't been what anyone hoped in his previous big league stints, but they certainly haven't been long enough to draw anything other than the most cursory conclusions about his future as a big leaguer.
His minor league record is much longer. If Amaro's druthers come through, it would be a seventh minor league season for Brown. If the Phillies still view him as a starting outfielder, it is hard to imagine what the Phillies hope to see from Brown against that level of competition that they haven't seen from him at this point.
It also makes it even harder to understand why they called him up in 2010 to sit on the big league bench instead of letting him get those Triple-A at-bats they feel he still needs two years later. It's all very curious.
Unless, of course, this is a shot fired to get Brown to work harder than he has worked to this point in his career. A desire to see Brown come in and make himself an undeniable choice in left would explain why Amaro would make such a public statement without even going through the motions of giving him a chance of winning a job in Spring Training.
The Phillies are not a franchise that feels the need to move prospects on anyone else's timeline. Ryan Howard and Chase Utley both had to put in plenty of time before they became regulars. At some point, though, you have to let kids play in order to find out whether or not they can be productive members of the team going forward.
If Brown hasn't done enough to convince the Phillies to give him that chance next season, there's a pretty good chance that he's never going to do it.