Philadelphia Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. spoke openly today about the weaknesses in his 102-win team that got bounced in the first round of the playoffs by the wild card St. Louis Cardinals.
"My focus here has always been building a great rotation," said Amaro. "Cole Hamels came up through our system and I brought in Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cliff Lee. But our continued hitting woes in the playoffs shows this approach has some flaws. I acknowledge that. It's on me that the pitchers I acquired did not hit better."
Halladay, Lee, Hamels and Oswalt — the supposed stars of the team — went just 1-for-11 with 3 strikeouts in the 5-game series. Phillies closer Ryan Madson also went 0-for-1 with a punch-out, meaning Philadelphia's pitchers hit .083 in the series and struck out in one-third of their at-bats.
"We scored 11 runs in the last four games and lost three of those games, getting shut out on three hits in the elimination," said Amaro. "I've run the numbers and our ninth spot was by far the least productive. It was a huge hole at the bottom of our lineup. So to make this club better offensively, it's my mission to bring in some pitchers who can hit."
Amaro wouldn't disclose his exact plan for the offseason, but Philadelphia front office sources say the team plans to target three players this winter via trade — Carlos Zambrano, Rick Ankiel and Micah Owings.
Zambrano had a 4.82 ERA with the Cubs in 2011, but he's a .241 career hitter with 23 home runs. Ankiel hasn't pitched since 2004, but he has a .732 career OPS and the Phillies would look to make him a starter again. Owings has a 4.91 career ERA, but is regarded as baseball's premier power-hitting pitcher.
"Does it makes sense to trade Halladay, Lee and Hamels for some pitchers who can hit?" said Amaro. "I just might. I will never stop trying to improve our production at the pitching position."