This is what makes Amaro's comments about the state of the team so interesting. I agree with Amaro on holding onto Cliff Lee, and wanting to contend in 2014. What's interesting about that is, Amaro's actions don't back that up. This team has to go 56-42 the rest of the way to win 87 games, or what I like to call the "playoff minimum." They're not going to go 56-42, there's no sign they can. If that's the case, and this season is toast, perhaps Ruben should be talking about blowing up the 2013 Phillies. Chase Utley, Michael Young, Carlos Ruiz, Delmon Young, Laynce Nix, Roy Halladay, Kyle Kendrick, and John Lannan are all, at a minimum, going to be free agents, and other than maybe one or two, I see no reason any are back. Between now and August 1st, the Phillies should be looking to part ways with as many of them as possible, to get playing time to look at new, younger players who might, just might, have a future on this team. To be clear, the Phillies have no payroll problem going forward- the payroll being cleared this year by expiring contracts would more than off-set any reduction in 2014 payroll from declining attendance, not to mention the increase in TV money they've already got from the MLB deal. Deciding if players such as Cody Asche and Darin Ruf have any role on the 2014 team should be more important than trying to bleed out 82 wins from a team that isn't going anywhere. The more decisions on which pieces have futures that Ruben makes by the last day of the season, the more clear a path into the off-season the Phillies can take to try and contend in 2014. There's no reason a team that starts with Cole and Cliff shouldn't contend in 2014, but they can't contend while getting their first extended looks at a Cesar Hernandez or Freddy Galvis as a starter. Not all of these young pieces are honestly going to be MLB caliber.
There is a major issue though that is at hand now- do we trust Ruben's judgment? Ruben's refusal to use advanced metrics at all, or develop his own, has left everything on the backs of the same scouts that helped them get to here. He felt Delmon Young might be an upgrade in right, and frankly he hasn't been. He felt Michael Young would bounce back, which did not happen. Is the problem here leadership?
The same can be said for Charlie. Young Ben Revere has struggled this year, but Charlie is not committed to giving him the playing time we're going to need to see him play in. John Mayberry is never going to be more than a bench bat, but Charlie is refusing to totally view it that way. I'm not as mad with his in-game managerial blunders (in part because I think he's leaving anyway) as I am with his handling of younger players. He and Ruben did not handle Dom Brown well until Dom broke out this year. That's a concern to me if we're going to move forward with young guys.
I'm basically at the point where you hit eject from the 2013 ride. You keep watching the team, but you don't emotionally invest yourself in the won-lost aspect. The Phillies have some players chasing personal milestones, and some young players on the cusp of the league that need a look. Not all of them need it today, but all of them need it this year. Lost leadership made the Phillies a .500 team. It was the mistaken idea that players won't get old, or that they don't need regular changes to the roster. Now it has to be dismantled, piece by piece. The question is whether or not the right people are deciding that.