Phillies General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr. emerged from the 4:00 p.m. trade deadline without making a single move. Luckily, he was available to reporters afterwards to explain why. It was simple, Amaro says, it was the other general managers' fault.
Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer has Amaro's own words, which clearly blame other general managers for the Phillies making no moves:
Amaro said Phillies did not ask for “top prospects.” Criticized other GMs for not being aggressive enough.— Matt Gelb (@MattGelb) July 31, 2014
Despite the reallocation of blame, Gelb is less than impressed:
The deadline was not an indictment of Ruben Amaro’s inability to trade. Instead, another damning commentary on flawed roster he constructed.— Matt Gelb (@MattGelb) July 31, 2014
Gelb is correct: the roster is flawed.
Did all the other general managers collude to avoid deals with the Phillies? Did those general managers say to themselves, "I'm just going to sit here and not make my team better just to avoid deals with good ol' Ruben?" To suggest as much is totally preposterous.
What happened was a collection of poorly-constructed contracts. Teams were not willing to take on players with option years and uncertain futures. If any of the discussed players such as Burnett, Byrd, or Papelbon had clear-end contracts or were in the last year of their contracts, they would likely be a quick, easy sell.
Instead, the Phillies had a bunch of inventory that was unappealing to the other general managers. Who can be blamed for that? The one who assessed the high contractual value to those players. But hey, if they were worth the money then, they'll still be while on the Phillies, right?