Ruben Amaro Jr. has tried to stay patient during the MLB Winter meetings this week, hoping to not overpay and jump into a big contract just to make news. However, at this point the waiting game may start to hurt the team. Nearly all of the targets for the Phillies have signed elsewhere. Angel Pagan and B.J. Upton were the teams top targets at the beginning of the free agent period and they have signed with the Giants and Braves, respectively. There were a few plan B's for the Phillies including former Phillies Shane Victorino and Michael Bourn. Victorino has agreed to a deal with the Red Sox and Bourn remains a free agent.
Looking at the Phillies needs of a center fielder and right fielder, the options are beginning to become smaller and smaller. Today, the team was linked to Nick Swisher and Raul Ibanez. Swisher could be a good fit in the lineup and in right field for the team but at the right price. The 40 year old Ibanez rumors prove how slim the pickings are getting at outfield for the Phillies. While Ibanez did show he can show some power off the bench during last season's ALDS and ALCS, there shouldn't be a real chance the Phillies think about Ibanez, besides as someone to come off the bench.
Josh Hamilton remains on the market despite being one of the best players in the league. The main reason he remains unclaimed is because of his off the field incidents which may make some teams nervous. He also is asking for a ridiculous amount of money and it seems like he may be realizing he won't be getting the big deal he is looking for. Hamilton easily remains the best player available and the Phillies have inquired about him. His issues off the field may make the Phillies reluctant to sign him, but if they can find a way for Hamilton to realize he won't get the big deal he wants and sign him to a 3-4 year deal, the risk is well worth the reward if he plays any where near he has the past few seasons.
While the original plan to not jump the gun seemed like a good move by the Phillies front office, they may now have waited too long seeing their main targets go elsewhere. There are, however other options available and many of them could help the team right away. Having said that, with the winter meetings coming to a close tomorrow, they may need to forget their patient ways and make a move before there are none left.