Ruben Amaro

Ruben Amaro (c) Fightin Phillies

Earlier this week, the Philadelphia Phillies’ general manager Ruben Amaro had hinted that the team could be in the hunt for pitching prospect Masahiro Tanaka from Japan. He (Amaro) had also stated several times during the season that the team also needed to start getting younger in order to compete.

Fast-forward just a few weeks into the free agent period, and the Phillies’ current moves have fans and pundits scratching their heads as to what direction the team is actually going.

First the Phillies signed Marlon Byrd – a 36 year old player whom the Phillies traded him to the Washington Nationals in 2005 for Endy Chávez, a move that failed to produce anything worthwhile for the Phillies at the time.

The other questionable acquisition came yesterday when the Phillies announced the signing of 38 year old Shawn Camp. Camp spend the last 2 seasons pitching for the Chicago Cubs, and is basically a journeyman relief pitcher. He appeared in just 26 games last season, and a 7.04 ERA – in just 23 innings pitched.

If the Phillies are serious about getting younger, then Amaro has a lot of explaining to do regarding these two particular signings, but especially someone like Byrd, who was traded to Washington after underperforming in 2005. Byrd was also suspended two seasons ago for testing positive for a PED. His stats since have been mediocre at best.

Was all the talk regarding Tanaka just that – talk? Or are these two signings just a smoke screen for something larger in the works?

Granted, the Phillies have yet to make a decision regarding perennial catcher extraordinaire Carlos Ruiz and Pitching great Roy Halladay, but if the team is serious about getting a younger vein of talent, then they should be signing those players, not signing two aging players to contracts.

The Phillies faithful may be questioning these moves – and with good right, but the free agency period has yet to come to a close, and there is still some time left on the proverbial clock to make a headline deal. Question is – will they or won’t they?

Stay tuned.