When Philadelphia Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. suggested a few weeks ago that he would be comfortable going with a "double platoon" situation in both corner outfield spots, there were a few people who snickered and thought it was a bluff.
But with Nick Swisher and Cody Ross now off the board as free agents and the trade market appearing to dry up, Amaro may not have much of a choice at this rate.
The Phillies' offices closed for a Christmas break, but once they reopen on Jan. 2, it is expected that the potential platoon in left field (rookie Darin Ruf and oft-injured Laynce Nix) and right field (career fourth outfielder John Mayberry Jr. and former top prospect Dom Brown) likely will be the main topic of conversation.
"It's very possible that we have the answers internally," Amaro said. "I feel comfortable with the way our club is today. If there's a way to improve it, not just marginally, we'll try to do that."
Right from the start, the Phillies appeared to be very picky about spending big money on a free agent outfielder. They traded for Minnesota Twins center fielder Ben Revere because he was an economical, controllable player at a time when the center field market (Michael Bourn, Angel Pagan, B.J. Upton) became too rich for their blood. They never seemed all that interested in Swisher, who ended up signing with the Cleveland Indians. He would have been an ideal bat for Philadelphia's lineup. There was some interest in Ross before he agreed with the Arizona Diamondbacks on a three year, $26 million deal.
The current setup would not seem to satisfy a glaring need -- power hitters, specifically from the right-hand side.
"Would we like to add more power to the lineup? Sure. Again, it's more about production than power. I think we have guys who can produce, (newly acquired third baseman Michael Young) being one of them obviously," Amaro said. "I think there's other guys we have -- Jimmy (Rollins) as a switch hitter. Depending on how the outfield is constituted, I think we'll figure it out.
"I think everyone thinks we're so left-handed heavy, but the fact of the matter is we're heavy in the middle of the lineup left-handed depending right now on our three and four guys. But that can change, and a lot of it depends on how (manager) Charlie (Manuel) puts his lineup together."