Amaro: ‘Has to be different next year’

The last time the Phillies had so many holes in the outfield, Ruben Amaro Jr. played there. That was 15 years ago in the forgettable Terry Francona era.

Back then, Amaro could plug one hole. As the Phillies GM, he has his work cut out for him this offseason.

“I think it’s okay,” Amaro said about the class of free agent outfielders. “It’s not fantastic. There are some people there that can help us. That said, there may be some people on the trade market that can be better for us. We have to get creative to improve our club.”

Amaro faces his most challenging offseason since he needs to re-tool the Phillies.

It won’t be easy since Amaro needs a brand-new outfield, a third baseman and bullpen help. The difficult part for Amaro is that the Phillies will go into the 2013 season with $157.5 million in payroll already against the $178 million ceiling.

That also means that the Phillies need the members of their $20-million dollar club, Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, Ryan Howard and Roy Halladay, to earn their hefty paychecks. Amaro noted if those key players fail to produce then 2013 could be a long year.

“I think the bottom line is that our players, that we pay a great deal of money to, will have to perform or we’ll be in trouble,” Amaro said. “Ryan Howard has to perform. Chase Utley has to perform. Roy Halladay has to come back and perform … but we also need to support them better.”

A repeat of 2012 is not acceptable for Amaro.

“It has to be different next year,” Amaro said. “I wasn’t happy with the brand of baseball we played.”