Prior to Tuesday's game in Miami, Ruben Amaro Jr. talked about his team's most recent struggles and how it impacts the trade deadline at the end of this month.
Q: You guys played well on the last trip, and then kind of blew that up on this last homestand, huh?
Amaro: "I think the frustrating thing about it is we were like one hit away from every one of those games. we just couldn't come up with the big base hit. We did a lot of things well, but we did some things that shot ourselves in the foot, too.
"We just haven't been able to get consistent offense, and that's been our theme pretty much all year long."
Q: But it's been like that all year - is it time to do something about it?
Amaro: "These next 10 game leading into the All-Star break are going to tell us a lot about where we're going to go."
Q: Are you past make-or-break time?
Amaro: "Obviously my job is to think about what's going to happen over the next month. But We've been assessing this thing and will continue to do so all the way through this month. If there are things we can't do in this next month as far as trying to improve the club, for the long term or the short term, then we'll try to figure it out afterwards and in the offseason. We have to improve in our offense. We're not getting enough offensive production. Pitching and defense has always been the theme, but we've been so inconsistent offensively, that's got to be one of the priorities moving forward."
Q: Your view of market? Advantageous to be a quick seller?
Amaro: It could be. But you can't ask a team to pretty-please trade with us. We've had a ton of conversations, I've had a ton of conversations with teams. They're assessing the market, too. We're not the only team in baseball that may have players available. We're not the only team trying to improve our club. So I think a lot of teams are in limbo. There's a lot of time left to decide. Teams are still not sure what it is they need.
"On our side, we're looking for some offense, we're looking for some younger players, we're looking for some things that can help us short term and long term. As far as the other teams are concerned, some of them know exactly what they want, but most of them don't. I mean, there's still a lot of time. A lot of injuries can happen, there's a lot of different things than can happen with some of these teams moving forward."
Q: Weren't you quoted recently saying you can't do a five-year rebuilding plan here?
Amaro: "Not five-year plan. I never said that. I said I can't blow this team up for five years and expect us to be (bad) for the next five or six years. I don't think that's the right way to go about our franchise. Our fans, our organization, I think we owe it to a lot of people, if we do have to go into a transition, it's going to be a shorter one than that. There's ways to do it. You have to make shrewd moves, make intelligent moves and try to continue to do that so that they drop off isn't long term. So if we have to go a step backward for a year or two to move forward then that's what we'll try to do."
Q: Why should you have faith your guys (scouts, evaluators) can identify talent?
Amaro: "I will disagree with you only because whenever you try to make moves to acquire talent it's always a crapshoot. When you're looking to acquire talent to your club and you look way down the line for young talent … in terms of trades we've done in the past we've done them for a reason. We've added certain levels of talent at certain areas for a reason. When we talk about the cliff lee trade we decided it was important for us to add to our lower levels of the minor leagues because we moved so much lower level talent.
"And at the time we had a lot of major league talent that wasn't going to go anywhere. So we were viewing a lot of those moves as long term moves. Some of those moves don't work. Some of those players don't pan out. It doesn't mean they weren't talented players. You just don't know whether they're going to be major league players."
Q: Does your job depend on you getting this month right?
Amaro: "I'm not worried about my job. My job is to try to do what's best for the organization, short term and long term. I feel very good about our ability and our staff's ability to do that."