No tomorrow for Mr. Amaro

Ruben Amaro, Jr.

Amaro, whom Phillies fans probably think should have been cashiered last winter at minimum . . .

In Italian, amaro refers to a bittersweet liqueur, used customarily as an after-dinner cordial, whose origins may have been in monasteries. Well, now. One day after the Phillies were eliminated mathematically from the postseason, Ruben Amaro, Jr. may wish he’d been in a monastery rather than the Phillies’ front office from which he’s just been canned.

Yes, children—minus Strasburg, this Nats rotation DOES have good postseason chances

Let’s try this again.

Assume the Washington Nationals will stick to the script and implement, some time in September, the exclamation point of the Strasburg Plan. Period dot period. Assume, too, that there’ll be enough blue murder screaming over the Nats torpedoing their own postseason chances. Maybe even some conspiracy theorists demanding a formal investigation, perhaps into whether someone isn’t buying the Nats off bigtime to tank. (Would the conspiracy theorists surprise you, really?)

Now, shove all that to one side and look at the Nats’ rotation without Stephen Strasburg.

Zimmermann—Without the Stras, he won’t be leading a rotation of pushovers . . .

Lee Has a Claimant in Los Angeles

Cliff Lee did indeed hit the waiver wire and the Los Angeles Dodgers put a claim on the Philadelphia lefthander Friday, giving both sides 72 hours to work out a deal before the Phillies can pull him back from the wire.

The Phillies insist Lee “isn’t going anywhere,” according to general manager Ruben Amaro, Jr., but Lee’s salary in a year when he’s in demand but has had his struggles would be a too-attractive salary for the Phillies to shed with other big but untradeable contracts still on the team.

The Giants Sing a Song of Hunter Pence

They won’t be doing this with each other anymore: Hunter Pence (r.) will be doing it against Shane Victorino (l.), now that Pence is a Giant and Victorino, a Dodger . . .

Now we’re rolling. The Philadelphia Phillies and the San Francisco Giants have finished a deal to send Hunter Pence to the Giants for major league-established outfielder Nate Schierholtz and two prospects, catcher Tommy Joseph and pitcher Seth Rosin. (Now, there’s a name for a pitcher!)

The Phlippin' Phillies?

The Philadelphia Phillies look to be major sellers after all, according to ESPN’s Jayson Stark, who says teams talking to the Phillies are girding their loins for the Phillies possibly making as many as three deals aimed at beginning a transitional rebuilding of the club that had the National League East in a five-year headlock.

The possiblities, says Stark: the Cincinnati Reds making a play for Juan Pierre; the Los Angeles Dodgers having an inside track on landing Shane Victorino; and, the Baltimore Orioles, the St. Louis Cardinals, and the Toronto Blue Jays circling for a possibly play at Joe Blanton.

Beckett on the Block, and other passing thoughts . . .

The speculation continues ramping up that the Boston Red Sox are looking to unload Josh Beckett, even if the front office are trying to downplay the speculation.

Beckett has 10-5 rights to veto any deal, though he’s commented recently that he’d rather stay in Boston but he’d accept it if the team no longer wants or needs him. The Atlanta Braves are thought to have kicked the proverbial tires on the righthander but shown no other interest in the former National Leaguer.

Keeping Cole, and other keepers . . .

Apparently, the Phillies have ramped up their bid to keep Cole Hamels. That’s the word from Jayson Stark of ESPN, anyway.

No movement for Hamels?

[C]lubs that have been speaking with the Phillies say the team has essentially put trade talks on hold and have been much more focused on signing the 28-year-old left-hander than on dealing him before the deadline.

“They want to sign him, and that’s their priority,” said an official of one club who spoke with the Phillies’ brass this week. “They’re really not even entertaining (trade) offers at this point.”

Life During WARtime and Other Movements . . .

The bomb-robbing catch of the year isn’t exactly the only reason Mike Trout’s the most valuable Angel through this writing . . .

Life During WARtime—If you’re looking for an entry into the wide world of WAR (wins above a replacement-level player), David Schoenfeld of SweetSpot has a pretty good starting point, with a couple of links to a couple of more pretty good starting points. In case you’re wondering before you go in, Mike Trout—the white-hot Los Angeles Angels rookie—leads the American League pack through this writing with a 5.2 WAR, followed by Robinson Cano (New York Yankees) at 4.8 and Josh Reddick’s (Oakland Athletics) 3.9. In the National League, the top three through this writing are David Wright (New York Mets), 5.3; Andrew McCutchen (Pittsburgh Pirates), 5.1; and, Joey Votto (Cincinnati Reds), 4.5.