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Philadelphia Phillies playing reindeer games this free agent season

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Christmas is the time of year when people enjoy exchanging gifts. The Philadelphia Phillies obviously believe in being generous, as this week's free agent acquisitions will attest.

On Dasher, Prancer and Tony Gwynn, Jr. On Vixen, Blitzen and Lou Marson. On Comet, Cupid and Sean O'Sullivan. On Donner, Blitzen and Dave Sappelt. Dash away, dash away, dash away all.

Notice how the star player, Rudolph, was left out of those reindeer games. Apparently, he's been paid to front a sleigh that's being jointly ridden by Robinson Cano, Jacoby Ellsbury and Brian McCann.

The issue isn't that four minor league players, with the possible exception of Gwynn (who might fit somewhere inside Ryne Sandberg's outfield plans) were signed this week. Also, no one should refute that Marlon Byrd, Wil Nieves and Roberto Hernandez are decent supplemental players who were also plucked off this fall's free agent tree.

Except for Cole Hamels, the Phillies' roster contains a faded core of former stars. The old saying about it never being too late to correct past mistakes is wrong in this instance.

General manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. is working within the confines of his corporate job. He's not solely responsible for every 'big-money' move that's taken place, regardless of what the public has decided.

Philadelphia's past gift-giving extravagance has created the need for premium solutions. But, the Phillies top front office boss is only being allowed to stuff dollar store items into every red pinstriped stocking.

Follow Sean by clicking on the word 'Subscribe' aside of his photo. Connect with him through social media via Twitter @SeanyOB, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and read his blog Insight.

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