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Philadelphia Phillies' unacknowledged rebuild will continue

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The Philadelphia Phillies appear to be better than last year's squad for a few reasons. But, Ryne Sandberg's team is still likely to continue its unacknowledged rebuild this summer.

General manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. has acknowledged that a full roster revamp will be necessary if his 2014 team doesn't produce this season. Beyond being the Phillies trade-maker, Amaro is also the front office marketing face.

Generally, it's not considered wise to openly tell Philadelphia's baseball fan base that, “We're not really going for it (the World Series) this season.” In other words, Sam Hinkie isn't being considered as the heir apparent.

No matter what opposing GM's may think, Amaro can't (or shouldn't) lessen the perceived market value of anyone by publicly diminishing one of his players. That's what made comments about Darin Ruf's potential to be a full-time player rather perplexing last season.

Amaro appears to truly have reached a crossroads in his extended Phillies' career. As to whether the ownership group will cut another one of its favored sons loose remains to be seen. If the current GM is retained, then he will be allowed to remake the team he created after Pat Gillick stepped off the 2008 championship parade truck.

Sandberg should benefit from a roster that is healthier than recent Phillies' teams. If the middle-aged core can hold its own, Mike Adams can consistently secure the eighth inning, Jonathan Papelbon can save 35+ games, the starting rotation can remain intact, the lineup can take pressure off the entire pitching staff by scoring some runs and the bench can support the regulars, then their Hall of Fame manager might be able to cross the .500 line by his first full season finale.

Unless many of these question marks transform into exclamation points, it's not reasonable to print playoff tickets this year. So, everyone in management must continue to talk around the fact that this team is hardly a contender and that a silent rebuild has been underway since the 2012 non-waiver trade deadline.

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