Photo:H. Rumph Jr / AP

Since taking over as general manager, Ruben Amaro has made it an annual occurrence to bring in big name players such as Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Hunter Pence, Roy Oswalt, and Jonathan Papelbon.   But now Amaro must restock his minor league system after years of trades have left them with a lack of depth.

Amaro said that to acquire big name players, it costs you talent and because of these types of acquisitions it has left the Phillies minor league system thin. Phillies have had a hard time finding internal options.

The continued struggles of the Philadelphia Phillies and lack of depth have led them to part with 3 of their own in Shane Victorino, Hunter Pence, and Joe Blanton.

“When the talent leaves your organization, it thins you out to the point, where it’s hard to count on some of the guys, that are down below,” said Amaro. “When we trade for quality players, to acquire quality players, you have to give up quality to get it.”

The trades not only helps to bring in some  young prospects, catcher Tommy Joseph and pitcher Ethan Martin, but the Phillies are freeing up some money and now have the ability to target other players and needs in free agency this winter.

Amaro said, “These moves gives us some a lot of financial flexibility to do some things that we really want to fill some holes that we may have. And I think the last two months of the season accessing what we have internally, watching some of the guys play will give us a pretty good read of what we really do need to improve.”

Photo: Reed Saxon / AP

The Phillies will no longer have to pay Hunter Pence the remainder $10.4 million dollars of this years contract nor the $14 to $15 million due next year, the $3 million owed to Joe Blanton, or the $3.3 million due to Shane Victorino.

Since 2007, the Phillies have been at the top of the National League East division, and breaking the franchise single season record with 102 wins in 2011.  Now they are in a position to come in last place for the first time since 2000.

“Our division has undergone a real sort of metamorphosis I think this year if you look at what Miami did in the off-season and now what they’ve done here during midseason,” Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said. “The same is true with the Phillies. On the other hand, Washington is playing very well. Atlanta continues to play well. But there’s certainly an appearance of change taking place in the division. I don’t think it’s totally unexpected. I mean, it’s difficult to be as successful as the Phillies have been over a long period of time, and I’m sure they have the ability to turn this season around in a hurry as well.”

While the Phillies may seek answers for their struggles, Amaro still believes the season is not totally lost.

“But what I do and believe in my heart of hearts is that we have the core and the nucleus of players to be a championship-caliber club,” said Amaro.