Time for Ruben Amaro to earn his keep

Ruben Amaro stated that change is good when holding court after the end of the Phillies’ disappointing 2011 season.

Expect a change in philosophy, not personnel.

“In my mind, this is a championship caliber lineup,” Amaro said. “We just have to go about it a little differently.”

Amaro won’t seek a replacement for Ryan Howard, who might miss the start of the season with a torn left Achilles tendon.

“I don’t think we’ll do that unless they [doctors] say it’ll be a year,” Amaro said.

Considering the state of the bullpen, it’s not surprising Amaro wants to re-sign closer Ryan Madson.

“We’d like to bring him back as our closer,” Amaro said. “But it takes two to tango.”

If Madson signs elsewhere, expect Amaro to sign a free agent to close.

“I don’t feel comfortable with the guys we have internally,” Amaro said.

Amaro reached out to Roy Oswalt’s agent, but the Phillies’ brain trust is unsure if ‘Little Roy’ will be back next season.

“He’s still one of the better starting pitchers in baseball,” Amaro said. “We have to make a decision on that one, it might be a tough one.”

Looking to the future, the Phillies are pondering a megadeal to its youngest ace, Cole Hamels.

“We would like to keep him in our uniform,” Amaro said. “He’s one of the more effective and better left-handed pitchers in the game.”

Amaro faces the most difficult offseason of his career. There are a lot of questions and the clock is ticking. It’s 122 days until pitchers and catchers.

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