Phillies finding it difficult to escape from hole they’ve dug

The back-and-forth began late Wednesday night, after I reported that the Phillies had not received acceptable trade offers for any of their players.

Rival executives responded by saying the Phillies were setting unrealistic values on older, expensive talent. And sources countered with the Phillies’ perspective – that the team was willing to include significant cash in deals to receive better players in return.

The stalemate is unlikely to be resolved in the final hours leading to the deadline. The back-and-forth only will intensify. But really, the argument misses the point: The seeds of this mess were sown long ago.

The Phillies are dealing with too many onerous contracts, too many no-trade obstacles, too many vesting options – too much to undo at one non-waiver deadline.

If general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. is to blame – an all but inescapable conclusion at this point – it’s not because of what might happen Thursday. It’s because of all that happened before.