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Amaro, Phils take a look at Cuban slugger Tomas

General manager says he will 'reserve judgment' after private workout

MIAMI -- The Phillies need talent, and Ruben Amaro Jr. has been spanning the globe to find it.

He acknowledged a short trip this week to the Dominican Republic to take a look at Cuban outfielder Yasmany Tomas, and an extended trip last week to Japan to take a look at the talent there.

"Talent isn't coming off of trees," Amaro said Tuesday afternoon at Marlins Park. "We have to try to find it wherever we can."

Tomas could be one of those talents, right?

"I don't really have anything to say about [Tomas]," Amaro said. "I will reserve judgment. There's no reason for me to discuss free agents and what we feel about them, because he's a free agent. That's our policy."

It is believed the Phillies will be active in their pursuit of Tomas, who is a 23-year-old power-hitting corner outfielder. The Phillies have followed Tomas for some time, and they like him more than fellow Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo, who recently signed a $72.5 million contract with the Red Sox.

But other teams like Tomas, too. Some believe he could command around $100 million once he becomes a free agent.

So it made sense that the Phillies assembled a formidable crew to watch Tomas. He worked out for more than 200 scouts from every team in baseball on Sunday and held a private workout for the Phillies on Monday.

The Phils group included senior advisor to the general manager Charlie Manuel and special assistant to the general manager Charley Kerfeld.

"Our interest in him is the same as any interest we've had in any other Cuban player that we've scouted," Amaro said. "No different."

But the Phillies need a big bat, and Tomas could be the best way to acquire one. The impending crop of free-agent outfielders is relatively weak (Nelson Cruz, Melky Cabrera, Michael Morse, Colby Rasmus, Michael Cuddyer, Jonny Gomes and Josh Willingham), and the Phillies' farm system does not have anybody knocking on the door.

"The talent crop of free agency has been dwindling pretty significantly," Amaro said. "There is probably more pitching options out there than there are bats. That's a little more fertile than in recent years. I think bats, in general, have been a dwindling asset."

Amaro traveled to Japan with Manuel and international scouting director Sal Agostinelli. He declined to say if he scouted a specific player.

"It was the first time I'd been there," Amaro said. "It was a good opportunity for me to see some players and make some contacts with Japanese front offices."

Could the Phillies be active there this winter?

"We're keeping our mind open on every opportunity," Amaro said.

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for
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