Originally posted on Phillies Nation  |  Last updated 1/30/14
Ruben Amaro Jr. has raised some eyebrows with some of the things he has said during the Phillies’ dismal past two seasons, but his comments on Monday take the cake. Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com posted a story about the Phillies in which he extensively quoted Amaro, and a few of his comments are real head-scratchers. Per Crasnick’s article: “I can’t worry about whether I’m going to be the GM after this year or 15 years down the road,” he said. “What’s important is for me to do what I can do for the betterment and success of the organization both short- and long-term. I believe in my instinctive ability to put together a winning and a championship club. I will always believe that. And I believe in our players. “It’s funny, because what I read and what I get when I speak to people in public are different. Maybe people are uncomfortable telling me what they really think, but I feel really great support from our fans. I’m hopeful most of the stuff you get on blogs and the Internet is kind of a loud minority, but who knows? Maybe because I’m the GM, but I’m more bullish about our club than what you read about on the Internet or hear sometimes on the radio.” It’s hard to even think about where to start when digesting this, but we will take it from the beginning. Amaro speaks about doing what he can for the betterment of the team, both short-term and long-term. A few years ago, admittedly he was making the short-term moves, if not over-killing them. He did bring Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Hunter Pence, Roy Oswalt etc. into town to help propel the Phillies to the playoffs while they were still in their “window”, but recently he has not been making ideal short or long term moves. Rather he is holding on to the tradable commodities that could bring long-term help, and failing to sign any type of free agent that could remotely improve the team’s chances this season. Just look at his signings this winter. Marlon Byrd (35), Bobby Abreu (39, and traded eight years ago for being old), Roberto Hernandez (33), Carlos Ruiz (35). Immediately you can toss out that any of them will bring the team success in the long run. Short term? I guess that depends how you define “success.” Is it a success if Hernandez posts an ERA lower then Tyler Cloyd’s 6.56 in 2013? Is it success if Abreu hits three home runs off the bench compared to Mayberry’s two last season? It just does not seem like these players he has been signing will make significant impacts to improve the Phillies to a playoff ballclub. The point is, his moves are far from ideal for the “betterment and success” of the club, both long and short term. So let’s move to the next bit, about how he believes in his instinctive ability to put together a winning and championship team. Winning team makes some sense, since in his five seasons as general manager three have been very good (albeit he did inherit the ultimate winning team). But he certainly has not had that ability the last two years, when the Phillies finished at .500 in 2012 and 2013 when they finished 73-89. But more shocking is his talk of his ability to put together a “championship” team. I suppose “champion” is a loose term: he did put together a N.L. champion team and several division champion teams. But he has not even done that the last two seasons, and has never put together a true championship team that has gone on to win a World Series. The most interesting part is how he “feels really great support” from the fans. The same fans that did not go to games last year because the team was so bad, and call for Ruben’s removal on local radio and the comments sections under any Phillies story online. Some fans can be harsh and ignorant, sure. But Philadelphia fans as a whole understand what is going on. They would be the first to say if a general manager was doing a commendable job. But when an entire city is unhappy with an offseason full of moves and is dreading the next one, it’s not 4 million people making a mistake just blowing smoke. The scariest part is that people have said the last few years that it seems like Amaro actually believes he is doing the team right and not running it into the ground. After his quotes today, it seems like that is spot on.
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