In 2008, the Philadelphia Phillies won the World Series and were the hottest sports franchise in the city. They hold a dear place in our hearts and relate to the fans on numerous levels. Citizens Bank Park was hitting record sellouts for years ahead, the pennant was taken for granted, and management was willing to do whatever it took to keep the winning trend continue into the future. However, in order to accomplish this goal, there needs to be the right person in position, for whom the Phillies thought and still think, is Ruben Amaro Jr.
Ruben was molded into the business for many years prior and seemed like a natural fit for the chair. He stood by and seen the likes of Pat Gillik, Dallas Green, and even Ed Wade standout and have some sense of success while figuring out his own style and methods. When promoted, he was one of the youngest General Managers in baseball and seemed primed to take the league by storm. The Phillies, as inherited at the time, were a winning team whose core was at its prime and, in turn, was his job to determine what method of salary and experience would lead to success.
Along his road of visions and predetermined success, were the monumentous trades and unheralded contract extensions, that will ultimately lead to the fate of himself and the organization. It seemed as though he was hitching the wagon to the big splash in trading for the likes of Cliff Lee, Doc Halladay, Roy Oswalt, and Hunter Pence, who hold insurmountable accolades and brought an excitement to the Philadelphia Phillies organization that had been missing for a long time. The majority of the fan base was behind most of these moves at the time, as the hopes for more championships were at their peak, setting up for a story book conclusion.
Bordering those same lines, the decisions of extending players like Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, and giving new, big money to aging veterans such as Jonathan Papelbon, came with skepticism that can easily be put to rest by winning. Unfortunately, for Amaro, this isn’t a perfect world where all of these moves would work for the foreseeable future. This, instead, is the realm of reality, and in turn, has taken a turn for the worse that has left the Phillies with many overextended contracts and a depleted farm system. He traded away 12 top prospects in 3 years, 2 of which may turn into superstars ( Jarred Cosart and Jonathon Singleton)and still owe in upwards of $140 million to a few players who are basically playing way past their prime.
As it looks right now, most of Amaro’s moves have not panned out and have handcuffed this team for the foreseeable future. In analyzing his performance, it seems as though Reuben got carried away with chasing the aspirations of being the elite, when in fact he was already contending as the elite. Sometimes it isn’t always the biggest names that reward your organization the most, but instead the smaller ones that build championships. However, if Ryan Howard is still hitting 45 homeruns, Jimmy Rollins is still a 20/40 threat, and we had some AAA all star prospects waiting as heir apparent at certain positions, we might be all applauding how great of a job Ruben has done. Instead, we continue to be critical of his decisions because most have not turned into success. In Philadelphia, expectations are always high and continue to be lifted on an everyday basis. There will always be a difference of opinion when it comes to the idea of Ruben making the right baseball decisions, but when the team looks as unraveled and weakened as it does today, the negatives far outweigh the positives. Baseball is a business, but if seats on the screen continue to be empty, showing an indication that income flow seems to be diminishing, Ruben may find himself on the outskirts of a rebuilding regime!
BY: Tony Cutillo ( @TCutillo23 )
- Phight Another Day (stoopsports.com)
- Backlash Against Ruben Amaro For Not Trading Cliff Lee Yesterday Is Unwarranted (3dphillysports.com)
- Jimmy Rollins isn’t willing to waive his no-trade clause (hardballtalk.nbcsports.com)