Apparently, the Pope’s impending visit to Philadelphia has already brought blessings upon us. In preparing the proverbial landscape for the Holy Man’s visit, the Phillies finally released GM Ruben Amaro Jr. It is a papal miracle! I was tempted to go back to being a practicing Catholic after hearing the news, but the whole “thou shall not do anything fun” is still kind of in the way of that transition 😉
While I am thrilled that the Phillies may be making an attempt to move into the correct century with their baseball operations logic, I feel a little bit sorry for Amaro who spent practically his entire life with the team. He grew up in the area, his Dad played for and coached for the Phillies; Ruben also played for the Phillies and was even the bat boy as a youngster. That is a lot of time spent in one place.
But my sympathy has to end there. He made so many bad, disastrous moves over the years that it is hard not to rejoice at this news. Remember the Cliff Lee trade in 2009? What a mega-disaster that was! The Phillies probably would have gone the distance in 2010 if they had both Lee and Roy Halladay in the rotation. Instead, Amaro squandered that opportunity and got 3 horrible “prospects” who contributed nothing…except a cocaine arrest (Tyson Gillies) and multiple tantrums when they did not get their way (Phillippe Aumont).
The HUGE, ridiculous contracts given to Ryan Howard and Jonathan Papelbon were just a few other terrible moves Amaro made. Not to mention letting Ryan Vogelsong go in 2010 (he is now a multiple World Series champ) and trading Hunter Pence for next to nothing (he is now also part of the Vogelsong / Giants dynasty). And don’t even get me started on the $12 million he threw away on Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez who has been so bad in the minors that the Phillies finally took him off the 40-man roster. This year, he spent most of his time on the DL and in the lousy 5.2 innings he did pitch in Triple-A, he ended up with a 14.29 ERA.
Sure, he had some good moves over the years. But ultimately, Amaro ran this team straight into the ground. They now sit in last place in all of baseball with little sign of improvement in the near future. Assistant general manager Scott Proefrock will fill in for Amaro until the new GM is chosen. Let us all hope the Phillies are smart enough to find a modern GM, instead of another blast from the past.