Ruben Amaro’s ridiculous, poor, simplistic, amateur, silly and shortsighted moves over the past few years are the subject of some media conjecture this week.
First up, Matt Gelb of Philly.com writes about Amaro’s offseason failures. People ripped me when I said all Amaro did was sign aging white guys, but I was mostly right. Look: [since the dancing monkeys running Philly.com haven’t figured out how to include formatting in text, here are three paragraphs meshed into one]:
Consider this: Amaro acquired 15 players during the last two winters via trade or a guaranteed contract in free agency. Just three of them – Young, Jimmy Rollins, and Jonathan Papelbon – were on the active roster Tuesday. Ben Revere, Mike Adams, John Lannan, and Jeremy Horst are all disabled with season-ending injuries. Chad Qualls, Laynce Nix, Chad Durbin, and Delmon Young were released. Jim Thome was traded. Ty Wigginton, Juan Pierre, and Brian Schneider were not re-signed. When deposed manager Charlie Manuel said he questioned whether the Phillies had assembled enough talent to win in each of the last two seasons, it was a direct criticism of Amaro’s winters. The Phillies have invested millions in an aging core and they have failed to supplement those players.
The thing is, the Phillies have supplemented those players. The myriad idiots mentioned – Qualls, Young, Nix et al. – weren’t young, high upside players, they were meant to add depth and fill key roles. Pat Gillick was really good at this sort of thing (Jayson Werth, Scott Eyre, Matt Stairs). Ruben Amaro is not.
The Phillies didn’t fail to supplement their stars, they failed to supplement their stars with capable players.
And perhaps that’s because so much money was spent on the stars.
Rob Neyer of SB Nation is using Ryan Howard’s contract, which I’m told has just been officially declared a mistake by UN weapons inspectors, to escalate a grammatical pissing match with Gregg Doyel, he of the CBS Sports regime.
Here’s what Doyel wrote three years ago, when Howard was given his five-year, $125 million contract:
The Philadelphia Phillies just locked up Ryan Howard for the next six years, rewarding not only Howard but also themselves — considering they scouted, drafted, signed and developed him — while keeping in place the best nucleus in baseball.
Naturally, people think this was a stupid move.
The Phillies aren’t stupid. People are. People like Keith Law of ESPN.com, and anyone out there who thinks like Law — like a lot of people on the message boards below this Danny Knobler blog item — when Law wrote that “this is one of the worst extensions of its kind.”
Howard had played the past several years in a bad mood. With this monster extension, the Phillies just made him happy.
They made lots of other people unhappy with it, but like I said earlier, lots of people are stupid.
This is one of the best extensions of its kind.
Doyel was… wrong.
But [Doyel] was stupid about Ryan Howard and, worse, he was uncivil and arrogant while writing about people who disagreed with him. Which is fine. When you think you’re smarter than everybody else, it’s difficult to avoid being (or seeming) arrogant. I’m no exception.
I don’t know what I’ve learned from all of my mistakes and my incivility and my arrogance over the years. Something, I hope. What I do know is that I can’t find a single mention of Ryan Howard in one of Gregg Doyel’s columns in the last three years and four months. If you can, please let me know, as I would love to embrace his vulnerability.
Rube’s big-time moves are providing as much point-and-laugh fodder as his smaller ones. That’s how the Phillies got here.