Yesterday I showed you Round 1 of candidate submissions – a hypothetical scenario involving Scott Hartnell and Tim Panaccio – and today it is Round 2. Candidates were asked to write about the job Ruben Amaro has done– either good or bad. These are the submissions. Vote for your favorite. In some cases these were edited for length, believe it or not…
Title: RUBEN AMARO IS LOSING IT
I’ll say this about Ruben Amaro Jr. — he’s a glass-half-full kind of guy. Actually, he could spill an entire pitcher on himself, get one drop into the glass, and tell you it’s almost full.
That’s kind of what he’s done with the Phillies.
Amaro told Ryan Lawrence of the Daily News that “we have to be encouraged” with the Phillies’ 13-13 record this April because they are healthy.
What is he smoking?
They’re 13-13, in fourth place in the division. Even with Ryan Howard healthy and producing, even with Chase Utley hitting close to .400, they still can’t keep up with the Braves and Nationals. But we’re supposed to be encouraged? Seems to me there’s nowhere to go but down.
Amaro tends to have a more optimistic view of his team than most outside observers. Yeah, let’s count on Dom Brown as a cornerstone based on one 36-game hot stretch. Sure, Cody Asche deserves patience at third, even though he was never ranked higher than seventh on Baseball America’s list of Phillies prospects. Yeah, the bullpen can be fixed by “taking a peek” at free agents one month into the season.
The bottom line is that even if the key guys stay healthy, this team is not good enough, and it’s Amaro’s fault. It’s his fault that he HAS to be optimistic about those guys, because he has no choice.
Title: What Ruben Amaro Is Really Saying In His Philly.com Interview
The first month of what is likely to be a playoff-missing season is in the books, and the Phillies are .500. Success! Ruben Amaro – who, according to the search we look at every day just in case is still the Phillies GM – talked to Philly.com about how the season is going so far. His answers were very “standard GM talk”: simple, not really saying anything, and a little bit of nonsense thrown in for good measure. But somewhere deep inside these words are Ruben’s real thoughts. We’re here to find them.
Daily News: What’s been the most encouraging sign after the first month?
Ruben Amaro: I think the health. The veteran guys have been on the field and have shown they can be productive. A lot of production from Chooch [Carlos Ruiz] and Chase [Utley]. [Ryan] Howard has shown power and the ability to drive in some runs. [Marlon] Byrd has hit the ball with some authority and Jimmy [Rollins] is getting on base, getting extra-base hits. So the fact that they’re all playing, producing and that I think we’re going of have one of the best rotations if they’re on the field. That’s big for us
Real Answer: Well, shit man. I’m just ridiculously happy that no one in our thirtysomething core has torn a major ligament yet, and really, I cannot stress how amazed I am.
DN: Speaking of that rotation: Heading into Wednesday, your starters ranked 12th (out of 15) in the NL with a 4.06 ERA and are also in the bottom third of the league in opponents’ batting average (.290, 14th), OBP (.343) and strikeout-to-walk ratio (2.63). Weird to hear that, coming off a road trip when they pitched well?
RA: I like our rotation. I like the way they’ve pitched – they’ve kept us in games for the most part. I’m comfortable with where we’re at. KK [Kyle Kendrick] has thrown well. I think a couple of those numbers are out of whack; you had those two outings from [Cliff] Lee [his first and last]. Early in the year, numbers can get skewed.
Real Answer: Once again, super psyched none of the olds got hurt. Also, I just want to stress that calling Kendrick “KK” is probably one Freudian slip away from being a huge mistake, so let’s just all watch ourselves. But yeah, you know that saying “numbers never lie”? These numbers are lying.
DN: You mentioned lack of production at third base. (Phillies third basemen are hitting .160 with a .478 OPS, last in baseball in each stat). How long can you be patient there?
RA: I think Cody [Asche] has been a slow starter at every level. And it may take a little longer;this is the most difficult level to produce at. There’s more scrutiny, more pressure. I think he needs to get his feet on the ground and get going.He’s a talented kid.I think we need to be patient with him.
Real Answer: Lack of production at third base? That’s basically our motto.
DN: You guys have only played nine games at Citizens Bank Park. No team in baseball has had f ewer games at home. But the average attendance (28,987, 14th in baseball) is down from last year (37,190 average, eighth in baseball) and obviously from 2 years ago (44,021, first in baseball). Is that a concern?
RA: Yeah, it’s a concern. We have to be concerned with it, but we have a lot of loyal fans. And they’re fans that are hopeful and champing at the bit that we win. That’s the nature of the beast in Philadelphia. If you win, people will come. If they don’t, it makes it more of a challenge. That’s how it works here.
Real Answer: Look, I don’t care if we’re near the top in attendance, that TV money is coming soon. Plus, we’ve got real fans coming to the ballpark who are drawn in not only by the team but by the experience. Did you know we have a 50/50 raffle now?
Title: Ruben Amaro: Phillies
I’m trying to be positive about Mr. Amaro and the state of the Phillies. That’s what kind of fan I am. I try not to complain too much. I try to have faith in him, in his aptitude and ability as a General Manager. I tell myself he knows what he’s doing. He’s an expert. He knows way more than I do. It isn’t easy to win. That’s the thing I love about sports. Winning is extremely difficult. Even really smart, successful General Managers make bad moves now and then. Occasionally, they’ll put a bad team on the field and it might take a few years to get it right. GMs make mistakes. There are a ton of variables to account for and, for the most part, there is very little difference between teams that win it all and teams that stink. Making up for that difference is hard as hell but the difference remains incremental.
All professional teams have elite players and it’s really just a matter of figuring out the right balance, staying healthy, managing cap space/payroll, and building for the future while getting the most out of the players you’ve got. Now, there are some teams that fail in perpetuity- the Browns, the Expos/Nationals, the Flyers Sixers Mets, but it’s rare. Most teams have a chance from year to year and it’s just about putting it all together at the right time. That’s why I watch. It’s unpredictable. That’s why I don’t give up until my team is mathematically eliminated from playoff contention or until they’re knocked out of the playoffs. I root for my team through the best of times and the worst. I don’t bail. I watch every game. I read about my teams- the players, the owners, the coaches- and try to stay informed. From year to year, I genuinely like most of the Phillies players. I spend 6 months a year with these guys. That’s more than I see my family. My sister lives an hour away and I’ve seen her twice in the last year.
I’m a true fan. I study this shit. Over the course of a few weeks last year, I watched about four hours of detailed footage breaking down Chip Kelly’s offense AND defense at Oregon. [Photoshopped pic of two generic Eagles carrying Chip’s enormous balls around] I’m still not sure what the hell is happening from one play to the next but I feel like a better fan now. I know the history. I’m a student of the game. I don’t get too up or too down. One at-bat at-a-time. One game at-a-time. The one unavoidable negative is that I always think my team can and will win it all even if to others it’s obvious they’ve got no chance. I’m intentionally illogical because sometimes that’s what it takes to be a great fan. Perhaps that’s what it takes to be a great player. Despite the facts, despite what just about everyone says, despite the history, the numbers, the truth, I choose to believe my teams have a shot.
Similarly, Reuben Amaro is a great fan, perhaps one of the all-time best. He loves the Phillies. He watched them win it all. He adores these guys: Rollins, Howard, Utley, Ruiz, Bastardo, Kendrick, Lee. He doesn’t want to see them go. He doesn’t want to move on. He believes everything will line up perfectly, just like I do, and that these guys, this team as it is currently constructed, will turn this shit around. He’s emotionally attached to these guys, and to this team, and because he’s so aroused he’s an incompetent GM and he needs to go. (Take Sandberg too, he’s boring the hell out of me).
Title: State of the Phillies: Ruben Amaro Still Needs to Go
[Pic of ruben, I believe the middle finger one would work]
As it stands today, the Phillies are sitting one game above .500, and for all intents and purposes, overachieving. They certainly aren’t playing poorly. Chase is doing his best to swoon men and women alike with his luscious wavy hair and his .414 on base percentage. A.J. Burnett is pitching like Cliff Lee, and Cliff Lee is pitching like Cliff Lee. All is good in Phillies world, right? They have a chance to contend, right
Please do not mistake this delicious sliver of optimism pie for the meal of reality that we are eventually going to eat. This team has major flaws all over the place, and all are due to the INCOHERENT maneuvers of the one, the only Ruben Amaro, Jr.
Look, don’t get me wrong, Rube isn’t the worst GM ever (see: Wade, Ed), but he is reckless and abhors statistics.
The aforementioned unadulterated hatred for statistics is completely unacceptable in today’s baseball. I can hear purists now “GO HOME SABR NERD, WE DON’T NEED YOUR KIND HERE!”
Sadly, Mr. Purist, you do indeed need at least some SABR. Don’t you want to win like the Red Sox, have exceptional turnover like the Athletics? I do, and I know that it will not happen with Ruben at the helm.
“BUT CHICKS DIG THE LONG BALL, BRO!” Well that’s great for chicks, but fans dig wins, and you win games by analyzing players on higher level. Home runs and ERA don’t cut it in 2014.
Ruben’s deep distaste for analytics aside; the man is FULL BLOWN RECKLESS. His track record sucks: He doled out big contracts like they were going out of style, parsed together something hardly anyone could truly call a bullpen, made seemingly impulsive decisions on player contracts (I hate seeing Pence/Victorino win in elsewhere), and COMPLETELY BOTCHED THE DISMISSAL OF THE MOST BELOVE PHILLIES MANAGER EVER. Botched is a god damned understatement- how on earth does Ruben have the balls to fire him the way he did. Gross.
Those tears he spewed had to be pure sulfur. Nothing came out of that man that day that wasn’t vile.
[screenshot of Ruben crying at Charlie’s presser]
The painful reality here is that we are stuck with the team that he has built. A team with virtually ZERO trade value, aging players on long contracts and just about no young player with any real talent (Cody Asche’s girlfriend Dom Brown aside).
These are your Philadelphia Phillies.
Greased-up Deaf Guy
Title: Performance Review: Ruben Amaro Jr.
Now, we could sit here all day and recap every questionable move he’s made, but I don’t want to do that. In the courts of the U.S.A., a lot of decisions are governed by what a “reasonable person” would do in a given scenario. Clearly, a reasonable person wouldn’t make the majority of decisions attributed to our GM. Therefore, it is evident to me that there are external, perhaps criminal forces at play here that are beyond Ruben’s control, and I think it’s time we do a little investigating. We should consider the possibility that big Rube is being coerced into making decisions by some nefarious force. Maybe Ruben and his family are being blackmailed by some kind of criminal syndicate, thus forcing him to make these questionable decisions. That’s right, we may have a full-on ‘Swanson family in Dumb and Dumber’ situation on our hands.
ESPN published a story last month detailing Yasiel Puig’s defection from Cuba, and highlighted how Mexican cartels are generally the puppet masters of such defections. My theory, based on zero evidence whatsoever, is that one of these organizations either has some damning, private information about Ruben, or that somebody has made threats that Ruben believes they have the means to carry out. How else could you explain this Miguel “Fettuccine” Alfredo Gonzalez signing? Ruben ‘wanted’ to sign him for 6 years and $60 million, only for the Phillies medical staff to intervene. He eventually ‘settled’ for 3 years and $12 million. Considering that MAG is a third-rate prospect, it wouldn’t surprise me if Ruben is getting duped by a third-rate criminal syndicate given his penchant for getting duped by third-rate baseball organizations (read: Astros, Mariners, et al).
Title: Figured it out…Amaro is a teenager
[picture of Amaro with the caption "So…when do I get the keys to this?”]
November 1st, 2008. If you’re a Philadelphia sports fan, you might be a bit fuzzy on this date – and that’s ok. That’s the day after the Phillies took over Broad Street to celebrate their 2nd Championship in franchise history, so many of us were…tired. The Phillies are riding high, things are right in the world, and the GM responsible for this masterpiece…was stepping down.
It’s ok though, new GM Ruben Amaro has been grooooooomed for this. He has been waiting…like a 15 year old boy waits for the keys to his brand new, slightly used car. So he got the keys…and…well…treated it the way a 15 year old new driver would – DRIVE AS FAST AS YOU CAN.
So, unlike GM Pat Gillick, who would pine over numbers and scenarios and chemistry – Amaro has taken a general “Hey…I know that guy’s name!” approach to how this team has been run. Rube (as we will call him, because it just sounds clever) took every square peg and jammed it into whatever hole he could find. He wasn’t looking for role players that fit into a system; he was looking for…well…anyone. That’s not to say all the players he brought in were bad – because clearly they weren’t. Halladay, Cliff Lee, Oswalt – good players…hell great players…but could any of them play 3rd?
[p[picture of Cliff Lee from Fox rain out – caption "You want me to do what?”]p>
Most of his moves were attention grabbers, things you do to keep an already spoiled fan base happy. Now… we pretty much didn’t care because in 2009 we were right back in the World Series (seriously, fuck New York) – and selling out game after game. Even the most negative fans had a hard time criticizing the front office…and then came the Cliff Lee trade and we all know what a noodle scratcher that turned out to be.