Former Phillies Scouting Director Saw All of This Coming Years Ago

For those of you who don’t remember, Chuck LaMar, the first GM of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, spent some time in the Phillies organization. LaMar was brought in as the Phillies’ director of professional scouting in 2007, was later appointed to assistant general manager of player development & scouting in 2008, and resigned abruptly from the club on September 6, 2011.

At the time of his resignation, Ruben Amaro was very coy and a little sassy about what happened, responding to questions about LaMar with:

“You’ll have to ask Chuck.”

“That’s a question you’ll have to ask Chuck.”

“That’s a speculative question.”

A Bill Conlin piece that came out a few days later (one of the last pieces Conlin wrote before being accused of child molestation) relayed what Conlin had heard from inside the organization: that LaMar resigned because, as a man whose job was to run the minor league system, he was constantly handcuffed by Ruben’s bad deals.

Conlin wrote, relaying his man-on-the-inside’s report:

“LaMar requested a meeting with Amaro. Fellow assistant to the GM Benny Looper rode shotgun. So you knew right away the subject involved the minor league organization. Chuck got right to the point, which is his style.

He said, ‘I think our six affiliates have done a helluva job this season, considering we lost three of our top-five-rated prospects in the deal for Pence. The loss of Jarred Cosart and Jonathan Singleton weakened a Clearwater team that had a playoff shot right to the final weekend. The loss of Domingo Santana, our most promising Latin position player since Juan Samuel, weakened the middle of the Lakewood order. Williamsport made a strong run at the postseason despite a young team that probably overachieved. The veteran players we signed helped Ryne Sandberg make the playoffs at Lehigh Valley and Reading was a pleasant surprise … ‘

Then he dropped the hammer … Chuck said, ‘I expect to lose top prospects the way the big club is structured right now. That’s my job. Develop ’em and wave ’em goodbye. But we have been shot at and hit two straight years. It’s also my job to see we draft and sign players who can sustain us at the high level we’ve been at during this great run. But the well is dry, gentlemen. My bonus budget this year was just $5 million. We can’t compete with aggressive clubs that are spending three times that. We failed to sign a number of late-round picks with college commitments because we could not pay enough over slot. We’re not even competing with the Pirates or Nationals, and in a few years the talent coming into our division is going to bite us in the butt …'”

So, looking back on it during this slow week, not only does it show that a man within the organization who had a hand in building World Championship-caliber teams saw the situation we’re in now coming from a thousand miles away, but he vented his frustrations to Ruben about it. All of the talk of evaluating and the unpredictable nature of baseball seems more indicative of incompetence than before, when we thought Ruben was just being dumb. Now, looking back on what has been forgotten and seeing that Ruben had (and probably still has) people inside the organization telling him that he’s been on the wrong path for a while, it just seems like he’s not even trying.

h/t reader Jeff

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21 Comments

  • Walter Sobchak July 18, 2014 at 1:31 pm

    Rube is a smug prick and he ruined this team.

    #FireRube

    Reply
  • Hindsight Is Always... July 18, 2014 at 1:40 pm

    20/20.

    No one was thinking about Jared Cosart when we got Pence.

    Reply
    • Walter Sobchak July 18, 2014 at 1:53 pm

      I can safely say that I was pretty pissed off about losing Cosart AND Singleton in the Pence deal. One of them should’ve been enough. Both of them? Ridiculous. The fact that they dealt Pence to SF for nothing makes it even worse.

      Reply
    • Tom Merchant July 18, 2014 at 2:19 pm

      RAJ gets a bad rap.
      He did have a 102 win season

      Reply
      • Man... July 18, 2014 at 2:29 pm

        You are a fucking moron.

        Reply
    • CBGA Ball Washer July 18, 2014 at 3:07 pm

      Rube, you don’t have to anonymously defend yourself. Everyone knows you suck, there’s no coming back from it.

      Anyone who knew anything about the Phillies farm system knew we were giving up a haul including both Cosart and Singleton. It looks even worse now with Santana.

      People justified giving up Cosart because we also had Biddle, but if they knew who Cosart was, they didn’t like giving him up. And now Biddle is losing his mind.

      Reply
      • CBGA Ball Washer July 18, 2014 at 3:09 pm

        Didn’t see your other comment about thinking RAJ is bad. Ignore my first two sentences. The rest still applies.

        Reply
  • Hindsight Is Always... July 18, 2014 at 2:01 pm

    Don’t think I’m defending Ruben. He’s terrible. But, when you’re winning and playing with house money you never think the fall is going to come. Ruben fell into that trap and so did the vast majority of Phillies fans.

    Reply
    • Realist July 18, 2014 at 7:39 pm

      Yeah it totally makes sense to hold our general manager to the same standard as fans.

      Reply
  • SJDinAudubon July 18, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    But as we see, it really wasn’t all that much about this player or that deal, it was about the incompetent financial management and misplaced priorities. When you are warned that the tiny-market Pirates are outdoing you, you better do something. The Boob did nothing, as always.

    Reply
  • Frank Ricard July 18, 2014 at 2:22 pm

    The bigger question here is who allots the bonus budget: ownership or the GM? In the full article on Philly.com, Conlin says the bonus budget was only $3.67M back in 2009. Its easy to blame Rube but who is really at fault here?

    Reply
  • Senile Citizens Bank Park July 18, 2014 at 2:37 pm

    For the only team in professional sports to have lost 10,000 games, the tradition continues. The lemmings will still show up at the park

    Reply
  • Pirates Fan July 18, 2014 at 2:40 pm

    Curious, why did Amaro put so much $ into pitching in a hitters ballpark?

    Reply
    • Phineas Gage July 18, 2014 at 2:59 pm

      They put a lot of $ into all parts of the team. When they were winning all of those games, they were generating a ton of runs with the long ball.

      Reply
  • Spicmaro July 18, 2014 at 4:12 pm

    Ruben sucks….thanks for ruing baseball in Philly you fucking asshole.

    Reply
  • Spicmaro July 18, 2014 at 4:12 pm

    Ruining

    Reply
  • Uncle Meat July 18, 2014 at 4:20 pm

    I remember reading this when it came out, and yes, he was right…unfortunately. Our scouting department sucks, and so does Amaro.

    Reply
  • Ed Wade July 18, 2014 at 4:31 pm

    You all laughed at me, but I built that 2008 team AND built the Astros who are going to compete in 2 years.

    Reply
  • Jack Reilly July 18, 2014 at 6:34 pm

    Whatever happened to Chuck LaMarr? Has he gone onto another organization & raised the bar?

    Reply
  • Rotting corpse July 18, 2014 at 7:04 pm

    Amaro is clueless but just like holmgren, he is just a mgmt frontman.

    Reply
  • Lorraine July 20, 2014 at 10:06 am

    I remember when Lamar quit and this story came out then. We all knew what was going to happen, and here it is! The first signs of RAJ’s bad decision making was when he traded Cliff for nothing. There was never a good explanation for that.

    Reply
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