And Now, a History of Ruben Amaro Not Understanding the Game… in Just the Last Year

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Thought today would be a good day to go back through our Ruben Amaro tag. I only made it through 12 months. That’s all I could take. Here are the, um, highlights.


Ruben Amaro uses math and flawed logic to explain his reasoning why he’s in no hurry to trade Cole Hamels or Jonathan Papelbon before they get injured and become worthless like Cliff Lee

Todd Zolecki quotes Amaro: “The reality is this: There are a lot more chances for the 29 other teams to get people hurt than the one or two guys that we have,” he said. “That’s basic math.”

Jayson Stark quotes Amaro: “There’s no lesson there,” Amaro said. “Everybody knows that. It’s apples and oranges. We have a guy who was actually hurt last year. We don’t have a player who’s hurt in Cole. … There’s no lesson learned from Lee’s situation because it’s a totally different situation. One guy is hurt. The other guy is completely healthy.”


Ruben Amaro’s horrible approach to moving Cliff Lee, who eventually got hurt and whose career is now in jeopardy

Buster Olney writes: When Lee was claimed on waivers by the Dodgers in the summer of 2012, the Phillies never engaged L.A. about what might be possible, and a few weeks later, the Dodgers concluded the massive trade with the Red Sox that allowed Boston to dump the contracts of Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett, attaching them to Adrian Gonzalez. Now Lee is coming back from surgery and is essentially untradable until he can demonstrate he is healthy, at age 36, after being shut down for elbow trouble last summer.


Ruben Amaro says the (currently 19-28) Phillies will have to win with their “brains and aggressiveness”

Ruben Amaro explains: “We’re not going to score a lot of runs. We’ve been saying that. We’ll have to scratch them. We’re not going to scare anybody with our power, but that doesn’t mean we can’t score runs. We’re going to have to manufacture them. We’re going to have to do it with our legs. We’re going to have to do it with our brains and aggressiveness.”


Ruben Amaro plays doctor and says prospect Jesse Biddle didn’t have a concussion… after a doctor diagnosed Jessie Biddle with… wait for it… a concussion

Jim Salisbury writes: Amaro this week acknowledged that Biddle had “concussion symptoms,” but added, “I don’t know if it was a full-blown concussion.” He went on to say, “That wasn’t the reason we gave him the break.”

Ruben Amaro has no understanding of what it means to rebuild

Ruben Amaro, talking to Al Morganti: “We’re going to have to get players that are going to impact us very, very quickly. And so, there’s no reason for us to be moving players that are really effecting are club in a positive way right now, for players that we’re hoping that will help us in four or five years. That doesn’t work for us.”

Ruben Amaro, also on the WIP Morning Show: “In our marketplace, and with what our fan base is all about, I don’t think [a total rebuild] is fair. I don’t think it’s fair to them. I don’t think it’s fair to our organization. I don’t think it’s fair to the players on the field.”


Ruben Amaro’s team is the worst in professional sports in their use of analytics

Crashburn Alley writes about ESPN The Magazine’s list: The magazine has the Philadelphia Phillies ranked 122nd out of 122 teams, the New York Knicks ranked 121st, and your Redskins ranked 120th, meaning last in the NFL.


Ruben Amaro needlessly burns former star and hometown hero Ryan Howard by telling Mike Missanelli that the Phillies would be better off without him

Ruben Amaro says: “I told him that in our situation it would probably bode better for the organization not with him but without him. With that said if he’s with us, then we’ll work around him. We’ll hope he puts up the kind of numbers that we hope he can and we’ll see where it goes from there.”


A’s All-Star Brandon Moss recounts the time Ruben Amaro told him that he couldn’t hit a Major League fastball. Moss has put up three-straight 20 home run seasons since leaving the Phillies

Brandon Moss, speaking to Eno Sarris of Fangraphs: “Well, yes it does matter, if you want to be called up. I was having a good year and they went out and traded for a guy because they needed left-handed bench bat and someone asked, you know Moss is having a pretty good year in Triple-A for you guys, why do you need to go outside. [Amaro] was like ‘We just don’t believe Brandon Moss is consistently able to hit a major league fastball.’ And I was like, that’s really all I kinda hit. It’s my best pitch. Everything else, I just hope I hit it. If you’re here, you’re like that. You better be able to hit that pitch. It was a funny comment and I laughed about it. Okay, if that’s how they feel, I can’t do anything about that.”


Ruben Amaro thinks analytics means picking up a stat sheet

Dan Gelston tweets: Ruben Amaro says team does use analytics. First thing scouts do at games is “pick up a stat sheet.”


Ruben Amaro gets taken by Dodgers GM Ned Colletti

LA Times: Trade talks with the Phillies “accelerated” into Thursday because [Colletti] “wanted to complete a deal before the news broke of Josh Beckett possibly missing the rest of the season with his hip injury.” Coletti said he was happy to have the deal done before “Ruben could hold me up for even more.”


Ruben Amaro doesn’t know how to negotiate

Jayson StarkRuben was targeting high-end young players who were big-league ready or already in the bigs. Though Ruben said they didn’t ask for top prospects, Stark talked to guys who said Ruben asked for their organization’s very top guy and would not get off that idea, no matter who the other GM brought up. Another team said Ruben asked for best prospects for “guys who weren’t stars.” Another GM said Ruben was basically asking, “Could you please drive your AA team to Reading and drop them all off?”


Ruben Amaro gives out the worst contracts in baseball

Joe Posnanski, writing for NBC Sports: Some years ago, I named particularly terrible baseball contracts “Ricciardis” after former Blue Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi, who seemed particularly skilled at giving them out. However, in retrospect, I may have been unduly harsh toward Ricciardi. What Ruben Amaro has done in Philadelphia deserves its own place in the Bad Contract Hall of Fame.


An insider tells child molester Bill Conlin that former assistant general manager Chuck LaMar quit, basically because Ruben Amaro is an idiot (from 2011)

Bill ConlinThen 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 …’”


Ruben Amaro explains to Mike Missanelli why he didn’t really bother considering how age would impact aging stars like Chase Utley and Ryan Howard

Ruben Amaro, speaking to Mike Missanelli, who cited one of the numerous statistics that showed players decline and are injury prone once they turn 30: “Well, not all the statistics. I don’t know how well versed you are in statistics, but the fact of the matter is a lot of these guys have very strong track records, they’ve had some success in the past, and uh … if they don’t do it, then they don’t do it. But, uh, did we miscalculate on some of them? Perhaps we did. But you know, these guys are human beings and unfortunately they haven’t lived up to what we thought they’d be doing right now and we’re gonna try to do something to improve that.”


It’s made public that the Phillies traded prospect Domingo Santana to the Astros, perhaps as the result of a clerical error

Houston Chronicle, on the Hunter Pence deal: Less than two months after they picked George Springer from the University of Connecticut, the Astros sent Pence and cash to the Phillies on July 29, 2011, for Cosart, Singleton, Zeid and a player to be named, which ended up being Santana. In spring training, a Phillies official admitted that Santana wasn’t actually supposed to be on the list that was given to the Astros to pick from to satisfy the final piece on Aug. 15, 2011.


Ruben Amaro is named the worst GM in baseball by Sporting News

Sporting News’ ranking of the top GMs in baseballAmaro took over for Pat Gillick right after the Phillies won the World Series in 2008, and since then, it has been a direct downhill run. Philadelphia lost the World Series in 2009, lost the NLCS in 2010, lost in the first round in 2011, missed the playoffs in 2012, and fell under .500 in 2013. The next stop could well be last place, but even if the Phillies manage to avoid the cellar, Amaro’s attempts to build a team as if it is still 2008 have been baffling. After a year in which the Phillies were too old and broke down physically, Amaro actually made them older in the offseason. You almost have to double check that Tony Gwynn and John Mayberry are not actually their fathers.

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11 Responses

  1. If you don’t like sports, currently on my show we’re talking about cold medicine.

  2. The Ken Rosenthal article you posted earlier today pretty much validates Amaro’s approach with Hamels. You do realize that, right?

  3. There’s plenty to criticize Amaro over. You really don’t need to cherry pick things out of context.

  4. The old farts that own the team including Montgomery and Giles told Rubin to keep all the over the hill gang together to keep the Comcast deal in tact and to make sure Comcast does not get the idea of breaking the contract due to a bunch of no name players assuming the positions of Howard, Utley, Ruiz and others.

    1. Ummm, that’s not really how things work Gramps. Cable deals aren’t made or lost by allowing a winning team with one of the highest salary pools to draw from to become a laughing stock.

  5. Wow! Cliff Lee is “coming off surgery”? When did he have surgery? God, Kyle, even your hindsight isn’t 20/20. We know you hate Rube but you’re just making stuff up now. This site getting worse each day.

  6. Hey man, do you like Ruben Amaro? I’m sure a dork like you knows more about sports and running a team than a former pro and front office person. You make yourself look dumb all the time. It’s been made pretty obvious that ownership wanted to keep the team together for tickets but you always skip that. You also forget that he made the team the best in baseball from 2009-2011, you know, when you made your bones with this blog. He’s made mistakes obviously, but how about pointing out some of the good things he’s done as well

    1. Tickets sell themselves when you win. Everyone knows this. To say that keeping the aging team together to sell tickets is like saying staring into the sun is good for your eyes. It’s bullshit and nobody believes you.

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