Posts for amaro

An Alternate Take On Amaro’s Comments: HE WAS RIGHT!

Kyle - June 4, 2015

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By now, I’m sure everyone has read or heard the comments from Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. saying that Phils fans “don’t understand the game” and all we do is “bitch and complain.” He went on to say, “There’s a plan in place and we’re sticking with the plan. We can’t [always] do what’s best for the fan.”

Naturally, there was significant backlash to his comments. Local commentators ripped into him. Then the story went national. Amaro had to swim into Missanelli-infested waters in order to apologize. It was a huge mess.

[Side note:  Imagine being a young kid who is trying to sell season tickets to this disaster of a team.  It must be literally impossible.]

But here’s the thing: AMARO WAS RIGHT! Here’s why. Continue Reading

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Forbes Graph Makes You All Kinds of Sad About the Way Phillies Spend Their Money

Kyle Scott - March 28, 2013

image from mobilwi.typepad.com

From two years ago

For the second year in a row, the Phillies were Forbes' fifth most valuable team in Major League Baseball (6th in 2011), with a valuation of $893 million, or, about six Cole Hamels. That’s up from $723 million last year. 

Forbes estimates the Phillies churned a small profit – about $600k in 2012 – after a loss of about $11.5 million in 2011. The increase is easily explainable: Forbes estimates the Phillies made an additional $30 million in revenue in 2012. Also, player salaries rose from about $150 million in 2010 to $180 million in 2011, but only another $4 million in 2012. 

Valuations are up all over the league thanks in part to coming increases in national TV dollars. The Phillies can also expect a massive increase in local TV money when their contract with CSN expires in 2015. 

What’s interesting about the Forbes valuation – if not unsurprising – to me, though, is this:

Phillies_forbes

That’s basically wins per player payroll relative to the rest of the league. A score of 100 would be average.

Here’s how Forbes describes it: Compares the number of wins per player payroll relative to the rest of the MLB. Playoff wins count twice as much as regular season wins. A score of 120 means that the team achieved 20% more victories per dollar of payroll compared with the league average during the 2011-12 season.

The highlighted column represents 2009* (108), the year Ruben Amaro took over as GM, with 2010-2013 following from right to left, in order: 95, 86, 75, and 59.

*These figures represent the previous season, i.e. the 108 in 2009 is based on the World Fucking Championship in 2008.

While teams with larger payrolls, like the Phillies, will likely always be under the league average of wins per player payroll, and while a score of 59 is in-line with Yankees and Red Sox figures, the Phillies’ consistent decline is notable. They’ve gotten less value out of every dollar spent each year since Amaro took over as GM. It’s essentially the anti-Moneyball. Take a look at the A’s…

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… and Nationals….

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… and even the Angels…

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We all know the Phillies are spending more and not necessarily seeing more (postseason) success (though two consecutive seasons, 2010 and 2011, with the most regular season wins in baseball isn’t necessarily failure), but the sharp decline in player value – going from a team that won a World Series with a payroll more valuable than the league average to a team that missed the playoffs with one of the highest payrolls in the league – is troubling. This you knew– Forbes just put it into graph form.

SI Skewers Ruben Amaro

Kyle Scott - January 28, 2013

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Don't cry because it's mean. Crying because it's true. Sports Illustrated on the Phillies' offseason:

Faced with upgrading a roster whose position players were the league’s oldest by nearly a year, Amaro has succeeded in getting Young — not once but twice — if not significantly younger. In December, he traded Lindblom, a reliever acquired from the Dodgers for Victorino, as well as pitching prospect Lisalverto Bonilla to Texas in exchange for 36-year-old Michael Young, whose performance collapsed to .277/.312/.370 in 2012, his worst slash line since 2002. He’ll take over third base in place of Polanco, who to be fair is a year older and about half as durable, but at least able to do something besides imitate a matador at the hot corner. If there’s good news, it’s that the Rangers are paying $10 million of Young’s $16 million salary.

Not Young enough? To rebuild an outfield depleted not only by those trades but by the free agent departure of Pierre, Amaro went out and signed 27-year-old Delmon Young to a one-year, $750,000 deal, with incentives that can take it to $3.5 million. The money is inconsequential enough, but it looks like an overpay for a player who hit .267/.296/.411 with 18 homers last year with a −0.9 Wins Above Replacement Player mark even while being limited to just 31 games in the field, all of them in left. His 2012 wasn’t an isolated incident; once the top prospect in the game, he has been worth all of 1.2 WARP in a career of 3,575 plate appearances, suitable for the short half of a platoon (.307/.341/.483 lifetime against lefties, .275/.307/.401 against righties) but not much more, and that’s without considering his non-hitting problems. In his infinite wisdom, Amaro doesn’t plan to platoon Young, he plans to make him the everyday rightfielder — a position Young hasn’t played since 2007, when he was still a Devil Ray. Oh, and he’s coming off surgery to remove bone spurs in his ankle and has a weight clause built into his contract.

 

SI’s offseason grade for the Phillies? D. Read it here.

Here’s What Ruben Amaro Had to Say About Josh Hamilton, Ben Revere and Markets Today

Kyle Scott - December 7, 2012

image from mobilwi.typepad.com
Is that longways or around?

Both.

Ruben Amaro was on the WIP Morning Show today and he actually gave some insight into the Phillies’ offseason plans… without saying a whole lot of anything.

On Ben Revere: Rube said Sandy Alomar Jr. in Cleveland thanked him for getting the pain in the ass out of their division. “Pain in the ass” is perhaps the greatest compliment you can pay a speedy center fielder. There were years earlier in this millennium (that’s fun to write, and I like writing fun things) when I wanted to kill Juan Pierre and Luis Castillo for being those sorts of players.

“Did we overpay for the guy? I don’t know, maybe we did. But we felt like this is a very specific need. And I guess the philosophy is, if we are going to give up a fourth or fifth starter to get an everyday player in the Major Leagues, particularly at a premium position, then I would do it every time.”

On Josh Hamilton: “To have power on the club, there’s an overpayment that’s drastic. There aren’t very many guys out there other than B.J. Upton and Josh Hamilton, really, who have power. And you’re talking about going to stratospheres economically that I don’t know are the right thing for us to do. In Hamilton’s case, he’s the best player out there, there’s no question. But the commitment to bring him here may not be right for us. And that’s the issue.” 

“The only thing I can tell you right now is were trying to piece together a couple more of those needs (power, third base, setup man), and the other piece on that is that I’d like to go shorter on contracts rather than longer.”

My take: Amaro brought Hamilton’s name up first, which isn’t a great sign – since Rube prefers to hunt by lying in the weeds, waiting, watching, showing off his manhood – but then he talked about how Hamilton was the only true impact player out there and how he’s willing to overspend for guys like that. Since the Mariners are in talks with Hamilton for a three-year, $75 million deal (reportedly), you can take a little leap to the conclusion that the Phillies would absolutely be players for Hamilton. Rube made it clear they want to add a run producer, and if the Mariners are the only real competition for perhaps the best run producer in baseball, then it’s silly to think that the Phillies aren’t very seriously trying to get Hamilton, and doing it in a way that fulfills the predatory instincts of the Big Poker. 

On the market: “It was a scary market from the beginning because we didn’t feel like it was a very strong market, and yet there was the sense all of a sudden there was the influx of money (from TV contracts). So that’s a bad combo platter for the industry as far as how the markets are going to shift. And it shifted. You either got to play in it or you try to be creative and work around it, which is what were trying to do on a couple different fronts.”

I could listen to Rube talk about markets for hours and hours. Combo platter? Yes, I’ll have that, with a side of soup, Rube. This, from the guy who flings pools of cash onto negotiating tables with his massive manhood. Of course, in retrospect, the total dollars given to Halladay, Lee, Hamels and, yes, Howard are not out of line with the market

On trading Cliff Lee: Amaro said he never considered trading Lee, because if the Phillies have a chance of winning the World Series next year, Amaro says, it’s with the Big 3. He added that if there’s one guy who can reinvent himself after losing some stuff, it’s Roy Halladay, who will start throwing off a mound this month.

Rube also talked about why he’s really the only accessible GM in the town– said he grew up here, understands that fans are nuts and want to be involved in process, respects that… while saying almost nothing of use. 

Tell me lies, Rube. Tell me sweet little lies. 

Audio after the jump.

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Translating Ruben Amaro and Charlie Manuel’s Press Conference

Kyle Scott - October 4, 2012

Screen Shot 2012-10-04 at 6.02.12 PM

Last year, about this time but a few weeks later, Ruben Amaro and Charlie Manuel sat down in front of reporters, separately, and tried to convince the assembled scriptuals and, by extension, fans that the Phillies would have a new approach at the plate in 2012, that things would change. That Jimmy Rollins would turn into a slap hitter. That Ryan Howard would strike out less. That Shane Victorino wouldn’t be an idiot. That Hunter Pence, too, wouldn’t be an idiot. That Chase Utley would… well, keep being Chase Utley.

We chronicled Amaro's season-ending press conference here. It came just days after the Phillies lost in five games to the World Champion St. Louis Cardinals. Just days after they only scored one run in the final 17 innings of the series.

Not even the most naive fan really bought what Amaro and Manuel were saying, but all of us crossed our fingers that some of the core players and veterans could change their games, just a bit.

Then we all remember that Ryan Howard was rolling around on a scooter. 

Then the Phillies signed Jim Thome.

Re-signed Jimmy Rollins.

Signed Ty Wigginton.

Laynce Nix.

Juan Pierre.

All of a sudden, it seemed like more of the same. Amaro, who was hell bent on changing the Phillies’ approach at the plate, added players who were essentially older, slower and less-talented (Pierre notwithstanding) versions of old, slow and talented players the Phillies already had.  

Ryan Howard is a home run threat and strikes out a lot? Let’s get Jim Thome to fill-in for him. We moved him five years ago to make room for Howard, but now Thome is older and not as good as he used to be. He’ll make a great addition.

Let’s sign Ty Wigginton and Laynce Nix, below average Major League players who are only marginally more versatile than guys like Ross Gload and Matt Stairs, who we parted ways with in recent years. 

I didn’t quite get it from the beginning. Sure, Pierre and Jonathan Papelbon (money aside) proved to be welcome additions and quality performers. But you can argue that the Phillies moved laterally, and therefore, because of age and injuries, backward last offseason.

Then came Howard’s setback. The non-setback that pushed his return back at least two months.

Then the Utley fiasco.

All this, before the season started. By that point, the comments about changing the approach had been forgotten, replaced with talk about whether the Phils could fill out a lineup card with names that weren’t on a schedule at a supermarket last October while the Phils were playing in their fifth straight postseason.

I bring all that up, not to ball tap you into submission, but to say that it feels like just yesterday that Amaro and Manuel sat there, giving us answers that they might not have even believed. And now here we are again, a post-season press conference to explain why there is no postseason. This time what went wrong wasn’t a poorly timed late-season slump. This time everything went wrong. This time the Washington Nationals are NL East Champs.

This time, it’s the end of days.

So, instead of trumpeting their words like I did last year and like most of the team’s beat writers will do, I’d like to translate some of the more important points and quotes from today’s 45-minute, season-ending press conference. Because last year I felt confident that Amaro and Manuel knew what they were doing (they had earned the benefit of the doubt). But not this year. This year I’m scared. 

Leggo!

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Friday Morning Roundup, and Darin Ruf Breaks Ryan Howard’s Home Run Record in the Minors

Ryan Gillon - August 31, 2012

(Courtesy: Reading Eagle)

And he did it with a monster August.

Coming into the month, Reading Phillies slugger Darin Ruf had 18 homers spanning April to July.

Last night, he hit his 20th home run in the month of August alone, which was what he needed to surpass Ryan Howard's record in a Reading uniform. With 38 homers in total, Ruf is Reading's new home run king.

Even before he broke the record, he caught the eye of Phillies manager Charlie Manuel.

Via Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly:

“Ruf’s had a big year,” said Manuel, who has always had a thing for hitters. “He’s had an extraordinary year. Ruf is something that pops out at you. He’s trying to hit his way to the big leagues. That’s the way it used to be. You had to do something to get to the big leagues. Evidentally, Ruf is an old throwback.”

“I want to see him whether it’s at the end of the year or spring training. I’m looking forward to seeing him. I saw him on TV and it looked like he’s got a good swing. He’s strong.

 

He may just get a chance to get to the big leagues in September with this news from yesterday.

 

Ruf has already been named the MVP of the Eastern League and their rookie of the year. As Corey Seidman of CSN Philly mentions, it's worth noting that Ruf is also fighting for the Triple Crown with 38 homers, 102 RBI, and .321 batting average. The Reading Phillies have four games left in the regular season.

 

A Thursday recap and a Friday preview:

Jeffrey Lurie said that Andy Reid's job is on the line this year. I think he's full of shit. 

Jimmy Rollins was benched yesterday for not hustling. No one anywhere blinked.

The NHL dickishly released their National TV schedule for the… upcoming… season.

The Eagles will cut 22 players from their roster by 9:00 pm tonight.

My Temple Owls will play Kyle's Villanova Wildcats in the Mayor's Cup tonight at Lincoln Financial Field tonight. Spoiler Alert: Temple wins.

Drinker's West is having an NHL '12 tournament on Tuesday, September 11th at 8:00 pm. And to answer some questions, you do have to be 21 and you're playing solo.

Happy Friday, folks! More to come.

When Lies Collide: Paul Holmgren and Ruben Amaro Hung Out Last Night

Kyle Scott - August 8, 2012

Screen Shot 2012-08-08 at 9.20.14 AM
Pic via (@getzy89)

As first pointed out by Phillies beat writer Kevin Cooney, Paul Holmgren was in attendance at last night’s Phillies game (oh hey look– a win!), apparently as a special guest of one Mr. Ruben Amaro Jr. I can only assume that their encounter mirrored the interplay between two alpha male coyotes trying to establish dominance over each other in the wild.

“How are things, Paul?”

“Great. Really strengthened the team at the blue line. Looks like we’re the early winner of last summer’s blockbuster trades, too. You?”

“Not bad. Sellout streak is at 258 games, Chase has never looked better, Doc is his usual self, and we’re thinking about extending Victorino– the fans really love the Flyin’ Hawaiian. And that Cliff Lee contract looks like a real bargain.”

“Yeah, that’s how I feel about Bryz. Only 62 years and $51 million?! That's an AAV of, like, $20,000 or something. Other teams are envious of that one.”

“Just like our deal with Howard.”

“Really??”

“No.”

“Yeah, I was gon…”

“We just re-signed Hamels. $144 million. That’s six zeros, Paul. Six. One four four six zeros.”

“We got Weber.”

CHMM: The Phillies are About to Offer Cole Hamels a Six-Year, $130 Million Contract

Kyle Scott - July 18, 2012

image from mobilwi.typepad.com
Here's your fucking signal

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman:

The Phillies are sending signals that they are planning to make an initial offer to star lefthanded pitcher Cole Hamels for about $130 million over six years within the next few days, sources familiar with the team's thinking told CBSSports.com.

The Phillies are believed to have had some conversations in recent days with Hamels, and while no official offer has been made yet, sources say the team is interested in doing a deal in the range of Matt Cain's six-year arrangement with the Giants.

 

Sending signals? Not sure what that means. Did Ruben Amaro go out to dinner with Hamels’ agent John Boggs (he didn’t), open his legs and let The Big Poker out? Did he send him winky faces from his battery pack-enhanced iPhone? Touch his face and adjust his glasses ever so seductively? Did assistant GM Scott Proefrock exchange forlorn texts with Boggs, like he did with Cliff Lee’s agent? We don’t know. But, per a million reports, we do know the Phillies are planning to make an offer. 

The other day, Heyman reported it would be for at least $120 million, which wouldn’t be enough. Our Cole Hamels Millions Meter currently stands at $154 million (though we think a hometown discount would be worth around $10 million from Hamels– 8 mil from him and 2 mil from Heidi because she likes the shopping and children here). 

Heyman thinks the offer will come in around six-years, $130 million, which would be just slightly more than the total six-year, $127.5 million contract Matt Cain got with the Giants.

We’ll keep you updated. But we’ll continue to assume that the only signals Ruben Amaro ever sent involved a blonde, a high top table at a bar, and possibly a swirling motion with his tongue.

Various reports of offers coming under perceived market value. – $3 million. CHMM: $151 million.