• August 17, 2022

Ruben Amaro Should Have Been Fired Before Manuel

horriblegmSomething had to change.

The Philadelphia Phillies are going to miss the playoffs for the second straight season. They’re likely to finish below .500 for the first time since 2002. There’s even a chance they could fall to last place behind the lowly Miami Marlins.

Too many things have gone horribly wrong in the last two years for this franchise. A dramatic shakeup was needed. Responsibility had to fall on someone’s shoulders, and that someone’s head would have to roll in as atonement.

And so, the illustrious braintrust of the Phillies’ organization put their heads together. They considered all of the events and evidence before them, and found fault in a key member of the franchise. They found him to be responsible for the team’s failures and decline, and passed judgement on their guilty party by ordering a termination, effective immediately.

They got the wrong man.

Manager Charlie Manuel became the team’s scapegoat this afternoon, as the team announced the dismissal of the nine-year manager who had played an important role in 1,000 regular season victories, five division titles, two World Series appearances, and one championship.

Manuel certainly deserves his share of the blame for the decline of this team. Charlie’s message wasn’t getting through to the team. A manager who has been billed as a “hitting guru” couldn’t do anything to improve this team’s collective frustrating, impatient approach at the plate, an issue that has hurt this team since 2010.

But Manuel was far from the primary reason that this team has fallen off the map.

The main culprit of the last two terrible seasons has been General Manager, Ruben Amaro Jr.

In order for a manager to be successful, his GM has got to provide him with a talented, deep roster. A roster with few holes, and capable of sustaining injury. Amaro completely and utterly failed to do this, and instead provided Charlie with a bunch of miserable, ineffective free-agent signings that seemed doomed to fail from the start.

Let’s look at Amaro’s moves following the 2011 season.

  • Signed Jim Thome to a one-year deal. Amaro hoped that Thome would be able to fill in for Ryan Howard at first base, but Thome’s back would not allow him to hold up physically. Amaro essentially signed an aging guy who could only play every day as a DH, and sure enough failed to deliver much to the team.
  • Signed Jonathan Papelbon to a four-year deal worth over $55 million. Papelbon was good for the team for a year and a half, but has gone into a decline, losing velocity off of his fastball and has become a distraction in the clubhouse. With two years and massive amounts of money remaining on his deal, Papelbon is untradeable and the Phillies could potentially be stuck with an expensive and ineffective closer.
  • Made a trade for infielder Ty Wigginton, who he acquired instead of pursuing Michael Cuddyer. Wigginton turned out to be a massive bust, and Cuddyer is currently batting .321 with 17 homers and 66 RBI’s for the Rockies this season.
  • Signed outfielder Laynce Nix to a two-year deal, expecting him to become a key member of the bench. Nix spent most of 2012 on the disabled list, and hit just .180 this year before being released.
  • Signed Dontrelle Willis and Chad Qualls to one-year deals. This was how Amaro decided to address the bullpen for the 2012 season. He got a couple of veterans on the cheap, and tried to pass them off as answers for the pen. Willis didn’t make it out of Spring Training, and Qualls was an absolute disaster.

Amaro hung Manuel out to dry. He gave him a roster with no offensive depth and no bullpen, and pinned the team’s hopes on Ryan Howard and Chase Utley’s ability to return healthy.

How did Amaro do preparing the team to be competitive prior to this season?

  • Amaro began the off-season by releasing Nate Schierholtz. A very curious decision, considering the complete lack of outfielding depth on the roster.
  • Signed Mike Adams to a two-year deal. Adams is a great pitcher when healthy, and this was a well-received move when it was made. But Adams came with a considerable injury history, and he broke down very early in the season, leaving Manuel without a quality set-up man.
  • Signed starter John Lannan to one-year deal. Lannan was picked up to fill out the rotation, and he’s spent most of the year on the disabled list. He’s got an ERA in the low 5.00’s.
  • Signed Chad Durbin to add another veteran presence to the bullpen. Durbin was absolutely terrible, and was released in June.
  • Signed Delmon Young to a one-year deal. Although Young was a poor outfielder, Amaro had no problem committing the right fielder’s job to Young. Young was not a good fit for this team, and was recently released. By committing the team to Young, Amaro stunted Darin Ruf’s progress, keeping the right-handed slugger sealed away to rot in the minor leagues.

Somehow, Amaro managed to do an even worse job than he did a year ago. He left Manuel with one of the worst outfields in the major leagues, and a completely empty bullpen.

Still not convinced about Amaro’s inability to build a team? Take a look at his trade history when it comes to selling veteran players.

  • In 2009, Amaro infamously dealt Cliff Lee to the Seattle Mariners for Phillippe Aumont, Tyson Gilles, and J.C. Ramirez. The trade was one of the most criticized in Philadelphia sports history, and called the organization’s desire to win into question. As if that wasn’t bad enough, Amaro couldn’t get a halfway decent return for one of the best pitchers in baseball. Aumont can’t throw strikes and is a complete headcase. Ramirez got a chance to pitch this year, but was quickly designated for assignment. Gilles has been unable to crack the major league roster.
  • Amaro dealt Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence at last year’s trade deadline. In exchange for two All-Star outfielders, the Phillies received a very poor return. Victorino netted reliever Josh Lindblom and Ethan Martin. Lindblom is no longer part of the team just one year later, and Martin may not be able to stick in the major leagues.
  • Pence got the Phillies an effective outfielder Nate Schierholtz, who Amaro decided not to keep, believing that Laynce Nix was a better option. Schierholtz went on to hit .269 with 16 homers and 52 RBI’s for the Cubs this year. The trade also landed the team catching prospect Tommy Joseph, whose future is in serious doubt after dealing with concussion problems all season.

These failed trades have set the Phillies back. These were Amaro’s opportunities to add some good young talent that could help the organization, and he failed to acquire even one impactful player.

It was probably time for the Phillies to move on from Charlie Manuel, but there’s no doubt that Ruben Amaro has his fingerprints all over this team’s failures. In his five years as general manager, he’s proven that can hand out bad contracts, make bad decisions in free agency and trades, and doesn’t know to handle or develop young talent.

Where is his accountability in all of this? If all of his failures haven’t gotten him in trouble with the organization, what will? Amaro has sent this team to rock bottom, and he should have been giving his farewell news conference before Charlie Manuel.

 Denny Basens is the editor of GCobb.com. Email him at dbasens@ycp.edu, or follow him on Twitter.

 

 

Denny Basens

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11 Comments

  • Excellent article Denny, spot-on!

    Amaro will be here until Gillick agrees it’s time for him to go.

  • This is what must be done RIGHT NOW: Sandberg must be given the hammer: He tells the bums: ‘I don’t give a fuck about your contract; you jake it on the field, you’re sitting down…You don’t like it, fuck you’.
    Does Sandberg have the balls for this and will Amaro & Montgomery back him?…That’s the only way this will work.

    • FRANK! YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY CORRECT AND ROLLINS WOULD BE THE 1ST ONE ID BENCH, THE 1ST TIME HE DOESNT HUSTLE RUNNING OUT A GROUND BALL .IN MY OPINION ROLLINS SHOULD BE MOVED ,AND RUIZ SHOULD NOT BE SIGNED.IF THEY CAN GET YOUNGER IN THOSE 2 SPOTS, ALONG WITH A YOUNG OUTFIELD [RUFF IS NOT DOING TOO BAD IN RF] AND HOPEFULLY ASHE [OR IF FRANCO COULD WIN THE JOB NEXT YEAR [ A RIGHTHANDED BAT WOULD FIT A LOT BETTER THOUGH I LIKE ASHE ALSO]FREDDY GALVIS CAN DO THE JOB AT SS AS A FIELDER ,AND WOULD SAVE ROLLINS AND RUIZ MONEY [ABOUT 15 MILLION] TO USE FOR THE BULLPEN.AND I DO AGREE WITH DON P DONT GO TO THE GAMES [OR CUT DOWN THE GAMES YOU GO TO ,I KNOW ITS STILL A FUN NIGHT OUT]VOICE YOUR DISPLEASURE BY WRITING THE PHILLIES ABOUT THE DIRECTION THEY ARE GOING, AND THAT THEY NEED A CHANGE DESPERATELY IN THE GM POSITION.THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR THIS TEAM TO NOT BE IN THE HUNT EVERY YEAR WITH THE MONEY THEY TAKE IN.THEY HAVE A TERRIBLE FARM SYSTEM ,AND ARE NOT BIG PLAYERS IN THE INTERNATIONAL MARKET [EVEN THOUGH 40 % OF THIS YEARS ALL STARS WHERE NOT US BORN.THE SMART TEAMS ARE GOIUNG AFTER THIS MARKET STRONGLY, AND WE ARE NOT TALKING ABOUT A TON OF MONEY IN THE LARGE SCHEME OF THINGS.AND WHO IS MAKING THE DECISIONS AS TO WHO COMES UP WHEN SOMEONE IS INJURED? THERE ARE A FEW PLAYERS WHO I BELIEVE SHOULD BE GIVEN A SHOT BEFORE THE MICHAEL MARTINEZ. AND , BJ ROSENBERGS ARE BROUGHT UP ,WHEN OTHERS LOOK TO BE BETTER OPTIONS .STEVE SUSDORF I KNOW IS NOT CONSIDERED A BIG TIME PROSPECT BECAUSE HES 27 AND DOES NOT HIT HRS ,BUT ALL HE DOES IS HIT [328 THIS YEAR ,286 IN 2012 ,339 IN 2011] CERTAINLEY A LOT BETTER OPTION THAN LANCE FRIGGIN NIX WAS .I URGE EVERY FAN TO VOICE YOUR DISPLEASURE WITH THE PHILLIES IN SOME WAY,ITS THE ONLY WAY ANYTHING WILL BE DONE ANYTIME SOON .OTHERWISE IT WILL BE 2 OR 3 MORE YERAS OF THIS DECLINE, BEFORE CHANGES ARE MADE .I WANT TO SEE THE CHANGES NOW. THE SIXERES AND EAGLES ARE HEADED IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION BECAUSE THEY HAVE SMART PEOPLE RUNNING THE SHOW,HOPEFULLY THE PHILLIES WILL WAKE UP, BUT PRESSURE NEEDS TO BE PUT ON THEM IN A BIG WAY.WE AS FANS MUST GET THEIR ATTENTION.

  • You are forgetting 1 very important factor about Anaro..
    He and his Father (Reuben Sr) are and were very close to
    Paul Owens and most of the Ownership Group that Own the Phillies
    Mans to is signed thru 2015 and will be given every opportunity
    To turn things around whether us Fans like it or not
    Loyalty & Comfort within the Phillies Upper Organization is very important
    To this Ownership Group..

  • You are forgetting 1 real important factor, if you want change do what we did before when they stunk before wising up and getting it right. Stop going to the games, stop buying the merchandise and just stop supporting this team, general manager and owners who dont know their ass from a hole in the ground!!! Listen Charlie was a big part of the problem but Amaro was the REAL culprit. The strapper should have been fired oh and the crocodile tears please get the fok out! What a classless bunch of creeps they left him holding the bag like he was the only one responsible.Like it or not Paulman you kill me sometimes we dont have to like anything like I said earlier in my reply READ IT or be the fool and watch the games, buy the merchandise, support these players and its culprits because I sure as hell aint!!!!

  • Article is spot on.. I dont agree with what the Phils did at all.

  • Denny, I’ve only been saying, everything you stated in your article, for 3 years now! He has pictures of upper management, & ownership! That’s the only conceivable reason, why this inept, brainless, worthless POS, still has a job! His phony crocodile tears at the presser, only pissed me off more! Putting a lame duck coach, in this predicament, with this garbage, trash truck juice smelling, abortion of a team, is the biggest disgrace, & embarrassment I’ve ever seen!Now this team will be $#!T, for several years! No minor leagues! Bad FA periods coming up for the next 2-4 years! Old, declined, broken down, overpaid, roster! Missed opportunities, at this years trade deadline! How can anyone be optimistic, with the future of this team? We need 3/5 of a starting rotation, depending on what happens with the Cuban kid. We need an ENTIRE BP! We need a RF! We need a catcher {not bringing back PEDless Chooch}! Howard & Rollins need to go, but are un-tradeable! Utley just got an ill-advised, extension! AND upper management, is showing their true colors, by not getting rid of Amaro! I’ve only been saying the same crap, for 3 years, & was ripped, called names, & vilified for it! Good luck Charlie! You did deserve better, but it isn’t a surprise, it was inevitable, & time to move on! t’s just ashame, the POS Ruin 2morrow, wasn’t axed 1st! I guess having a mouthful of .300 Monty, works?

  • From barstoolsports that I liked

    Hey, Amaro–nice tears, asshole. Love how he lead off the Charlie Manuel scapegoat press conference by talking about how hard of a move this was and how much he means to him and the organization. If Amaro were as good at, say, acquiring baseball players that can actually play baseball, then maybe we wouldn’t be here right now. Whether or not Manuel deserved to be fired is debatable, but that’s not the point here. The timing of the move is a complete fucking joke. Here’s a few reasons why.
    1. Fuck Ruben Amaro Jr. You re-sign Chase Utley to a two year deal (potentially longer) last week and may be in a situation where you’re forced to bring back Carlos Ruiz and/or Roy Halladay because of the organization’s complete inability to replace its own aging stars. So while Amaro repeatedly pointed to the building towards the future, his player personnel moves don’t mesh with this concept.
    2. Fuck Ruben Amaro Jr. Again. Was it Charlie Manuel that signed Laynce Nix, Delmon Young, Jonathan Papelbon, Mike Adams, or Chad Qualls over the past two seasons? Was it Manuel that drew up that sweet Ryan Howard contract? Or re-signed a mediocre shortstop to a three year deal well into his mid 30′s? I don’t know how the Phillies ownership group can internally evaluate this disaster and not conclude that Amaro, if anybody, needs to go.
    3. Also, Fuck Ruben Amaro Jr. If you want to overlook that Manuel was the winningest manager in franchise history and he’s the only guy to actually lead a team to a championship in this shit hole of a sports town over the last 30 years, that’s fine. His message may have been growing stale and it may have been time to move on, but how do you not let the guy finish the season and at least take a victory lap? Guy was a class act and deserved better than this. Manuel made it a point to say he didn’t quit or resign. Maybe he can take a short trip down 95 this winter to Washington. Guy has a proven track record of getting the most out of a talented team in its prime. I’d root for him, too, because it’s not like this fucking team is going anywhere anytime soon.

  • it’s typical corporate America….. fire the middle man, the manager, but the executive at the top who makes the big decisions get’s to live another day and collect a ridiculous paycheck… Rueben Amaro is an Ed Wade disciple and ever since he took over as GM, the franchise has degraded. It’s time to go outside the organization for the next GM.

  • How about Manuel as GM and Sandberg as field manager…Tell me why not?

    • It’s over for Charlie, time to let it go and wish him a happy retirement..

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