Here’s another article submitted by one our readers. As always, the opinions stated in a submitted article are not those of the staff here at Phuture Phillies. I expect that the opinion stated in the article could ignite a spirited debate. But, keep in mind that it is NOT a defense of the unpopular GM.
Was It Amaro, or Was It Us?
If you are like me, you haven’t been more excited for a new Phillies season in a while. The amount of young, controllable, high impact talent on this roster is extremely exciting. But as I was looking at the lineup recently, something odd popped in my head…every single player that I am excited about, was put on this team by Ruben Amaro. [note, this is not a defense of Amaro’s tenure…read to the bottom before jumping to conclusions]
Think about it…
Our outfield is pretty exciting. Nick Williams (rookie with an .816 OPS), Odubel (25 year old with 3 seasons of 3+ WAR, who is locked up long term) and Aaron Altherr (a 26 year old with an .884 OPS). Pretty exciting outfield right…well, we should say “Thanks Ruben”…as he traded for Nick, drafted Odubel in the Rule 5 and drafted Aaron in the Rule 4.
Let’s check out the infield. Of course, the excitement starts with Rhys Hoskins (who was a 5th round pick by Ruben’s regime). Caesar was signed as a FA while Ruben was the Assistant GM, but Scott Kingery was a part of Ruben’s last draft. JP Crawford was drafted by Ruben. Our 24 year old catcher of the future with a .761 OPS was acquired by Ruben via trade. Not sure what you think about Franco, but he too was signed by Ruben.
On the pitching staff, it is hard to find many better young, cheap and controllable pitchers in all of baseball than Aaron Nola, who at 24 years old is the 12th best starting pitcher in baseball statistically. Nick Pivetta might end up a high impact reliever, but he is clearly an MLB talent. Jared Eickhoff is also clearly a productive MLB starting pitcher. Ruben drafted Nola and traded for Pivetta and Eickhoff. And by the way, Ruben drafted Ken Giles, who was flipped for Vinny, another high impact arm.
By no means is this team a finished product. But damn…that is a pretty good base from which to build. There are not many teams in baseball with this quantity of young, high upside MLB ready talent.
I think we are in agreement up to here, right? Nothing really controversial. So why did I write this post?
Certainly it is not to defend the legacy of Ruben Amaro. He made his fair share of mistakes. My point is that maybe, just maybe, the issue was that we weren’t realistic on the time that it takes to rebuild a franchise which drafts at the end of the first round for nearly a decade. Maybe the reality is that there are cycles to baseball and we got spoiled and lost our patience.
We as fans had an amazing window where we could turn on the tv every night and watch future hall of famers play amazing baseball…and most likely, win that game. Five straight NL East Championships! A 102 win season for crying out loud. It was such a fun time to be a Phillies fan. Finally we didn’t have to be embarrassed to tell others at a party that the Phillies were our favorite team. And when it went away, almost suddenly, it hurt. It made us angry…and Ruben was an easy punching bag. He was the guy who signed Ryan Howard to that horrible contract (never mind that he was coming off his 4th straight season of being in the top 5 in NL MVP voting). He “let” Jason Werth go to the Nats (for a monster contract). He didn’t start the rebuild on time (according to national pundits who get paid to get clicks to their articles). So he must go. And out he went. He was our scapegoat. And boy did it feel good when he left…ha, ha, did you hear he is the first base coach of the Red Sox? Ha ha…what a loser!
But while enjoying the unceremonious ending to Ruben’s GM career, keep in mind that he built the team that we will be cheering next season. Pause and ask whether he was really as bad as we made him out to be. Or whether it just takes a while to rebuild a baseball team. Did you really give him enough time? It is important that we ask ourselves this, because while it won’t change the past…this exact circumstance will surely happen again.