More often than not, over these next few days you are bound to see a multitude of news headlines screaming “Phinally!” “Phantastic!” and “Phired!” – all of which will be encapsulating the celebratory departure of hated Phillies General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr. Amaro was at the helm of the Phillies as they fell from the top of baseball to the very, very bottom and has therefore inspired a lot of hatred. Well-founded hatred? Maybe. However, Ruben Amaro Jr. still helped bring home a World Series to Philadelphia, and that is something that very few people in Phillies history can say.
It is true Ruben Amaro Jr. was handed a blossoming team, one which he did not really need to polish to compete for a World Series. As a result, Philadelphians will refuse to give Amaro the credit for taking the team to a second consecutive World Series in 2009. I recognize this.
After winning the World Series, the Phillies slowly began to dwindle into what they are now. They went from the best team in baseball in 2011 to the worst team in baseball in just a few years. A few massive contracts were handed over to players by Ruben, and a few players were kept for a bit too long. I recognize this as well.
However, what I fail to understand is how Ruben Amaro Jr. can inspire so much hatred for losing and rebuilding the Phillies’ organization while Sixers GM Sam Hinkie gets praised and applauded for losing virtually every game of the season for consecutive years. Both teams and both GMs found themselves in similar situations. Both teams were playoff contending teams that needed to go through a rebuilding process to be able to compete once again. The only difference is that the rebuilding process in baseball takes longer than the rebuilding process in basketball as baseball players take a much longer time to develop to be able to make an impact in the big leagues.
While the Phillies’ rebuilding process was admittedly a little behind schedule, Ruben has made huge strides this past season in constructing a team for the future, and he has received praise from management for his efforts. Amaro was applauded for his key contributions at the 2015 trade deadline, and as a result of his trade deadline success there were even rumors that he would be kept on as GM following the 2015 season.
The players who Amaro has acquired are now the foundation of the next Phillies team that will appear in the playoffs. At every position there is a player that is already playing in Philadelphia or developing in the minor league system who will be poised to make the Phillies’ next championship run. Just as Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, and Hunter Pence (three of which Amaro acquired) were the big names highlighting the depth and the talent in the Phillies organization in 2011, names such as Maikel Franco, J.P. Crawford, Nick Williams, Jake Thompson, Jorge Alfaro, and Cornelius Randolph will be the players to highlight the championship contending team in the future.
The next championship contending team in Philadelphia has already been crafted, and it is currently in its developing stages. Although Ruben Amaro Jr. will no longer be the GM when the Phillies push for the playoffs in a few years, it will still be the team that Ruben constructed. And, unfortunately Amaro will never receive the credit that he deserves for this future team.
It is safe to say that Ruben Amaro Jr. had quite the storied time at the helm of the Phillies’ organization. It is hard to find any other GM in sports who has been through the thick and thin like Ruben Amaro. Unfortunately as Phillies GM, Ruben was an easy scapegoat for a team that just was not performing. Yet, the World Series ring and Andy MacPhail say it best:
“Ruben had a direct impact on some of the best years in the team’s history…[and] He helped to create some great memories for Phillies fans with his accomplishments.”
via CSN Philly.com
Ruben, I thank you for your efforts in Philadelphia, and I bid you a friendly farewell.