Sitting in “Whale Beach,” an outdoor section of stands at Bright House Field reserved for media and VIPs, Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr., talks to Philadelphia magazine about the Jimmy Rollins controversy, Freddy Galvis’s health scare, and whether he is feeling the heat going into his sixth year at the helm after two straight seasons without reaching the playoffs.
Ruben Amaro Jr.: No. Every year is a challenge. We always have to deal with DLs and issues that pop up. Like (former GM) Dallas Green told me from the very beginning, we are firemen. We have to try and put out fires and this is just another set of them, and we have to deal and go from there.
Philadelphia magazine: How is Galvis (who contracted Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus after suffering a scrape on his left knee)?
Ruben Amaro Jr.: Galvis is doing just fine. We were concerned about the severity of the infection. I don’t know how long it is going to take him to be ready but I’m more concerned about his overall health and so far he’s doing a lot better.
According to the report, from Baseball America‘s Aaron Fitt, the Phillies thought Ben Wetzler would sign with the team when it selected him in the fifth round of last year’s draft. The Phillies didn’t meet the dollar number Wetzler wanted, so he went back to Oregon State.
In turn, the Phillies ratted on him to the NCAA for using an agent. They also allegedly told the NCAA about Jason Monda, a sixth-round pick of the Phillies who decided to return to Washington State. According to NCAA rules, players are not allowed to sign with an agent until they leave school. According to Fitt, it is standard practice for players to have an “advisor” who helps them negotiate with the team. It is immoral to force college kids to negotiate without any representation, but it makes sense: Best I can tell from its rules, the NCAA brass hates college students. (The rule: “If the student-athlete is considering returning to an NCAA school, that advisor may not negotiate on behalf of a student-athlete or be present during discussions of a contract offer, including phone calls, email or in-person conversations.”)
That was quite a smile Carlos Ruiz was sporting during the celebratory press conference that announced his re-signing with the Phillies. He should have been grinning. Any time a soon-to-be 35-year-old catcher can get $26 million for three years, especially after sporting a pedestrian .268 average, a mediocre .320 on base percentage and an uninspiring .688 OPS, it’s reason for big happiness.
Phillies fans, at least those who pay attention to performance over sentiment, were not lapping up the bubbly. Committing to Chooch for three more years, particularly at his advanced age, is hardly good news for supporters of a team that seems to think 35 is the new 25.
This past July, during an audience Q&A following his address to the national convention of the Society of American Baseball Research here in Philadelphia, Phillies team president Dave Montgomery was asked whether, in light of the Phils’ second straight subpar season, it might be time for the organization to take a look at something it has long resisted: advanced statistical analysis.
Montgomery, in the Q&A and an interview afterward, replied that contrary to the belief of many, the team does actually give some consideration to advanced stats. He said the Phillies’ front office has three employees in its player personnel department who have statistical evaluation as part of their portfolio, although no one employee does the work full-time. Montgomery added, however, that “character” plays a major role in the team’s personnel decisions. Read more »
If the Phillies had their way, each person in the Philadelphia area would have the ring tone on his or her phone changed to a sales pitch from broadcaster Tom McCarthy promising that things will be a lot better in 2014. That way, the team’s relentlessly positive message would have six months to sledgehammer its way into the collective consciousness, and average attendance next season wouldn’t dip below 30,000 a game.
About the only way the Phillies can possibly convince anybody that the 73-89 disaster that ended mercifully Sunday in Atlanta with–what else?–a loss is not a harbinger of worse things to come next year is with a full-on, all-out Soviet-style propaganda blitz designed to obscure this team’s substantial shortcomings.
Despite widespread belief that Ruben Amaro Jr., not Charlie Manuel, is responsible for this year’s dismal Phillies showing, it is Amaro who will keep his job. The Inky’s Matt Gelb broke that news as part of a broader Q&A with team president David Montgomery.
INQ: Given that chain of command, Ruben is under contract next year, but will he be back?
DM: Oh, Ruben is our general manager.
INQ: What is your confidence level in him being the guy to turn it around?
DM: I guess I have a broader perspective than other people do. I’ve seen Ruben at work since 1999. I’ve seen the diligence he’s put in as an assistant GM. I think he benefited greatly from the opportunity to work under two very good, but very different general managers in style with Ed [Wade] and Pat [Gillick]. It’s good we have both of their services still involved.
The interview covers a lot of topics, so read the whole thing.
While you were down the shore, at the pool, enjoying some R &R or, like some of us, reflooring your parents’ kitchen out in the ‘burbs this weekend, the Phils were busy getting trounced by the Braves down in Atlanta. Chipper Jones and company effectively ended the 2012 season for the Phillies (and maybe this era of good baseball in Philadelphia). The good guys had more errors (5) than runs (4), during the series. Now, as Tuesday’s trade deadline approaches, we turn our attention to Ruben Amaro’s inevitable fire sale. Let the Domonic Brown era begin? Here’s a running list of who’s been dealt and who will be in Washington to help Philly get swept by the Nats.
UPDATE: So, now that the deadline has come and gone, “fire sale” turned out to mean trading two starting outfielders. Cliff Lee, Joe Blanton, Juan Pierre and Ty Wigginton were all mentioned in rumors, but remain in red pinstripes for now. Tonight’s starting lineup is now Rollins, Pierre (LF), Utley, Howard, Ruiz, Nix (RF), Mayberry (CF), Frandsen (3B), and Lee.
UPDATE: Domonic Brown was called up following the trade of Shane Victorino. Charlie Manuel originally had him in the lineup for tonight’s game against the Nats, but didn’t think that Brown will make it in time. Catcher Brian Schneider was reactivated off the DL.
Roy Halladay – Still a Phillie.
Cliff Lee – Still a Phillie.
Cole Hamels – Have you seen that contract? Still a Phillie.
Vance Worley – Still a Phillie.
Joe Blanton – Still a Phillie. But, if money was the issue holding up the deal with the O’s, Blanton could still be dealt next month, provided he clears waivers.
Before Tuesday’s game against the Colorado Rockies, Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. held a closed-door meeting with Charlie Manuel and the rest of the Phillies coaches. For three hours, the group discussed how things are going (terribly) and what can be done moving forward. The meeting followed bad news about Freddy Galvis (suspended after a positive PED test), David Herndon (out for the season with Tommy John surgery), and Mike Stutes (who the hell knows what’s wrong with his shoulder). [Inquirer]
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