Matthew H. Rusk
IT’S IRONIC, PERHAPS, that the first bit of feedback Amaro received after the good news broke was not one of praise, but derision. It came in the form of a text from the recently expatriated Jayson Werth. All it said was this:
“That reaction from Jayson was funny,” says Amaro in his office in February, again flashing that smile. “He was pissed off. He had just signed with Washington. He said to me, ‘You dumbass. You could’ve had both of us.’ And I said, ‘You’re the dumbass. You could have taken our arbitration offer.’”
At any rate, the stakes for Amaro’s future are now even higher than when he first took this job, just five days after the 2008 Broad Street parade. The Phillies have made 13 trades and committed more than $255 million to have this new rotation of Halladay, Lee, Oswalt and Cole Hamels (oh yeah, and Joe Blanton).
But what if these guys don’t pitch up to expectations? What if the bats go as stone-cold as they did during last summer’s slump, or in the NLCS against the Giants? What if losing Werth proves more detrimental than expected?
“They love me now,” Amaro says, looking out at a South Philly winter fog. “We’ll see what happens in three months.”