Ruben Amaro: Anti-Analytics Comments Were Just a Ruse
Ruben Amaro was famous for saying the wrong thing to the media.
What’s funny is Amaro was initially thought of as a great young general manager. Taking over from GM Pat Gillick after the 2008 World Series, Amaro’s early success won him plaudits. “Could the Philadelphia Phillies general manager be the executive of the year in his rookie season?” one columnist wrote during the 2009 World Series. The column was titled “Amaro’s genius paying off for Phillies.”
Though the Phillies won three more division titles during Amaro’s run as GM, he piled up detractors despite pulling off amazing trades (acquiring Roy Halladay) and splashy, surprise free agent signings (re-acquiring Cliff Lee). But he signed Ryan Howard to a $125 million extension, a move that was immediately criticized.
And he just kept saying the wrong things. Hardball Talk’s Bill Baer compiled a bunch of them yesterday; one of the links was to a story headlined, “Ruben Amaro probably shouldn’t go on Philly talk radio anymore.” (Another was to a story where Amaro said he was tired of fans who “bitch and complain.” Hey, me too! The only bad thing about that is he eventually apologized.)
That leads us to a recent interview he gave to Fangraphs.
“I’ve always believed in analytics. I just didn’t make it all public (in Philadelphia). I thought it was more of a competitive advantage for me to keep our thought-process about analytics closer to the vest. We didn’t boast about what we were doing — we didn’t discuss it openly — because I didn’t think it was anybody’s business but our own as to how we evaluated.”
This is the team that famously relied on seven-year-old scouting reports as part of its analysis of whether to sign free agent Delmon Young.
But whatever: This is great! The Phillies were analytical whizzes all along, but Amaro was just trying to fool the rest of the league into thinking the Phillies were stuck in the baseball stone age.
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