Amaro is Right on Nola, but Needs to Look in the Mirror


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I’ve been a fan long enough to not be mocked by Ruben.

The Phillies are a 95-ish loss team, or worse. Ruben Amaro is in his seventh season leading the front office. He’s been in the front office even longer. His tenure in charge has been marked by continuing diminished results, season over season. His tenure in charge has been marked by continuous bad contract, that all seem to go too long. His tenure in charge has been marked by a continually diminishing minor league system and poor drafts. Not all of this has been Ruben’s fault, at least not completely. He certainly shouldn’t have signed the Howard extension, but he couldn’t have known he’d be injured severely before the first pitch. He certainly could not have known Roy Halladay would simply break down, all of a sudden, though he probably should have dealt him after 2011 anyway. Even with these unlucky moments in his tenure, we still must mark his era of Phillies baseball with a Hall-of-Shame- Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, Tyson Gillies, J.C. Ramirez, Shane Watson, etc.

As such, today’s CSN Jim Salisbury piece in which Amaro seems to insult the fan base is a tough read. Ruben Amaro Jr. is 100% correct in saying he is going to be conservative with his prospects, particularly Aaron Nola and Zach Eflin. The truth is that Nola and Eflin are not finished products on May 26th, 2015, and have no reason to be in the big leagues. You don’t rush young pitchers to the majors in general, and you certainly don’t do that when the big league club is a non-contender. Frankly, I have no expectation, nor do I want to see Nola, Eflin, J.P. Crawford, Roman Quinn, or any other major prospect in Philadelphia before they are ready, September, next Opening Day, or whenever makes the most sense for the club’s future. The plan for the 2015 Phillies was always to build for the 2017 Phillies. That should remain the plan, and we shouldn’t rush up any young prospect just because they are doing well where they are. I totally agree with Amaro’s point. The language he used was just impossible to swallow though:

“I think we’re going to be conservative,” he said.

That often does not sit well with fans who want to see the Phillies be aggressive with their prospects.

“They don’t understand the game,” Amaro said. “They don’t understand the process. There’s a process. And then they bitch and complain because we don’t have a plan. There’s a plan in place and we’re sticking with the plan. We can’t do what’s best for the fan. We have to do what’s best for the organization so the fan can reap the benefit of it later on. That’s the truth.”

I’ve had a 17 game plan to the Phillies since 1991, I’ve had the same type of plan to the IronPigs since their birth in 2008, and I’ve probably watched too many thousands of baseball games to count. Does this mean I know as much as a GM? No. It does mean that as a fan, I really shouldn’t be insulted by a GM who’s track record running my team hasn’t worked out lately. While I agree with him on his point, I just was struck by the blunt disregard he had in saying it. Even if you aren’t a fan who watches as much baseball as me, you really don’t deserve this kind of back-hand from your GM. You have every right to be frustrated, angry, and calling into WIP or the Fanatic to criticize Ruben for his decisions, and frankly, he should not be responding. What he said publicly here is something to save for the private rooms where we don’t have to hear it. The fans shouldn’t be insulted this way.

The Phillies are heading towards 100 losses possibly, and the frustration is mounting amongst the fans. There is no reason to antagonize that. Ironically, I actually think Ruben has done a fairly decent job, since the 2014 trade deadline, with his rebuild. This doesn’t excuse him from his overall record, or for saying what he said here. If people are frustrated, Ruben included, he needs to look in the mirror. The answer to why still has to lie with the guy who is running the baseball side of the team.

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