Ruben Amaro Jr. Is Commited To Winning With Philadelphia Phillies

August 25, 2010 by  
Filed under Fan News

There are two schools of thought when it comes to hiring a general manager for a Major League Baseball team: Either you hire a businessman or a baseball man.

The New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox have gone the businessman route with Brian Cashman and Theo Epstein and have been successful.

On the other side of the coin there are the Chicago White Sox and general manager Kenny Williams, a former MLB player who worked his way up from scout to the top of the front office and has done a solid job in Chicago for the past 10 years.

What we have here in Philadelphia is an incredible combination of both.

Ruben Amaro Jr. is a third generation baseball man. His grandfather Santo was a feared hitter in the Mexican League for 17 years, and his father Ruben Senior was a Gold Glove shortstop for the Phillies, as well as first base coach on the 1980 World Championship squad.

Amaro Jr. has been around baseball all his life. He was a batboy for the Phillies from 1980-1983 and played eight years in the Majors. This alone is impressive, but add into the mix that Amaro went to school at Penn Charter and then on to Stanford University, where he graduated with a B.S. in Human Biology. Along the way he was a star on the 1987 NCAA College World Series championship team.

Ed Wade brought Amaro aboard in 1998 as assistant GM. He remained in this position through the three seasons that Pat Gillick led the team. As an assistant from ’98 to 2008 he was involved in a nice turnaround that had a lowlight of a 65-win season in 2005 and finished with a World Series win in 2008 under third-year general manager Gillick, who retired after the season, handing the keys over to Amaro.

This combination of a lifelong baseball man with a quality education is evident time after time in the moves that come out of this front office. Amaro goes out and gets Raul Ibanez and Chan Ho Park and re-signs Jamie Moyer.

Down the stretch in 2009 Amaro brings in Matt Stairs, who was a big contributor in the postseason, by giving up Fabio Castro to the Blue Jays. The day before the trade deadline Amaro pulls the trigger and brings in Cliff Lee by giving Cleveland three marginal players and Jason Knapp; Lee finished 5-0 with a 0.68 ERA. With a National League pennant in his first year in the big chair, Amaro was off to a good start.

The 2010 season has had some ups and downs in regards to personnel moves but seems to be fairly steady right now. Trading the rights of Cliff Lee didn’t sit well with most people, and it looks worse now that the top prospect that the Phillies got in return, Tyson Gillies (who is legally deaf), appears to have some legal problems in front of him.

That move was countered by signing Roy Halladay, with Kyle Drabek being the big name given up in the trade. Placido Polanco, a Gold Glove second baseman with the Tigers, comes back to Philadelphia, a place that he said he never wanted to leave, to play third base. Polanco was a huge sign; he is an excellent fielder and was the second best clutch hitter on the Tigers behind Miguel Cabrera.

Add Roy Oswalt, who the Phillies acquired from the Astros, and I would say that the positives outweigh the negatives in the trade category.

The Phillies have been plagued by injuries this season and have done an incredible job fighting though it. Amaro’s decision to bring Domonic Brown to the majors was probably not going to happen until the September call-ups, but it appears to have been the right move.

The Detroit Tigers have been in the same situation this season as far as injuries go and haven’t reacted the same as the Phillies; they are in third place, 10 games back. Good teams react differently than great teams, and the Phillies are a great team right now.

Amaro made an excellent move this week, bringing aboard Hall of Fame pitcher Bruce Sutter as a minor league pitching consultant. While this move might fly under the radar of most people, it shows a huge commitment to the future of the ball club. Here you have a man with a 2.83 career ERA working with young talent.

It’s moves like this that separate the better teams in the league from the rest of the pack. This was a move made by the ballplayer Amaro. The contracts and numbers are where the Stanford grad Amaro shines.

The Phillies are in a unique position right now. They are being led by a man that sees both sides of the fence. The future should be very bright with Ruben Amaro Jr., with his vast knowledge of baseball and his knowledge in general, leading the team.

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

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