Rich Dubee, Ruben Amaro Newsbeat
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
The Howard contract was the one that should have snapped Amaro out of whatever loyalty spell he was under. The second he offered that catastrophe of a deal, baseball writers all over the country wrote in all capital letters: “ARE THE PHILLIES OUT OF THEIR MINDS?” There was no other question.
This was way back in 2010, and it was utterly inexplicable — a $125 million deal that would not even begin for two years for a declining slugger? I believe it is the most inexplicable bad contract ever handed out. Sure, you could argue for other terrible that were more expensive and harmful — this Pujols deal could end up setting the standard — and there have been many smaller deals that are hard to explain, like the Twins giving Ricky Nolasco a four-year, $50 million deal.
But combine the situation (Howard still had TWO YEARS left on his deal), the age (he turned 32 before the contract even began) and an honest assessment of the player (a power hitter who couldn’t run, was a liability at first base, couldn’t hit lefties and was unlikely to age well) and I think you are talking about the most inexcusably bad contract in baseball history.
Then again … it was a loyalty contract. Howard was such an integral part of the Phillies rise, such an unexpected joy when, in his first full year, he hit 58 homers and led the league with 383 total bases. The Phillies wanted to keep him as a Philadelphia sports hero. Noble cause. It blinded them to the obvious: Howard’s best days were behind him….
Amaro wanted to hold on. It’s a natural instinct. And it’s a destructive one. It never fails to amaze how obtuse Major League general managers can be about things seemingly as obvious as aging. Now, the Phillies are terrible, they are old, they have not developed a useful young player for themselves in about a decade, and Baseball America has ranked their minor league system 22nd, 23rd and 27th the last three years.
Posted: July 30, 2014 at 11:54 AM | 23 comment(s)
Friday, June 13, 2014
Count the ring you nerds.
Amaro is talking about Jimmy Rollins’ pursuit of the club hit record and is comparing Rollins to Mike Schmidt. As transcribed by Scott, here’s what Amaro said:
“Yeah, we were checking it out. In fact Schmitty was in the booth yesterday when we were talking about it, and, um, I think it’s about a thousand difference in, ah, plate appearances. Pretty amazing. But their batting averages aren’t that different, which is kind of… weird. I don’t quite understand it.”
You can go to the Crossing Broad site and listen to the clip yourself if you don’t believe it. If you don’t want to go there, trust me, this is a faithful transcription.
This is truly astounding. Ruben Amaro Jr., the Phillies General Manager, in 2014, doens’t “quite understand” how Mike Schmidt and Jimmy Rollins can have the same career batting average but have about a 1000 plate appearance differential.
And don’t misunderstand - this isn’t a case of someone being prompted to talk about something without preparation. As the quote shows, Amaro has been thinking about this for at least a day. He was not caught off-guard here. And he’s not saying “I don’t quite understand” as an expression of amazement. He truly sounds bewildered on the recording.
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