Even with the temporarily muted debate regarding a Cliff Lee deal, the Philadelphia Phillies will go to Clearwater in February with hopes that the ace will dominate hitters again in April. Next July, negotiating with potential suitors will be different for Ruben Amaro Jr.
Firstly, this opinion piece is neither a defense of Amaro nor an attack on him. With many negative reviews about the decision-maker available, another one serves no purpose. Please, scroll down for this edition of Genuine Insight: Another View.
This article represents the thinking of a baseball man in my opinion. Reading people is the answer to their decisions: past, present and future. Also, there is a humanizing element.
There will be a published storyline each week.
Inheriting a winner is not always advantageous.
At the ’06 trading deadline, Baltimore turned down LF Pat Burrell for RHP Rodrigo Lopez–yes, he pitched for the Phils in 2009. Meanwhile, trying to free up money for free agents, the front office wanted to dump the salaries of Burrell and RHP Jon Lieber, but the Yankees demanded and received RF Bobby Abreu and RHP Cory Lidle instead. Because they did not expect to contend until ’07, management scrambled to add LHP Jamie Moyer and OF Jeff Conine in August and 1B Randall Simon on September 1, 2006.
If Amaro had inked a starting pitcher to a $24.5 million contract, he would have needed more than a 14-18 mark with a 6.10 ERA to satisfy the fan base. That fireballer signed a three-year agreement but only worked two summers before his release; that stated, the faithful directed their anger solely in his direction. If Amaro had inked a free-swinging, below-average left fielder for $17 million per season for seven campaigns, he would have received a seven-year average of .263 with 28.3 homers (198 total) and 82.3 RBI (a tally of 576) for $119 million. The players were RHP Adam Eaton and LF Alfonso Soriano: the first signed, and the second got that opportunity beginning with the 2007 season but selected the Cubs instead for eight tours. That Phils GM was Pat Gillick.
Observing general mangers, you can understand their restrictions, motives and actions–or lack thereof. Like the acquisition of RHP Zack Wheeler for RF Carlos Beltran in 2011, Sandy Alderson, the Mets head honcho, doesn’t make swaps he cannot win. Also, Alex Anthopoulos, Toronto’s decision-maker, caused quite a stir last offseason when he allegedly was reviewing the medical reports of competitor’s players under the guise of making a deal: He always had an interest in their personnel but none of their offers. His peers stopped asking.
Some GMs can be slow-moving, others have fixed habits, but many are mostly up-front. Jim Duquette of Sirus XM Radio and former general manager with the Orioles and the Mets vocalized that Amaro is going for wins to save his job. But a week later, the head honcho traded Roberto Hernandez for low-level prospects, creating a hole in the rotation. On the Dodgers’ end, decision-maker Nick Colletti is patching his 25-man roster with veterans, while he holds onto his top three minor leaguers: OF Joc Pederson, 22, in Triple-A; SS Corey Seager, 20, at Double-A; and LHP Julio Urias, 18, at High-A.
In the current market, Amaro is asking for young talent, which is the last resource other teams are willing to part with. Many deadline swaps were transacted, but approximately 70 percent of the players were either established in the show or made many MLB appearances. From Detroit for David Price, Tampa Bay–for instance–received two major leaguers and infielder Willy Adames, 19, who is in Single-A.
Joe Posnanski of NBC Hardball Talk writes that misguided loyalty was Amaro’s downfall. In other words, this problem began with unnecessary contracts to Ryan Howard and other stars from the 2008 club: Most fans agree with that and similar sentiments. That said, reality and perception are quite different: What if the trust in Amaro was already eroding before that?
When Gillick completed his obligation in ’08, it did not matter who the next head honcho was because anything short of a championship would be a disappointment. And it wouldn’t be long before an Eaton or Soriano would end the honeymoon period for Gillick’s successor. When Lee signed in 2011, it required the urging and financial approval of John S. Middleton at the top of the organizational food chain. A year earlier, however, the belief was that essentially trading Lee for Roy Halladay was a major error: It was one or the other but not both as per Phillies president David Montgomery.
Your boss says no and you take the blame.
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