Quick 6 with Ruben Amaro Jr.
Ruben Amaro Jr. on the health of Ryan Howard: "Ryan loves to play and he wants to play. I think he’s feeling as close to 'himself' as he’s felt in a long time." (AP)
In the midst of a busy offseason, Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. joined Comcast SportsNet’s “Philly Sports Talk” on Monday to discuss a number of topics regarding the state of the team, including Roy Halladay, Ryan Howard, Carlos Ruiz and more.
Here’s what Amaro had to say:
Where are you on Halladay and what will it take to bring him back?
"I’ve had a couple of conversations early in the offseason with Roy’s representative, Greg Landry, and I have not spoken with him over the last maybe 10 days or so. We’re kind of trading phone calls right now.
"I’m not really sure what the future holds for Roy Halladay. I think everybody knows how much I respect him, how much he’s respected by our club, by our organization. I’ll be frank with you, I just don’t know exactly what’s going to happen with him and time will tell."
What’s the latest on Howard and how many games would you expect him to play if he’s 100 percent healthy?
"I hope he’s playing 145, 150 games. Ryan loves to play and he wants to play. I think he’s feeling as close to 'himself' as he’s felt in a long time. There’s no question that Ryan Howard is an integral part of our club. Having him in the middle of the lineup and producing for us is absolutely imperative.
"As I’ve said before, if the guys in the middle of the lineup, our veteran guys, are not producing, then it’s going to make it very difficult for us to contend. But if they are, then I do believe that we can contend and will because I think they we have some good young players around them.
"The Reveres, and the Browns, and the Asches or the Maikel Francos, whoever it might be playing third base, they’re young players who can help shape our club even though we have an older core, I do believe that those young players can help our older core and move us forward."
Why did you think Ruiz was the best option at catcher?
“Clearly he’s most familiar with our pitching staff, our pitching staff’s familiar with him. But again, as I’ve said before, he’s caught the last pitch of the season and he knows what it takes to be a world champion. I fully expect him to come back and play not just offensively, but defensively as well to the caliber of play that I know Chooch can do."
How important is the way Ruiz handles the pitching staff?
"Well it’s clear that that position is probably one of the most underrated and one of the most important positions as far as I’m concerned -- someone who can run the game, someone who knows how to win, someone who knows how to work a pitcher through an inning. With some of the young players and pitchers that we have, I think he’s going to be an excellent liaison to Bob McClure, who’s our new pitching coach, I think he’s going to help us in that regard as well.
"But he’s also a very clutch hitter. He’s important for us offensively as well, and with what was out there on the free-agent market, we felt like he was the right guy for us."