For years Ruben Amaro Jr. has said he skirted advanced stats in favor of more old fashioned methods of player evaluations such as the use of the trained human eyes of longtime baseball men. It seems as if that human eye methodology was also used in the evaluation of all of baseball's General Managers and ranks Amaro dead last among them, according to the Sporting News.
Amaro took over for Pat Gillick right after the Phillies won the World Series in 2008, and since then, it has been a direct downhill run. Philadelphia lost the World Series in 2009, lost the NLCS in 2010, lost in the first round in 2011, missed the playoffs in 2012, and fell under .500 in 2013. The next stop could well be last place, but even if the Phillies manage to avoid the cellar, Amaro’s attempts to build a team as if it is still 2008 have been baffling. After a year in which the Phillies were too old and broke down physically, Amaro actually made them older in the offseason. You almost have to double check that Tony Gwynn and John Mayberry are not actually their fathers.
The decline is hard to argue with no matter what metric you choose. And the resistance to pressing the reset button in an attempt to build a younger core is certainly frustrating.
But the contract that will forever tarnish anything else that Ruben Amaro Jr. does as the GM of the Phillies will always be the Ryan Howard deal. Phils fans are remembered of that albatross all to often as Howard goes down on strikes night after night.
And where are any of the pieces Amaro got back for Cliff Lee when he needed to stock the cupboard? The records of the Phillies minor league affiliates this year are atrocious across the board.
I guess in Amaro's defense, Marlon Byrd is looking like a real nice pick up. Too bad it's not one of the moves he's made that will influence the makeup of this team for years to come.
One thing is certain, what happens with the Phillies prior to the trade deadline this season could shape their future. Whether you like it or not, the guy who ranks dead last among baseball GMs according to one random list will be making those decisions.