General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. and contract handler Scott Proefrock can put away their calculators and settle in for a long, long siesta after locking down Ryan Howard.
You know Hollywood is making a movie based on Michael Lewis’ “Moneyball,” starring Brad Pitt about the life and times of Billy Beane and the Oakland Athletics, right? The same regime that has produced no championships, right? So who will star as Amaro, Mike Arbuckle and the rest of the Phillies’ brass when Paramount green-lights that project? Wait – I’m getting ahead of myself. They’ll need a manuscript first. Perhaps I could file through Beerleaguer’s archives and earmark the best chapters, starting at rock bottom and leading up to the part where Amaro and the Phillies are being hailed as the gold standard for baseball front offices.
What a charmed life Amaro has led thus far. He’s taken over a World Championship club, he’s addressed some holes and navigated through the arbitration minefield with all his appendages intact. He can literally set his alarm for October of 2011 when the contract status of his best players must be reassessed. That’s when Ryan Howard becomes a free agent, Cole Hamels enters his final year of arbitration eligibility and Jimmy Rollins can be granted a club option. Even his field manager is locked into a long-term deal. He basically knows precisely where his payroll will be for at least another year, and he knows exactly how much will come off the books when Adam Eaton, Geoff Jenkins, Pedro Feliz, Brett Myers, Scott Eyre and Matt Stairs become free agents after the season. It should be a fun amount to play with.
We all know how it’s done in Oakland. Here’s how it’s done in Philadelphia. Build a nucleus of stars from within using a high-risk, high-reward approach to the draft, then keep them. Acquire proven experience to build a deep bullpen. Blend youth and experience in the rotation while limiting long-term deals for veterans. Take chances on great athletes to round out the roster. Structure contracts with incentives and club options to get something back on your investment, while supplying instant security to the player.
“Phillyball.” Starring George Clooney as Ruben Amaro Jr. Written by Jason Weitzel, now accepting bids on an advance.