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Wednesday, November 13, 2013


I liked this part from the Salisbury article...

Amaro said his scouts believe Byrd will be closer to the player he was in 2013 than the previous two seasons.

“We talked to our scouts about how his swing path and approach changed,” Amaro said. “He's worked on it. I have to trust my scouts on it.”

Ah, the old improved swing-path gambit. Very clever, monsieur Amaro.

In a re-post from the last article...

I would think it would take more than just KK [to get Wieters], but possibly not more than KK and Pettibone. They are really hurting for SPs in Baltimore, and - given their owner's habitual tight-fistedness - the cheaper the better.

"At some point we have to have faith that Howard and Revere are going to come back and play and be effective. We have to let the players play," Amaro said. "Revere was playing very good baseball for us when he went down. Howard, even though he hasn't played very much, he still is producing and driving in runs. He needs to be better and he knows it. We need him to be better for us to have more success. He's healthier. I have faith he will come back and do the things he needs to do. Will he hit 50 home runs? I doubt it. Will he drive in 100? I think he will, if he stays on the field."

And there you have it. If Howard drives in 100 runs, the Phillies will be a successful team.

I have to stop reading r00b quotes. They're detrimental to my cardiovascular health.

GTown where did you get your quote?

On the other hand, there's this quote as well:

"Phillies GM Ruben Amaro isn't eager to move young talent, tweets Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer. "Everybody is looking for the same thing, and that's young controllable players. There is no reason for us to be moving any of them," the GM said."

Cyclic: Howard Eskin ... Why? Is he unreliable?

Ha-ha! I kid. Gelb. Sorry for mot providing a link --


How about Dom and Kendrick for Wieters, with Wieters agreeing to an extension as part of the deal? You wouldn't have to worry about catcher for the foreseeable future.

Rosenthal tweets Rockies have moved on from Chooch. I haven't seen any other confirmed suitors except the Phillies. I've seen suggestion Red Sox could be interested, but I haven't seen any confirmation of that.

Chase Trillo: First, that's an overpay for Weiters. Second, Weiters is a Scott Boras client. His clients hit the open market.

Chase: That's giving up a bit more value than is desirable... Although it is evident that they could use a solid LF, since their RF and CF are set pretty well.

I'd expect a mid-tier prospect in addition to Wieters for that kind of move. Someone who's career trajectory makes them at least look like they're a year away from being an MLB backup, or a lower-level guy with higher upside.

So the foundation of Rube's moves this off-season is the belief that Howard will be healthy and drive in 100 runs?


"WEDNESDAY, 3:28pm: The Rockies have moved on from Ruiz and have shifted their attention towards finding a closer, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports."

Oh! Oh! Oh! I know where they can get one! He's only signed for 2 more years and it would only take a mid-teir prospect back.

He's also really good about not giving up HRs, so no Coors Field problems!

burb: I'd settle for no prospects, & throw in free shipping.

Oh you gotta get something back. Even if it's a relief prospect. Reading needs a batting practice pitcher.

Free Shipping plus Ryan Howard... IF you order in the next 30 minutes!

burb: OK, then maybe a schedule magnet, or some other promotional item. I'd hate for the Rockies to feel taken advantage of.

"We have to have faith," says Rube. What he doesn't say is the reason we have to have faith, as opposed to making rational baseball moves, is because he signed Howard to an insane contract that has 3 long years left on it.

Yes. Ryan Howard is obviously the only reason this team hasn't won the last 3 World Series, nor is likely to win the next 3.

Ryan Howard is also the reason that the '93 team didn't win, and also the reason that McNabb threw the interception to Ronde Barber.

If only Ryan Howard hadn't given Chris Pronger a concussion, the Flyers could have been a playoff force for the last 2 years.

And if he had just been the secondary scorer that Allen Iverson so badly needed all those years...

The truly absurd aspect of the situation is that the GM appears to believe Ryan Howard is to blame for Ryan Howard's contract.

> I'm pretty sure that Rube doesnt even know how to calculate OBP...
> Posted by: NEPP

I think the problem is that Rube thinks ROE's and FC's count as getting on base.

Fatalotti: I'm going to go out on a limb and say that Ryan Howard may have broken Andrew Bynum's legs a few times.

Oooh, nice pun!

Was Amaro's walkup music ever George Michael's 'Faith?'

Also, I'd rather the Phillies have signed Shawn Kemp.

I'm thinking Wayne Gretzky might have been more useful. Or maybe Herm Edwards.

To be fair to Ryan,I doubt he held a gun to Rube's head til he offered that contract.Players are overpaid but I'd have gladly taken 10-20 times what I was paid if offered. My guess is all of you would also.

David Murphy: Marlon Byrd said he was surprised the Phillies were so "aggressive": "There really wasn't a chance for other teams to get involved."

Pat Gallen: If I'm reading that Marlon Byrd quote correctly, he's basically saying: "I took the Phillies offer because no way was it getting better."

Perhaps. But once again, r00b has insured that we'll never know.

No harm in signing a guy like this. He may not have much left in his arm but is the kind of guy who can come up and give you a passable 15-20 IP at some point during the middle of the season due to inevitable injuries.

How can you not want this guy in the bullpen?

Isn't he already there? No, wait, we let Contreras go...

Is Jason Hammel on the Phillies radar?

Should he be?

Also, I thought this was funny.

From MLBTR: General Manager Brian Cashman told reporters [...] that you can rule out the Yankees signing Brian Wilson after his agent told the team he won't shave his beard.

Mattingly's sideburns.

Randy Wolf is making a comeback. Same age as Halladay - 36.

Probably wants to play on the West Coast, though, and the angels are desperate for SP.

awh™: They deserve to fail on the basis of having signed Blanton last season alone.

The Wolfpack has been itching to get their masks back to the stadium.

Although I always thought it'd be more appropriate if they had some big, German, foam submarines.

It continues Rube's passion of signing 35+ yo players.....

The beard is incredibly stupid, but then again, this is Wilson sans beard:

Wouldn't have thought it possible, but he somehow looks like even more of a douche without the friggin' beard.

Howards contract is blocking this team...Its becoming more apparent every year...Only if

David Murphy: Marlon Byrd said he was surprised the Phillies were so "aggressive": "There really wasn't a chance for other teams to get involved."

Pat Gallen: If I'm reading that Marlon Byrd quote correctly, he's basically saying: "I took the Phillies offer because no way was it getting better."



Nepp: you wouldn't understand, you didn't go to Stanford

"A day later, the dust has settled on the Marlon Byrd signing. Ruben Amaro has made it clear with his first move that the Phillies not looking to make the biggest splash like they used to. Rather, they're trying to spend smartly."

Because signing a 36-year-old PED user who strikes out way too often and can't get on base to a $16M contract just screams smart.

I can barely stand to read this blog anymore. Weitzel should've just closed it when he moved on.

I am so smart, S-M-R-T!

From MLBTradeRumors: The Phillies might be willing to trade outfielder Domonic Brown, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports writes. Such a move would create an opportunity for them to add another free agent outfielder to pair with Marlon Byrd. Rosenthal cites Brown's poor defense as one reason the Phillies might want to deal him. Some of the available free agents, like Nelson Cruz and Carlos Beltran, aren't much better defensively, but at least dealing Brown might help the Phillies upgrade at other positions. The Phillies deny that they are interested in dealing Brown, Rosenthal notes.

So Brown is gone then, eh?

I want to go to the Rangers, so I can root for my Cowboys without fear of reprisal. GO COWBOYS!!!

Brown in a trade rumor? Again? I wish I was Toby the Mouse and knew how many times Brown was offered up in a trade for a ML player.

This whole Shawn Camp signing is so underwhelming that I don't think it has even been mentioned in the comments.

So much for Rube and the "big splash"

Camp Wobegone.

Ruben is dangling bait once again with to catch the big fish. I say the add-ons are the problem consummating the deal.

Camp is a good depth signing, and if he can pitch anywhere like he did a couple of years ago he'll be better than a few guys they already have.

Anyway, it's a MiL deal, so where's the problem.

Wonder if they are capable or willing to make huge splashes. More like small to medium moves. We will see....

Spending smartly = sign the old, the halt and the lame.

News item: Agent Scott Boras believes the Rays should relocate to...New Jersey. Could work. I'd buy a ticket to see the Camden River-Rays.

How many times has Brown been dangled? The front office really doesn't look like they have faith in him at all so why should other teams?

That is pretty much what he done to Brown. Of course other teams with average scouting, developmental system & coaching sure would want him but they would rake RAJ over the coals.

News item: Agent Scott Boras believes the Rays should relocate to...New Jersey. Could work. I'd buy a ticket to see the Camden River-Rays.

I think they should move too but I've always said Brooklyn, not NJ for them. I think the Marlins should move too...Maybe Portland for them though.

The Phillies should move, too.

On to a better GM.

i think that part of byrd's 8M/year is a premium for being willing to play the wire wall. ;) dom's relunctance to do it has created all kinds of problems. like forcing ruf to the bench. and the the yak experience. i like brown. i even bought an autographed rookie card this season, after his player-of-the-month performance. but it may be time to sell high.

there's another (horrible) crack about stanford from jbird. i'm not really sure i get why you rip advanced education. did you not get the chance to go to college or were denied by stanford? you go out of your way to mention stanford so there has to be a reason.

here is an interesting list of stanford alumni. i see that rube's degree is in human biology.

new jersey's new senator, cory booker, got a ba in political science and an ma in sociology from stanford.

"David Murphy: Marlon Byrd said he was surprised the Phillies were so "aggressive": "There really wasn't a chance for other teams to get involved."

Pat Gallen: If I'm reading that Marlon Byrd quote correctly, he's basically saying: "I took the Phillies offer because no way was it getting better."

I honestly think the Phils would be better off if they replaced Ruben with any random citizen walking the streets of Philly. None of them would run into Walmart as soon as the doors open and demand to be allowed to pay $50 for a bag of pork rinds.

@curt, oh it gets better. From Byrd himself:

“I didn’t want to wait around,” he said. “The Phillies were aggressive with an amazing offer. I didn’t want to wait to see how much money I could get. I have friends on that team, my wife (Andrea) is from there. It’s definitely a blessing.”

Does anybody else think that given Byrd's recent history that if our genius GM came in and offered about $5M less, he likely would have jumped at that, too? And it's not even the "it's not my money" argument. It's all about what he doesn't have left to spend elsewhere, eventually.

I mean, come on, it's beyond comical now. This guy has got to go. I've said this before, but the 2014 Phillies season, just like Andy Reid's last season, absolutely must be a means to an end. In other words, the team has to suck so badly in order to get Amaro out of here for the organization to move forward. I hate rooting for a crappy season, but honestly, it's almost come to that.

pblunts - $5M no and I don't think Amaro vastly overpaid for Byrd. Given how many much is floating around in MLB, somebody would have given him 2 years at moderate dollars. Maybe Amaro could have gotten him at $14M but I doubt it could have been much lower than that.

This is the case where Amaro was bidding against himself for a FA like Papelbon and vastly overpaid in years & dollars while giving up a pick because Amaro wasn't willing to wait a week. Still one of the dumbest FA signings of the past few years.

Of all the reasons to disagree with the Byrd signing, the dollar amount is low on the list for me. I don't think Byrd is the type of FA the Phillies should pursue at this stage in the game. However, MLBTR, who are very good at pegging free agency values, had him at the exact value the Phillies signed him. I have more of a problem with the fact that he's 36 than I do with him getting $8 mil a year.

pblunts: I don't understand how your read Byrd's quote and take that to mean he would've signed for 3 million dollars.

As MG says- this was not an overpay by Amaro. Quite frankly it was a market deal if the predictions were correct. There are reasons to dislike the signing but the money value of it is not one of them

maybe now that chooch has an adderall exemption, his 2 years for 20M is sounding better to rube and monty.

Riggs: Actually, I have a couple of advanced degrees. The crack isn't against Stanford per se but rather carries on the proud tradition of two fine threads of American history and culture going back to our founding.

First, schools like Stanford and Harvard, etc. are fine institutions of learning and research; however, one must admit that there is a significant percentage of their student body that is there because their family could afford the freight and/or had the right connections (See Bush, George W. as well as Gore, Al). There is a distinct anti-class feeling in America. Americans are innately predisposed to celebrate the achievements of great men and women but also to be wary of the scions of wealth or the beneficiaries of cronyism. As the son and grandson of famous athletes, Amaro falls into this category, perhaps unfairly, but life isn't fair. My crack consisted of the idea that Stanford taught the principles of business, and they certainly do. So, why didn't Amaro learn them? If he was smart enough to go to Stanford, he should have absorbed the lessons there. And yet, one constantly sees "Stanford" attached to his name in news story after story to vouch for the man's intelligence.

Second, There is a distinct strain of anti-intellectualism in American culture. Ben Franklin was a genius and yet he wrote Poor Richard's almanac because there is more of an appreciation in American culture for practical knowledge than there is for book learnin'. American's have always been slightly suspicious of people who seem too smart for their own good or who may think they are better than the rest of us because they are edumacated. When a freshly minted Harvard grad talks of dropping the "H bomb" in job interviews it triggers the egalitarian gag reflex of most Americans. Amaro's rather smug demeanor does him no favors in this regard. And his litany of really dumb moves makes one wonder why he can't see what seems obvious to the common man.

As I stated, I've got no problem with Stanford the institution. But, one must admit there are people who get into schools like that who don't earn it and who then lord it over the rest of us rubes for the rest of their lives as they rely on their family's money and connections to coast through life. I look at people like that not with malice or covetousness but with annoyance at their obtuseness and lack of appreciation for their luck. The old saw about being born on third base comes to mind. Perhaps it's an unfair evaluation of Amaro. Perhaps he's a really fine fellow if you get to know him. If he wins another Championship with Wheeze Kids 2.0, I'll probably brag about what a genius he is. But, taking the slings and arrows from the fickle, garlic-breathed hoi polloi is part of the job description for being the front man of a major league sports team.

The problem is not that Byrd's contract ended up being 2yr/$16M with a vesting option for another $8M.

The problem is that Ruben continues doing the same things that have hurt him in the past. He went out and 'got his man' by offering a contract well above what any other team was offering, according to Byrd himself.

My theory is that Ruben continues making the same mistake because he doesn't actually realize his past moves are mistakes in the first place.

Heading into 2014, Ruben still thinks that the Papelbon deal was a good move. THATS the problem with all of this. Not that he made the mistake of signing Papelbon, not that Byrd got the deal he got, but that Amaro doesn't even know a mistake was even made - so he'll just continue doing it.

If Ruben had a time machine, he would still sign Ryan Howard to his contract. The only thing he would do different is tell Howard that on 8/1/10, to not advance past 2B on a Ben Francisco RBI single so he doesn't hurt himself sliding back to the base. In his mind this all could be fixed on that day, and that a 34 year old 250lb man would still be as spry as the 2006 MVP.

I could care less that Amaro went to Stanford as an undergrd and it isn't really relevant to his tenure as a GM here.

What is relevant was his attitude/demeanor to reporters and fans. It was aloof at best; conscending/standoffish at worst.

Still argue that Amaro does has changed how he speaks to the media after the Howard injury fiasco in June '12. He flat out lied to the media, got called out on it, and looked foolish in the process. Since then, I don't think he has the same general tone or demeanor. Lack of success the past 2 years on the field too probably has something to do with that.

Every comment this offseason leads me to believe the Phils are going to attempt to fill all of their 'needs' but are going to do with stop-gap FA veterans on short duration contracts because they won't exceed last year's payroll and probably will have a payroll that ends up being slightly less.

Just don't understand that strategy for this year or over the longer term. Phils really are committed to go all out to try to win last year or this year while at the same time they are an older team is willing to tank & begin an arduous rebuilding process.

They have picked the middling strategy of apparently being content on trying to put a ~.500 team on the field to ensure TV ratings don't drop too much before the next TV deal.

My biggest gripes with Amaro is that he has a pretty weak track record of evaluating secondary talent during the offseason, his piss-poor roster management during the season (it has been a real issue how the Phils handle injuries and roster spots on this team), and his lack of a coherent plan or strategy over the longer-term.

Everybody harps on the 'lacks of analytics' but to me the much bigger problems are the overall lack of strategy and his poor operations management during the season with the roster & players' health.

since rube graduated with a degree in human biology, he may not have any business courses beyond a 101 level. this in no way prepared him for his current job.

pblunts: I don't understand how your read Byrd's quote and take that to mean he would've signed for 3 million dollars.

As MG says- this was not an overpay by Amaro. Quite frankly it was a market deal if the predictions were correct. There are reasons to dislike the signing but the money value of it is not one of them

Posted by: The Truth Injection | Thursday, November 14, 2013 at 08:54 AM

That's not what I said/meant- was actually speaking $5M less over the course of the deal. If you guys all think someone else would have offered him $5.5M average or more, so be it. Listen, maybe it turns out fine. But as others have pointed out, there is not a very good history of guys his age performing well and staying healthy.

Nothing in Amaro's entire life history, including his failed MLB playing career, in any way, shape or form prepared him for being a GM. Thanks, Ed!

reading rube's wiki page i discovered that his grandfather, who migrated from cuba, was considered "the babe ruth of the mexican league" after a 17 year career.

jbird - you could've spared us all that annoying diatribe and just said you like to mock him. that would have been sufficient.

Signing all these almost 40 somethings is a bizarre fattish for a young man like Amaro. I just don't get it.

I really don't see what jbird's second point has to do with any legitimate casting of aspersions on an ivy league education. It indicates that the American public is predisposed towards anti-intellectualism, but that's hardly something to be striven for - regardless of what value you place on practical knowledge.

Kudos for using the buzz-phrase du jour of "gag reflex" though, after that lovely Washington Post editorial.

riggs: Your attempt at psychoanalysis of my original comment made me think you were genuinely interested in the why. If you didn't care, you shouldn't have mentioned it.


Anyway, did anyone know where Pat Gillick or Walt Jocketty went to school? No. Because they went to state schools (I had to google), and their body of work vouches for their competence. Amaro is often associated with Stanford in news articles as a credential for his job. Thus the sarcasm.

“Our goal is to be a contender every year,” he continued. “It’s not just to be a competitor, but to be a contender every year. That’s really my job. As an executive of the club, it’s my job to do what I can to try to maintain that level of talent on the club and that hope from the fans. So, yes, I’d like to have a championship, but not at the cost of having our organization not be good for 10 years. Absolutely not. That’s not the goal. The goal is to be a contender every year. And once you get to the World Series or get to the playoffs, it’s really a matter of who’s playing the best baseball, who’s hottest, who has the karma.” -Ruben Amaro Jr. Feb 2010

Absolutely hilarious looking back at the last 4 seasons since that statement.

Philibuster: depends on how you define "anti-intellectualism". I'm defining it here as useful knowledge vs life of the mind. I'm sure most Americans appreciate Steve Jobs more than they do Peter Singer (who is an awful, awful man).

Here is where Lorecore's argument falls apart. We have no idea what other teams were willing to offer- or had offered to Byrd- up to this point. Further, all the prediction sites, basing off data of other contracts and similar type players pegged the contact at 2/15 or 2/16. So in that respect- regardless of when Amaro jumped in he got a market value deal. It is specious reasoning to tie it into the Howard and Papelbon deals where he tried to jump first and set the market for both players and went above and beyond what predictions were. It is just another in a long line of posts connected with loose threads.

Of course, you could also argue that Lorecore's argument goes off the rails when he starts pretending he knows the inter workings of Amaro's mind or imagines what Amaro would do when he time travels.

Didn't Rube have a baseball scholarship to go there anyway. Not to bash student athletes but that does tend to make it easier for them to get into elite schools.

Wait, Amaro's Stanford degree is a BA in "human biology?"

This explains so much! All this time I assumed that he had gotten a Stanford MBA after baseball, and was thus qualified to be a GM. I wondered why a Stanford MBA seemed so ignorant of basic business concepts.

So... what are his qualifications for running a billion-dollar business?

Not that it matters as he could have 5 degrees from the best schools in the world and he's conclusively proven in the past 5 years that he's not a good GM.

bullit: so Amaro may not have been part of the wrong brother phenomenon, but perhaps a corollary: the wrong descendant?

To be fair, it was a BS in Human Biology...hardly a skate through course load for your typical student athlete

As much as I like to blame Rube for some of the really dumb moves at the major league level, a lot of the Phillies' issues go back to the scouting and development side of things. They have drafted poorly, developed talent poorly, and identified prospects to target in trade poorly. Some of that is Rube's fault, but we really do need to sweep out a lot of the garbage in the scouting department and minor leagues. Too many good old boy hires, too many former Phillies with little coaching/scouting experience, too many retreads brought back as "special assistants" to someone or other. The real downfall of this team has been a complete inability to develop high-level young talent, and to acquire it in trades. Veterans age and decline, there's nothing you can do about that. Good teams have replacements waiting in the wings.

NEPP: then perhaps we should criticize him more thoroughly for the team's handling of injuries?

So... what are his qualifications for running a billion-dollar business?

He and his dad played for te franchise and he got a FO job after his career fizzled out thanks to his family history. Then he kissed the right asses for 10 years.

Pretty typical patronage career path really...hardly unique to the Phillies or baseball.

Well when they hired Rube, Arbuckle, the guy in charge of drafting and scouting it is at least indirectly his fault.

Chris: Yes, exactly. I think I made the point earlier in the season, before Brown's magical month, that the Phillies hadn't developed a competent player for the starting 8 from their own system in a long, long time and it was killing them.

I believe Hamels in 03 was the last real hit in the draft for them...not counting a couple of secondary pieces like Madson or KK.

By the way, I'm totally declaring beerleaguer bankruptcy if the Phillies make the playoffs this year based on moneyball ideas. . . (players in their mid-30's are the new under-valued asset!)

The Phillies' handling of the health of their players is, to me, the great unreported story of the past several seasons or more. I'd love it if someone in the local sports media would dig deeper into this aspect of the Manuel/Amaro eras.

Chris --

I do not blame Amaro for all the franchise's woes. I think the Phillies are a dysfunctional organization top to bottom, and Amaro is just one manifestation of that dysfunction.

A depressing corollary is that replacing Amaro will be unlikely to improve matters.

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