The "Team to Defeat": Why the Phillies Need to Replace Ruben Amaro Jr.

Frank UdinsonContributor IJuly 2, 2012

PHILADELPHIA - OCTOBER 16:  General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr. of the Philadelphia Phillies watches batting practice before the Phillies taking on the San Francisco Giants in Game One of the NLCS during the 2010 MLB Playoffs at Citizens Bank Park on October 16, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

From the moment the Phillies acquired Cliff Lee, Ruben Amaro Jr. was an instant crowd pleaser.

Then, out of nowhere, he dazzled the city with the signing of Roy “Doc” Halladay.

Then again, he shocked the City—as well as the rest of the league—when he signed Cliff Lee as a free agent.

Lastly, he once again proved to be a “wheeler and dealer” with the acquisition of Hunter Pence.

But, despite the praise he’s received from the fan base for his extravagant trades and signings, Ruben Amaro Jr. has lacked the parental instinct—and foresight—that generally allows one to rely on the phrase, “You’ll thank me later.”

Indeed, while fans applauded each deal Ruben made, the sad reality is that we, as fans, aren't thanking Ruben now. Instead, Ruben is being criticized, and his poor judgment is being exploited and highlighted—again and again. 

With every desperate move Ruben Amaro, Jr. makes to try and salvage the 2012-2013 season and, more importantly, to keep the Phillies from slipping into the depths of despair similar to that which engulfed the team for a 14-year playoff drought, it becomes more apparent that Ruben lacks the makeup to be a great General Manager. 

For example, while Ruben pleased the fans and put together a rotation that, for all intents and purposes, was the best rotation in the league, he has failed to replenish position players. He has also failed to apportion salary to allow for trades and signings that will improve the team. 

More importantly, Ruben is on the cusp of saying goodbye to one of the best homegrown pitchers in the history of the franchise.

That’s right.

Rumor has it that the Phillies are shopping Cole Hamels, Buster Olney and Jon Heyman have reported. Who can blame them for trying to trade the lefty? 

It seems all but a foregone conclusion that the Phillies will not sign Hamels at the end of the season. The lefty will undoubtedly demand, and deserve, more money than the team can afford.

More importantly, Cole most likely sees the writing on the wall—that the Phillies are no longer the “team to beat”—and, consequently, will want to go to a team that can win another championship. 

Sadly, it seems to be inevitable that we’ll see Cole Hamels in another uniform next season, and our only consolation prize will be a bunch of prospects who we’ll most likely never see in the majors.

Hopefully his departure will sound the alarm to the front office that Ruben is not fit to be a general manager. 

By all accounts, general managers are not supposed to be in the business for fan approval— we all remember when Billy Beane traded Carlos Pena.

They’re supposed to be in the business to win championships. A general manager has to be committed to making the moves that are best for the team, not the most popular. And, in doing so they’re not supposed to “leverage the farm.”

Ruben has failed to adhere to these general principles. Instead, he has placed the team in a position that appears to be destined to end not only its NL East Championship steak, but its playoff appearance streak as well. 

All in all, there’s no denying it. Ruben is to blame for the team’s demise.

His inability to plan for the future has left the Phillies without an identity. Unless the Phillies replace him at the end of the season, he will continue to mismanage the team.

Ultimately, we’ll not only say goodbye to Cole Hamels, we’ll say goodbye to a dynasty as well.

So, as the Phillies enter the All-Star break, we can only hope that the Phillies are not only shopping Cole Hamels, but shopping for a new general manager as well.