It feels weird writing a negative blog after the impressive 3 game sweep of the Braves. But don't let the Phillies recent hot streak cloud the fact they have been mismanaged over the last number of years. Amaro has taken the defending World Champs and turned them into a team that is struggling to compete in a bad division. If you didn't think the 1st 5 moves were bad, the next 5 will having you running to call David Montgomery and demand answers!
Just in case you missed moves 6-10! Click here to catch up!
5. Signing Jonathan Papelbon
The Phillies entered the offseason with a clear need for a closer and Papelbon was the best reliever on the market. He was also a Type A free agent that added the price tag of your 1st round pick. The current CBA was being reworked but Amaro gave Pap a 4yr/$50 million. By doing this the Phillies surrendered their 1st round pick. Just days later, the CBA was finalized and took away draft pick compensation for relievers Paplebon, Madson and Bell. But since the Phillies signed Pap prior to agreement, they still lost the pick.
Another error was Amaro incorrectly gauging the value for relievers. Other than Pap, Heath Bell was the only other reliever get more than 2 years (3yr/$27 Million) and Joe Nathen was the only one to receive over ten million a season (2yr/$24 Million). The Phillies former closer Ryan Madson had to settle for just 1yr/$8 Million I don't think anyone had a problem with the fact that Amaro signed Pap, it unexplained rush to sign a player to over market value. As it turns out the Phillies were basically bidding against themselves and unnecessarily lost a valued draft pick in the process.
4. Signing Howard to 5yr/$125 Million extension
Honestly, I'm not as hard about this deal as most. At the time he signed the deal, Howard was one of the best homerun hitters in the game. He jumped the gun and tried to set the market on HR hitting 1B. I would think, his fear was being "forced" to give Howard a 9 or 10 year deal like the one Cabrera, Pujlos, and Fielder received. But unfortunately for Amaro and the Phillies Howard turned his ankle in Washington a few weeks later and then eventually ruptured his Achilles a year later.
Now just 4 years after the extension, the "Big Man" is a shell of his former self. Howard played a combined 151 games in 2012 and 2013 while recovering from the Achilles rupture and other leg issues. He has been better this year as he is leading the team in Home Runs and RBI, but he is liability in the field, can hardly run and is hitting just .238. The Big Man/Big Smooth/Big Piece/Ryno/Howie can still contribute to this ball club, but he isn't worth anywhere close to his $25 million annual price tag. My biggest complaint with the deal isn't the contract itself. Its signing Howard to huge deal almost 2 year prior to he was set to hit FA.
3. Trading Hunter Pence for OF Nate Schierholtz, P Seth Rosin and C Tommy Joseph
When the Phillies fell out of contention in 2012, Amaro wanted to try to recoup some of the prospects he had sent away in recent seasons. But practically giving away a player with 1 1/2 seasons of team control just one year after trading away your 2 best prospects is ludicrous.
Joseph was the Giants #2 rated prospect at the time but he was at least a 1 1/2 away from contributing. Schierholtz was a 4th outfielder and Rosin was at best a back-end of the rotation pitcher. In the end Schierholtz was non-tendered the following offseason, Rosin has struggled and Joseph has battled injury after injury. Again Amaro seemed to force a move that he didn't have to force. He could have held onto Pence and try to move him over the offseason or at the following trade deadline. Instead he traded Pence for a catcher with concussion problems.
2. Trading Cliff Lee for OF Tyson Gillies, P Phillipee Aumont and P Juan Rameriez
Amaro would try to ague that this trade a necessity to acquire Roy Halladay, but that is simply not true. They were 2 SEPARATE trades. Lee was a just a year removed from a Cy Young, coming off of a magical playoff run where he was the NLCS MVP and he was owed a bargain price of $9 million! Lee was also rumored to be willing to sign a deal similar to the one Halladay had just signed. The prospects they received had some promise at the time but it is seen my most as a bad trade for the Phillies. Both Aumont and Ramirez had power arms but both seemed destined to the pen. And Gilliles had potential like the previous 2 but he was anything but a can't miss prospect.
Now over 4 years removed, it looks even worse. Aumont is a reliever that can't throw strikes, Gillies is a speedy OF who can't stay healthy (Or even play well when healthy) and Ramirez is not longer in the organization. The Phillies were then forced to trade for Oswalt and then give Lee an even bigger deal after the 2010 season. If Lee and Halladay both signed 3yr/$60 million deals, Hamels may have been more willing to accept that. But he knew they broke the bank for Lee and they would for him too.
Maybe Amaro was forced by upper management to make a deal (I find that unlikely because they were willing to pay Lee a ton of money a year later). But why not find a better deal instead of trading him to the first team to offer any "value"?!? If (and that's a big if) you are going to trade a player like Lee, why not shop him around for a few days and get great value?
1. Trading Jarred Cosart, Jon Singleton, Domingo Santana and Josh Zeid for Hunter Pence
Amaro has made a lot of dumb decisions over the years but this one is the home run of the bunch. Cosart was the Phillies top pitching prospect at the time and now through 24 career Major League starts is 7-6 with a 3.21 ERA. Singleton was the team's best hitting prospect made his ML debut recently. He came into the season as the 81st best prospect according to Baseball America. He is currently hitting just .231, but he does have 10 RBI's in just 14 games. Plus he is just 22 years old and has ton's of potential. Santana was somehow the PTBNL but would probably the team's best OF prospect right now. He hit a combined 49 HR in 2012 and 2013 and is off to an impressive start at AAA in 2014. Right now he is hitting .286 with 11 HR and oh yea, he's just 21. Josh Zeid is nothing more than a middle of the pen reliever but he will still probably have a better career than Aumont or Ramirez.
At the time Pence seemed like he was the missing piece in the 2011 World Series Run. He played great for the team down the stretch and helped them secure another division crown. But as it turns out, Pence is an inconsistent player who struggled to play a steady RF or make consistent contact. He is not a horrible player but he isn't worth the price tag. I said at the time that they gave up too much (and that was before we learned Santana was the PTBNL), but if it meant another World Series Championship, we would just deal with it. But Pence struggled in the postseason and the Phillies were sent home in the Wild Card Round. Thank you to the worst GM in baseball, Mr. Ruin Tomorrow Jr.