The disdain towards Ruben Amaro Jr. intensified this week when Amaro told Phillies fans, "they don't understand the game." As if we needed a reason to lash out at the man in charge of the Phillies demise, well RAJ gave us reason #223.
The dislike towards the man warmly referred to as "Ruin Tomorrow Jr." is well documented. All one needs to do is scroll through Twitter, tune into some sports radio, or engage in some casual Phillies talk to hear just how fed-up this town is with RAJ. Understanding the game and understanding the process are two completely different things. I 100% believe Philadelphia phans know the game. As with any fanbase you have your casual fans and you have your diehard fans. I like to differentiate it as fans vs. phans. The latter know the game, it's what they love. The casual fan probably could care less about Rube's comments. If his comments made you angry, most likely you are a phan.
Now back to the process we don't understand. Quite frankly Rube hit the nail on the head with this. If this is all he would have said I would have been like, yea Rube you're right. We don't understand the process or plan of Ruben Amaro Jr. because for the last 4 years we haven't been given an ounce of insight just as to what that plan is. Not that as phans he necessarily owes that to us, but don't ya think it would be wise to clue us in a little?! Two summers ago Amaro told us he doesn't believe in 5 year plans. Isn't that what they pay you for, to have a plan? No CEO of any organization should be allowed to keep his job after making such remarks. If you are not constantly evaluating, planning, and building for the future than your efforts will certainly fail when that future becomes reality.
RAJ took over a ball club in '08 that was built to win, and win now. Coming off 6 straight seasons of 86 plus wins, two division titles, and a championship, this team was great. He did as any of us would have done, he made moves to get better. With added pieces like Lee, Oswalt, and Pence he mortgaged young farm talent to win more titles. In the process the Phillies would appear in another World Series and win a franchise best 102 games in 2011. But that second championship never happened. You can't fault Rube for his intentions. What I do fault him for is his GM expertise. I just don't think he's that good! The #firerube hashtags and chants have become as synonymous with Phillies baseball as the Phanatic! Rube likes to call it "crying" and complaining, I call it passion.
From poor scouting to years of unproductive drafts it is easy to argue why RAJ is not a great GM. The Hunter Pence trade often stands out at the top of the list of bad moves for Amaro. And rightfully it should. Not only did it stifle the development of Dom Brown, most likely causing irrevocable damage. But the Phillies sent an absurd package to Houston consisting of Jarred Cosart, Jon Singleton, Josh Zeid, and Domingo Santana, the player to be named later who might have the highest ceiling of the four. Just one short season later after a horrific first round playoff exit, Pence was yet again traded. But this time the package in return was more like the baseball card trade you try to make with your younger brother because he has no clue how good the card you want is, he just likes three cards to one.
The bad moves list continues with names like Jason Grilli, Brandon Moss, and Ender Inciarte but then again predicting future success is a crap shoot. The countless multi year, big money deals to aging vets can hinder an organization for years, case and point. What's worse, giving a 5-year 125 million extension to a 30 year old slugger, or a 2-year deal to a 46 year old pitcher? Who wants a vesting option!?! Like I said we can't fault Rube for trying to build off the 2008 World Championship, building a championship team is no easy task. But we can fault him for the moves he made to do it. The biggest thorn in the side of every Phillies phan is his unwillingness to realize that his "plan" had failed two years ago. In his apology for calling out the fans RAJ openly admitted that the rebuild process should have happened sooner.
When Amaro took over as General Manager and Senior VP on November 1, 2008 the Phillies and the city were one day removed from a parade down Broad Street, celebrating the first World Series title in 28 years. After finishing his playing career in 1998 Amaro moved immediately into a front office role. Spending 7 years as assistant GM under Ed Wade and 3 years under hall of famer Pat Gillick. The move to GM in 2008 seemed like it had been in the making for years. The Phillies had a plan in place for Gillick's successor, too bad the man they put in charge didn't have one.