Fans in Philadelphia make no bones about their passion. They love their teams, and will tell you when they’re unhappy. Terrell Owens, Billy Wagner, Tye Domi, Michael Irvin; these are just a few athletes Philly fans have loved booing and talking trash to. Philadelphia Phillies GM Ruben Amaro is now on the list.
When addressing some fans who (apparently) want the Phillies to be aggressive before the July 31 trade deadline and wonder why the Phillies have not promoted guys like Aaron Nola and Zach Eflin, Amaro said, “They don’t understand the game. They don’t understand the process. There’s a process. And then they bitch and complain because we don’t have a plan. There’s a plan in place and we’re sticking with the plan. We can’t do what’s best for the fan. We have to do what’s best for the organization so the fan can reap the benefit of it later on. That’s the truth.”
The only plan or process I see is signing over-the-hill players to drastically overpaid contracts to try to stall the future as long as possible. If that’s the plan and process Ruben is referring to, he’s doing a great job.
Here’s the thing: he’s not wrong. Many fans do not understand just how detrimental rushing a prospect to the Majors can be. Any fan who wants the Phillies to be “aggressive” at the deadline is a fool. The only thing the Phillies should be aggressive in is selling off players. The Phillies are going nowhere this year or any year in the near future.
The problem is Amaro. He is neglecting the fact that he is the reason for all this frustration. Amaro has spent so much time doing the wrong things that it is EXTREMELY difficult to give him any resemblance of credit for doing something correctly.
Ruben is the one who signed guys like Michael Young, Mike Adams, John Lannan, A.J. Burnett, Delmon Young, and Marlon Byrd. He mortgaged the future for basically no-reward signings. He’s the one who traded Trevor May and Vance Worley to Minnesota for Ben Revere (one of the worst outfielders in baseball in many stats) who is now on the trading block and seemingly on his way out of Philadelphia.
He’s the one who wouldn’t trade Jimmy Rollins or Byrd. Ruben is the one who traded away young, talented players like Jarred Cosart, Travis d’Arnaud, Jon Singleton, and Carlos Carrasco. He’s the one who didn’t realize, apparently until two weeks ago, that Cody Asche and Maikel Franco can’t both play third base and that one must be converted to a different position. He’s the one screwing up any deal that could be had for guys like Cole Hamels or Jonathan Papelbon. He’s the one who has waited too long on pursuing trades of Chase Utley and Ryan Howard. And don’t get me started on Howard’s contract.
Do you see the Phillies, way up there in the top-left corner? “Hella old” and “Nope” are the kinds of things us Philly fans love to hear about our franchises. This is where Amaro’s GM skills and decision have gotten us.
It is flat-out wrong to say that Philadelphia fans do not understand the developmental process, as Ruben suggested. Philadelphia fans have accepted Sam Hinkie’s plan for the 76ers. The difference between the two is that fans can see the proverbial “light at the end of the tunnel” in the Wells Fargo Center. There is no light in Citizens Bank Park. In fact, hearing that Ruben and his cronies finally have a plan is humorous at best. It’s not that the fans don’t have faith in the process — the fans don’t have faith in the processors.
There is one thing I agree with Amaro on. He’s right when he says what’s best for the franchise is what must be done. The best thing for the franchise would be for Ruben Amaro and the Philadelphia Phillies to close this chapter in their shared book. And until that chapter is closed, I reserve my right to bitch and complain.