SportsProf

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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Phillies' President Gives GM Ruben Amaro a Vote of Confidence

One school of thought:  (this from a caller into Philadelphia's 97.5 this afternoon) That's a gutsy move.  Most GM's haven't had the record that Amaro has had; he's won a lot.  And you know what they say, if you're a team executive and you end up listening to the fans too much, you'll end up sitting with 'em.  Good job, Dave Montgomery.

Another school of thought:  Well, he traded a lot of minor leaguers for star players during all the playoff runs, and those minor leaguers didn't turn into anything.  And the prospects he got for the stars he traded didn't turn into anything.  He is the last GM to hire a "Moneyball" type of numbers guy (and then, according to Baseball Prospect, on a part-time basis).  Since 2009 (after he took over for Pat Gillick), the team has gotten progressively worse, going from losing in the WS to losing in the CS to losing in the DS to not making the playoffs and finishing .500 to not making the playoffs and finishing below .500.  The farm system is barren, and the same core that excited us and ignited the team in '08 lost its mojo once it got big contracts.  There are an increasing number of empty seats.

Yes, Ruben is a good guy, but aren't we all?  Yes, he has the unique combination of being a former Major Leaguer and a Stanford alum.  That's fine.

But, as Bill Parcells once said, "You are what your record says you are."  

See the second school of thought.

David Montgomery has to make a move.

Or else risk having the team sink further.

Or else risk having the farm system get worse.

Or else risk having more empty seats.

Or else risk having his radio and TV stations not be able to sell ads.

Phew.

Sure the caller espousing the first school of thought has accentuated the positive.  But the statements under the second school of thought are true.  The team has gone downhill under Amaro's tenure.  That doesn't mean he didn't try hard or didn't try to do his best.  It's just that he failed to adapt, failed to try new methods, didn't get younger players soon enough and trusted his subordinates in the front office to run a good farm system.  At the end of the day, all that's happened is on his watch, and it's not a pretty picture.

Dave Montgomery's public statements, while loyal, are loyal to Amaro and not a fan base that has supported the team almost blindly since they moved to Citizens Bank Park in 2004.  Montgomery is a respected executive and by all accounts a good guy, but he's wrong here.  The front office needs an overhaul, as does the farm system.  It's amazing how unproductive that system has been -- they haven't developed many good pitchers over the years, and they have usually fallen for five-tool high schoolers who fail.  Jeff Jackson, Anthony Hewitt, Tyson Gillies, Larry Greene and many others.  Again, the record begs to differ with Mr. Montgomery.

They say that you cannot fire the players, you only can fire the manager.  In this case, the owners might consider changing out the president (who is in denial), the General Manager (who has not evolved one bit) and many of the players.

The Phillies need hope and change.

Right now, they have neither.

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