December 27, 2012 |
FOR THE first time in 10 years, the Phillies of 2012 failed to finish a season with a winning record. In the days following the season finale, manager Charlie Manuel was placed squarely into the crosshairs of outsiders seeking a fall guy. Manuel, whose contract expires after the 2013 season, watched his bosses promote Triple A manager and rumored major league manager heir apparent Ryne Sandberg to the Phillies' coaching staff. In a news conference days after the season ended with a series of coaching changes, Manuel answered all of the questions correctly, and with confidence, too. He isn't worried about his job security.
November 2, 2012 |
ALTHOUGH TEAMS are allowed to sign free agents from other teams beginning 6 days after the World Series - which means midnight on Friday this year - baseball's hot-stove season generally doesn't get any hotter than in early December at the Winter Meetings. But Ruben Amaro Jr. worked quicker than most last year. He had a future Hall of Famer and a four-time All-Star closer outfitted for red pinstripes a week and a half before sitting down for his Thanksgiving dinner. So Amaro should have a new centerfielder signed before most people wake up Saturday morning, right?
August 22, 1996 |
As Ruben Amaro's mother keeps reminding him, it's always taken him longer than most of the other kids. "My teeth came in late. I didn't reach puberty until I was 14," he said, smiling as he leaned against the bat rack before the Phillies' game last night at Dodger Stadium. And maybe that's it. Maybe that's why Amaro, who seemed less likely than, say, Julio Peguero to resurface in a Phillies uniform after he was traded to the Cleveland Indians after the 1993 season, has not only made it back but carved out a niche for himself.
June 26, 1993 |
When Ruben Amaro was called up from Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on June 17, word was he would get some starts against lefthanded pitching while Wes Chamberlain was on the disabled list. For more than a week, it didn't work out that way. Jim Eisenreich was swinging a hot bat. Manager Jim Fregosi kept him in the lineup. Last night, though, Fregosi decided Eisenreich needed a rest. Amaro, hitless in three at-bats as a pinch-hitter since his arrival, got the start he had been waiting for. And he didn't whiff it. He had the first four-hit game of his major league career, including a two- run homer in the eighth that lifted the Phillies to an 8-6 win over the Pirates at Three Rivers Stadium.
November 17, 2011 |
MILWAUKEE - The caveat was necessary for a man who has dealt away aces and top prospects, players thought untouchable - a label that, truthfully, does not exist in baseball and certainly not in Ruben Amaro Jr.'s mind. "I can't say we'd never, ever trade anybody," Amaro said. In an empty ballroom at the Pfister Hotel, the Phillies general manager flashed a trademark smirk as his meetings with the rest of baseball's deal-makers neared completion. Amaro still has about $60 million to spend this winter, and that is his priority.
July 17, 2013 |
NEW YORK - Bill Giles watches from the periphery now; he attends the All-Star Game every summer to represent the National League as its honorary president. He is the chairman of the Phillies, although his role is reduced with age. And yet Giles is the soul of the Phillies, the man who organized the current ownership group that bought the team for $32.5 million in 1981. He sees a team in limbo. "I used to be very involved in making decisions and working with the general manager, and this is the most difficult last two weeks in July I have ever seen," Giles, 78, said.
August 11, 2012 |
When Ruben Amaro Jr. recently engaged a few of his rival general managers in discussions, the topic of third base arose, and they all reached one conclusion: It is a difficult position to fill. "Somebody's going to play there," Amaro said. "We'll have to try to figure it out. " The Phillies, theoretically, have three lineup holes to fill for 2013. Amaro has effectively guaranteed Domonic Brown one of the outfield jobs, leaving two others, plus third base. The rest of the infield is locked up, assuming the team exercises catcher Carlos Ruiz's $5 million option.
December 20, 2012 |
THE BULK of the work is finished, with a third baseman (Michael Young), a centerfielder (Ben Revere), a setup man (Mike Adams) and a fifth starter (John Lannan) all outfitted in Phillies red before Christmas. But Ruben Amaro Jr. isn't finished with his offseason shopping, even if he did allow the possibility of going to spring training in 2 months with the current roster. "It's very possible that we have the answers internally," Amaro said of what would appear to be a glaring need for a reliable, productive, veteran bat for the outfield.
August 12, 2013 |
Plenty of business needs to be resolved in these final seven weeks of the Phillies' season. Some of it is being conducted right now down in Clearwater, Fla., a fitting location, considering the 2013 season has been relegated to a second spring training of sorts. Two players - Ryan Howard and Roy Halladay - making more money than two entire teams - Miami and Houston - are trying to get healthy. The recovery of Howard's surgically repaired left knee is considered as important as any plate appearance the Phillies will have in the big leagues between now and the Sept.
November 20, 2011
Ruben Amaro Jr.'s first trade as Phillies general manager was for John Mayberry Jr. Given the fact that Mayberry is the leading candidate to become the Phillies' starting leftfielder next season, the GM's initial acquisition of a fellow Jr. and Stanford graduate appears to be quite a steal. Greg Golson, the outfielder sent to Texas for Mayberry and now in the New York Yankees' organization, is showing no signs of being worthy of a first-round pick, while Mayberry is looking like a classic late bloomer.