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December 27, 2012 | BY RYAN LAWRENCE, Daily News Staff Writer rlawrence@phillynews.com
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.
SPORTS
November 2, 2012 | BY RYAN LAWRENCE, Daily News Staff Writer
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?
SPORTS
December 12, 2013 | BY RYAN LAWRENCE, Daily News Staff Writer rlawrence@phillynews.com
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Roy Halladay's decline, declaring for free agency and then sudden retirement on Monday was a stark reminder of a glaring hole that still remains on the Phillies' roster. The rotation still needs a replacement for Halladay, and starting pitching depth in general. So when rumors of the Phillies listening to trade offers for Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee swirled through the hallways and conference rooms at Walt Disney World's Swan and Dolphin Resort yesterday morning, it was pretty difficult to take them seriously.
SPORTS
August 22, 1996 | by Paul Hagen, Daily News Sports Writer
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.
SPORTS
June 26, 1993 | by Paul Hagen, Daily News Sports Writer
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.
SPORTS
November 17, 2011 | By Matt Gelb, Inquirer Staff Writer
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.
SPORTS
July 17, 2013 | By Matt Gelb and Marc Narducci, Inquirer Staff Writers
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.
SPORTS
August 11, 2012 | By Matt Gelb, Inquirer Staff Writer
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.
SPORTS
December 20, 2012 | BY RYAN LAWRENCE, Daily News Staff Writer rlawrence@phillynews.com
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.
SPORTS
August 12, 2013 | By Bob Brookover, Inquirer Staff Writer
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.
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SPORTS
April 8, 2014 | BY RYAN LAWRENCE, Daily News Staff Writer rlawrence@phillynews.com
CHICAGO - The Phillies were on the wrong end of a lopsided loss yesterday, so closer Jonathan Papelbon kept his coat on and stayed in his seat in the visiting bullpen at Wrigley Field. The embattled closer's next save appearance will likely come this week at Citizens Bank Park. In his most recent appearance, a perfect ninth inning Saturday to record his first save of the season, Papelbon never threw a ball harder than 91 mph and saw nine of his 13 fastballs register at 90 or below on the ballpark radar gun. Coming off a first week when Papelbon was OK in one outing, awful in another and lacking velocity in the third, general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. remains confident in his $50 million closer.
SPORTS
March 27, 2014 | By Sam Donnellon, Daily News Staff Writer
OF THE four general managers of Philadelphia professional sports teams, Ruben Amaro Jr. is perhaps best qualified to speak of the job's perks and perils. Celebrated for trades that made baseball in these parts extremely fun over his first three seasons as Pat Gillick's successor, he may be at an all-time ebb in popularity after a winter of free-agent signings that made his team older and even more suspect. As he did last spring, Amaro yesterday graciously agreed to sit down and discuss this and other topics in a wide-ranging interview.
SPORTS
March 21, 2014 | By Marc Narducci, Inquirer Staff Writer
DUNEDIN, Fla. - Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins was calm, cool, and composed. General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. couldn't have been more livid. Both were responding to an ESPN.com report claiming that some Phillies officials want Rollins to be a better leader through his work habits. Some in the organization want to trade him if he does not improve, the website said. After morning batting practice before Wednesday's game against the Toronto Blue Jays, Rollins said he had heard about the report.
SPORTS
March 3, 2014 | BY RYAN LAWRENCE, Daily News Staff Writer rlawrence@phillynews.com
CLEARWATER, Fla. - Ethan Martin finished an early-morning workout, and while his teammates checked in and put on their home uniforms, the pitcher changed out of his baseball uniform and into street clothes. Shortly after the 24-year-old Martin left the building, he was stopped by one of his bosses. General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. patted the pitcher on the back and wished him well. Martin was off to get an MRI on his ailing right shoulder. On his way to the parking lot Martin passed 23-year-old Jonathan Pettibone, who was throwing off the mound for the first time in nearly 2 weeks after his own bout with shoulder discomfort.
SPORTS
February 24, 2014 | By Matt Gelb, Inquirer Staff Writer
CLEARWATER, Fla. - Ruben Amaro Jr. is not worried about repercussions from a former draft pick's suspension stemming from an NCAA investigation that started with a tip from a Phillies employee. "I think people know we do things professionally and the way we go about our business," the Phillies general manager said Saturday. "So I think our reputation is very good. " Oregon State lefthander Ben Wetzler was suspended Friday for 11 games. Wetzler, the NCAA said, used an agent who attended meetings with the Phillies and negotiated contract terms.
SPORTS
February 17, 2014 | By Bob Brookover, Inquirer Columnist
CLEARWATER, Fla. - If we told you the Phillies had just signed a free agent who had averaged 34 home runs, 106 RBIs, and a .906 on-base-plus-slugging percentage since his rookie season of 2005, would you be happy about it? If we promised you he could put up those exact numbers in 2014, would you feel better about this team's chances of contending for a National League playoff spot? How much would you be willing to pay him? Twenty-five million dollars? Thirty million? "I'm sure he'd do rather well [as a free agent]
SPORTS
February 14, 2014 | BY RYAN LAWRENCE, Daily News Staff Writer rlawrence@phillynews.com
CLEARWATER, Fla. - While most of the 27 other pitchers in camp got their arms in motion, half of them preparing to throw off the mounds, Cole Hamels played catch at a shorter distance. He's behind the rest of the pitchers in camp, just as he said he would be a day earlier. He hopes to throw his first bullpen session before the end of next weekend. Hamels, who is throwing pain-free after battling biceps tendinitis in November, is unconcerned and believes he can play catch-up, even if he's not able to take the ball on Opening Day. The man who signed Hamels to the richest contract in Phillies history also isn't worried.
SPORTS
January 16, 2014 | By Bob Ford, Inquirer Columnist
On top of a bookcase in one corner of Ruben Amaro Jr.'s office, there is an arrangement of champagne bottles, with cork and foil in place and commemorative labels marking the occasions. They are lined up like soldiers in silent formation, offering a salute to division titles and playoff clinches and pennant winners and one amazing run to a World Series championship. The bottles aren't dusty - that would be too easy a metaphor - but they haven't gotten recent company, either, something that Amaro and the Phillies spend every day at Citizens Bank Park working to change.
SPORTS
December 23, 2013 | By Matt Gelb, Inquirer Staff Writer
The reporters will gravitate toward Jonathan Papelbon's locker when pitchers and catchers report to Clearwater, Fla., in less than two months for the start of spring training. He is the surly elephant in the room, the highest-paid closer on a team that cannot afford such a luxury. He is the player the Phillies have attempted to trade for months. He is the one who, last July, called for sweeping organizational changes. Papelbon may say he did not pay attention to the winter talk. He could point to the team's health because spring breeds optimism.
SPORTS
December 20, 2013 | By Matt Gelb, Inquirer Staff Writer
The Phillies were never in the market for a mid-level starting pitcher, let alone a front-line one. The current prices for pitching would stretch the Phillies beyond their self-imposed $170 million payroll limit. So, desperate for another starter, Ruben Amaro Jr. sought an undervalued commodity. "We think Roberto Hernandez will help us," Amaro said. "Our scouts and our analytics people looked at the middle-of-the-road, back-end starters and we felt like he would be a good choice for us. " Hernandez's $4.5 million deal was made official Wednesday when he passed a physical in Philadelphia.
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