Wednesday, December 18, 2013

No Direction Home

There is a reason why Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. is known as "Ruin Tomorrow Jr." in many circles, and it is on display this off-season in Philadelphia.  A man who has recklessly spent money signing free-agents, traded away the farm system for mid-season help, and failed to develop any young players in the name of being competitive in the past has the Phillies going absolutely nowhere for the foreseeable future.  This off-season more than any other, he has proven that he has no idea what he is doing as a GM and ought to be sent out of town on a rail.

For five years in a row, the Phillies were the class of the National League East.  First it was hitting that carried the team, then superior pitching.  Over the years though, it became clear that the team was past its expiration date.  Ruben Amaro seemed to realize this a few years ago when he traded away players like Shane Victorino, Hunter Pence, et al in an attempt to restock a dwindling farm system.  It seemed likely that Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins and company were the next pieces of the former puzzle to go in an effort to start over.  However, somewhere along the way Ruben Amaro decided that this was still a championship caliber team, and re-signed both Utley and Rollins, gave a huge extension to Cole Hamels, and threw way too much money at Jonathan Papelbon.  Now we have a real mess on our hands.

Instead of having just one untouchable contract (the abortion that is Ryan Howard's contract (which was given to him as an extension while he was still under contract for at least two more years)) Rube now has about 5 or 6 (Rollins, Utley, Howard, Papelbon, Hamels, Lee) and is receiving a declining product.  This is nearly impossible to navigate around, and Phillies fans are basically waiting for these contracts to expire while we hopefully can stock up on high draft picks.  But just when you thought it couldn't get any worse, Rube is trying his best to make it so.

Convinced that this is still a contending team, Ruben Amaro is now reportedly trying to trade away are two best building blocks (Cole Hamels, Domonic Brown) in an attempt, I'm not sure.  But if we are rebuilding, why was veteran outfield Marlon Byrd signed for $16 million this off-season?  Not only that, it has also been reported that he is actively trying to move Jimmy Rollins and Jonathan Papelbon.  Wait.  So, we are trying to win now because we are a contender, but we are also trading away our veterans to rebuild?  I wish Tex was around so he could tell me what the hell is going on.

What we have here is a general manager that has no idea what he is doing.  He has no plan, and is too stubborn to admit that his core of World Series champions is over the hill.  Ruben Amaro is delusional if he thinks that the Phillies can still win with this squad, and has wasted money on veteran players that should have gone towards rebuilding.  The worst part is, all we can do as fans is wait for these contracts to expire and hope that Ruben gets fired as well.

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