Lame Duck GM Ruben Amaro, Jr., Salting the Earth

If one takes a job as the general manager of a baseball team and performs poorly, he likely will be able to find work again. A good GM could have poor results during a tenure for any number of reasons, so no one is going to immediately close the door on someone with job experience. Furthermore, a GM could learn from his past mistakes and become better at his job moving forward. Or he can work in another capacity, either with the same team or elsewhere. It’s hard to screw yourself out of future employment.

But, by golly, is Ruben Amaro, Jr. doing it. His tenure as GM of the Phillies has been wracked by bad trades and poor contracts, leading to the absolute cratering of a team that reached back-to-back World Series as recently as 2009. That, as much as we might hate to admit it, is defensible. The biggest mistakes Amaro has made at the helm of the Phillies have been with his mouth.

Let’s recap:

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Phillies Outright Sean O’Sullivan, Designate Kevin Correia for Assignment

Sean O’Sullivan was hit around in Monday night’s loss in Los Angeles to the Dodgers, serving up seven runs (six earned) in 5 1/3 innings while throwing a career-high 123 pitches. The Phillies outrighted him to Triple-A Lehigh Valley after the start, per Zolecki. In 13 starts this season, O’Sullivan posted a 6.08 ERA with a 10.7 percent strikeout rate, 6.1 percent walk rate, and a 5.19 xFIP.

The Phillies made another move on Tuesday, designating Kevin Correia for assignment and recalling Severino Gonzalez from Lehigh Valley, also per Zolecki. Correia made only five starts for the Phillies, but they didn’t go well, as he compiled a 6.56 ERA with a 12.3 percent strikeout rate, seven percent walk rate, and a 4.16 xFIP.

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Cesar Hernandez Is on Fire, But It Won’t Last

Cesar Hernandez extended his hitting streak to 10 games and stole two more bases in a 3-for-4 performance on Sunday, helping the Phillies end a six-game losing skid in a 4-0, 10-inning victory against the Atlanta Braves. He also made a stellar defensive play in the bottom of the 10th in support of Jonathan Papelbon. Hernandez is hitting .299/.385/.385 with 11 stolen bases in 202 plate appearances on the year, doing an admirable job filling in for the injured Chase Utley at second base.

Hernandez has quickly become a fan favorite as he’s one of a select few hitters in the lineup that has actually done anything productive at the plate over the course of the season. Among Phillies with at least 150 plate appearances, only Maikel Franco has posted a better weighted on-base average than Hernandez’s .345. Hernandez has a 34-point lead over Ben Revere in third place. He has also emerged as a speed threat with Revere, as the duo are the only Phillies with double-digits in stolen bases.

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Maikel Franco Will Have to Wait for An All-Star Nomination

Maikel Franco earned a promotion to the major leagues in mid-May and hasn’t looked back, ranking among the league’s best-hitting third baseman while playing adequate defense. He went on a particularly torrid streak to begin the month of June, hitting consecutively in 11 games while smacking four home runs. Later in the month, he knocked in five runs in back-to-back games at Yankee Stadium while homering three times.

There has been some thought that Franco might be the Phillies’ representative at the 2015 All-Star Game, hosted at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. Starter Cole Hamels has had another great year, but he hasn’t been among the 10 best starters in the National League. As a result, it would be justifiable to omit him from the All-Star roster. Closer Jonathan Papelbon has had a career year, sitting on a 1.71 ERA, but the floundering Phillies have only given him 14 save situations. As good as Papelbon has been, there are closers who have been just as good as him or better while racking up more saves. One could also justify leaving Papelbon off of the All-Star roster.

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Where’s Ben Revere?

Update: Tom McCarthy said on the Phillies’ broadcast on Sunday afternoon that Revere is dealing with a hamstring injury, so there’s that. Now we just need to find out why the Phillies were so secretive about it.


Ben Revere is not in the starting lineup for a third consecutive game. He last started on Wednesday against the Milwaukee Brewers. Odubel Herrera starts again in center field while Darin Ruf mans left field and Jeff Francoeur will take care of right field.

Among Phillies with at least 100 plate appearances, Revere’s adjusted OPS of 97 ranks third on the team behind Maikel Franco and Cesar Hernandez. Along with ranking among the Phillies’ most productive hitters, Revere is one of few threats on the bases, having stolen 19 bases in 24 attempts. The 19 steals exceeds that of the Phillies’ number two and three base stealers combined.

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Aaron Harang Is Regressing, But His Trade Value Isn’t

Well, yeah. That tends to happen when one ends May with a 2.02 ERA but holds a 4.18 career ERA. Through his first 11 starts, Harang had a 53/15 K/BB ratio, which is nice, but didn’t begin to explain his level of success. He allowed four home runs over 71 1/3 innings and benefited from a .255 BABIP.

June was another animal entirely. He allowed no fewer than four runs and went no deeper than six innings in any start, compiling a 7.28 ERA with a 19/11 K/BB ratio along with seven home runs and a .293 BABIP. He added to the disaster in allowing eight runs on 14 hits (including one home run) in five innings to the Brewers last night.

Update (1:50 PM EST): The Phillies announced that they’ve placed Harang on the 15-day disabled list with plantar fasciitis in his left foot. Chad Billingsley has been activated and will take his place in the rotation.

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Mackanin Was Right To Leave Giles In The Game

Earlier this morning, Bill Baer wrote about his concerns that Ken Giles‘ 38-pitch outing last night was a sign the Phillies will continue to abuse the arms of their high leverage relievers despite the departure of manager Ryne Sandberg. I agree whole-heartedly that the management of Justin De Fratus and Jake Diekman this season has been alarming at best and gross negligence at worst. That said, I’m not willing to lump last night into this trend of abuse. In fact, leaving Giles in may very well have been the right decision by interim manager Pete Mackanin.

Entering last night’s game, De Fratus had five relief outings this season of 40+ pitches and Diekman had two such appearances. If these heavy workloads were the result of marathon extra innings games, they might be excusable, but all of these outings occurred before the 9th inning. The outcry regarding this usage is that Sandberg took two arms that have the potential to be high leverage bullpen arms and forced them into long reliever roles that ought to be reserved for middle relievers who once carried starter workloads, namely Dustin McGowan and Jeanmar Gomez. This is irresponsible bullpen management that could very conceivably have negative short-term and/or long-term on the careers of Diekman and De Fratus. But this is not what happened last night.

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The Spirit of Ryne Sandberg Lives On

If there was one hope that came with Ryne Sandberg‘s resignation, it was that the Phillies would finally stop unnecessarily taxing the arms of their best, young relievers. It’s been a constant topic of consternation here, but because it’s an easily-preventable mistake that left unnoticed could chip into the progress the organization has made in its rebuilding effort.

Ken Giles was the latest victim of the Phillies’ taxation scheme, tossing 38 pitches in a miserable eighth inning, resulting in a 4-3 loss to the Brewers. The loss, of course, is immaterial.

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Phillies Announce Hiring of Andy MacPhail, Hope Abounds

Earlier this afternoon, the Phillies invited the media to another press conference. This time, everyone was well-informed and the subject was one of positivity rather than one of loss and disappointment. With part-owner John Middleton to his right and current team president Pat Gillick to his left, Andy MacPhail faced the Philadelphia media as he was introduced as Gillick’s successor.

As expected, MacPhail will take over for the retiring Gillick as team president at the end of the season. He’ll use the remaining three months of the season to get his feet wet within the organization, “to learn” — his phrasing, in opposition to “to evaluate” — about the players and the front office personnel. MacPhail was asked specifically about the fate of GM Ruben Amaro, Jr., but he neglected to address that particular subject.

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Baumann: Sweating Off the Hangover in Philly

Baumann: Sweating Off the Hangover in Philly

Crashburn alum Michael Baumann (@MJ_Baumann) has been on the college baseball circuit lately along with his usual duties at ESPN’s Grantland, where he covers major league baseball at large. It is our privilege that he got to cover the Phillies for his latest column, a must-read titled “Sweating Off the Hangover in Philly.” Use the link above to read it. It’s some of the best writing you’ll read all year.