Another Defense of Ruben Amaro, Jr.

One of my pet causes over the last two years or so has been to push back against the wave of overwhelmingly negative invective hurled at GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. for the Phillies’ failures since the end of the 2011 NLDS. Amaro has certainly made some mistakes, but fans and pundits have been quick to write off any decision he has made as foolish before all of the facts are in or the results are known.

The Phillies have been on one of the most obvious downward trends a team could possibly be on: winning the World Series in 2008, losing the World Series in ’09, losing the NLCS in ’10, losing the NLDS in ’11, finishing at .500 in third place in the NL East in ’12, finishing in fourth place in ’13 with 73 wins, and finishing in the cellar last season with 73 wins. The immediate future isn’t much brighter: FanGraphs projects the Phillies to be baseball’s worst team, and they face long odds of winning the World Series. It’s a frustrating time to be a Phillies fan. Oftentimes, that frustration comes out in the form of knee-jerk negativity and cynicism.

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Phillies Settle with Ben Revere, Claim Jordan Danks Off Waivers

Along with the announcement of Domonic Brown‘s 2015 salary, here are two more pieces of news from CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury:

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A Phillies Roundtable with the Crashburn Crew

It’s the doldrums of the off-season. Pitchers and catchers don’t report for another month and the rest of the Philadelphia sports scene leaves a lot to be desired. In an effort to get the blood flowing again, we decided to peel ourselves off of our beds and couches, warm under blankets, to talk Phillies over a virtual roundtable. Check out what we had to say below and let us know how you’d answer the questions in the comments.

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There Isn’t A Market for Ryan Howard Right Now

In a column for FOX Sports, Ken Rosenthal argues that the Phillies really shouldn’t be having much difficulty moving first baseman Ryan Howard. He quotes an American League executive, who discredit’s Howard’s ability to hit for power by citing his slugging percentage. Rosenthal counters by comparing Howard’s SLG to a selection of other players. It didn’t get to the root of the matter, however.

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Phillies’ Deal with Wandy Rodriguez Falls Through

Update (1/13/15, 4:10 PM EST: Rodriguez failed his physical with the Phillies and has signed with the Braves, David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

Update (12/27/14, 5:50 PM EST): A source for CSN Philly confirms that the Phillies and Rodriguez have agreed to a minor league deal.

Per Phillies Spanish play-by-play broadcaster Angel Ibo Castillo, free agent pitcher Wandy Rodriguez is on his way to Philadelphia to take a physical. If all goes well, he’ll presumably ink a minor league deal with the Phillies. Castillo adds that Rodriguez is expected to compete for a spot in the starting rotation.

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Tom McCarthy Discusses the Cole Hamels Trade Market

In this video for MLB.com, Phillies broadcaster Tom McCarthy discusses via phone the potential trade market for Cole Hamels. He provides, in my estimation, excellent analysis. McCarthy doesn’t think the Phillies will trade Hamels just to trade him and turn the page, rightly so. McCarthy also, correctly, claims that James Shields is a step below Hamels, countering a somewhat popular assertion made by national writers when analyzing top-tier pitchers.

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