Philadelphia Phillies: Ruben Amaro's Questionable Tenure Continues

By Sean O'Brien
Philadelphia Phillies Ruben Amaro, Jr.
Howard Smith–USA TODAY Sports

Jonathan Pettibone (drafted in 2008) is the latest Philadelphia Phillies‘ prospect to be summoned to ‘The Show’ by general manager Ruben Amaro. Manager Charlie Manuel knows that players of Pettibone’s caliber aren’t going to enable a 2013 World Series’ appearance, or possibly even allow for playoff access, this season.

Amaro’s father (Ruben Amaro, Sr.) was an infielder for the Phillies in the 1960s and later worked in the organization. His face can be seen on old videotapes of the 1980 World Series because he was a coach during that championship season.

His son played parts of five seasons for the Phillies in the 1990s, then became Ed Wade’s assistant general manager in the latter part of that decade after retiring from the game. No one should shout about Amaro, Junior’s lineage leading to his front office position. Connections exist in all areas of life.

Obviously, Amaro was allowed to walk on a high path from the moment he put his glove away. However, he became a loyal company man and clearly demonstrated that he knew how to operate within the Phillies’ corporate culture. Thus when Pat Gillick resigned as GM after the 2008 World Series had been won, Amaro was put in the top slot. Whether he earned and deserved that chance is unknowable.

It’s fair to speculate about office politics. But, it’s easier (though not definitive) to focus on performance.

Many have questioned Amaro’s free-spending ways since the winter of 2009. My concern has been and remains the health of the farm system.

The best way for the Phillies to regain and then maintain a competitive advantage is by developing their own talent. Four full seasons have been played since Brad Lidge’s pitch to Eric Hinske. Many harvests should have already been reaped from the farm system.

The organization can’t claim that Domonic Brown (drafted in 2006) represents one piece from a top crop.

Freddy Galvis (drafted in 2006) is currently a nice bench player who might become more than that in the future. Underline ‘might’ in that last sentence.

Antonio Bastardo (drafted in 2005) appears to be a promising setup reliever, but hasn’t established himself.

I give Amaro partial credit for those major league births because he was part of the group that drafted each man before the 2007 season had even been played. But, what happened to every other ‘prospect’ since then?

Yes, Darin Ruf (drafted in 2009), Cody Asche (drafted in 2011), some other homegrown talent and some young players who have been acquired via trades do have potential. But, potential doesn’t guarantee anything and can’t be counted on to win.

Pettibone earned his promotion because John Lannan had to be put on the disabled list. He’s one of the better pitching options the Phillies currently have available.

Amaro’s tenure as the top front office boss is deeply questionable when considering where he has taken his team since the fall of 2008. The first question that must be asked is: What is the plan for the short- and long-term future?

Follow Sean on Twitter @SeanyOB, Facebook, Google+ and read his blog Insight.

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