Ruben Amaro, Jr. should trade Jonathan Papelpon to the Boston Red Sox because they need a closer and that’s where he came from. That team has so much money that they would probably take Ryan Howard in the deal as well. That’s what RAJ should do!
The above hypothetical statement reflects the mentality of a certain segment of the Philadelphia Phillies‘ fan base who have long been quick to comment about everything, anything and all else in between. Most people (including this author) don’t believe that unlimited access to reams of digital bits of baseball information makes them smarter than any general manager.
There will be no attempt to lessen this issue by pretending that the ‘certain segment’ reference means a small percentage of fans. No, there is an increasingly emboldened chunk of sports’ loyalists who have been educated by sports talk radio, informed through social media outlets and cheered on by their like-minded pals. These sharpen souls actually believe that the louder their opinion, the more right they must be.
However, everyone who has funded the Citizens Bank Park money machine does deserve to be heard. Those are the rules of this particular game.
Ed Wade developed a strong farm system under his watch, but he wasn’t able to push his Phillies’ teams into the playoffs and was understandably relieved of his duties after the 2005 season. Pat Gillick’s subsequent hire surely represented one of the best front office exchanges in franchise history.
Gillick’s reign wasn’t influenced by his opinion alone. Instead, he used his vast (and future Hall of Fame worthy) range of experience to make the right moves that positioned the Phillies for their 2008 World Series Championship season.
My opinion, which isn’t a fact, is that Amaro’s lack of organizational experience has directly led to his team’s current major and minor league predicament. Yes, he has a solid support staff around him, which includes Gillick, Wade and Dallas Green. But, the current GM doesn’t have three-dimensional depth within his front office resume.
After Amaro ended his playing career in 1998, he was given a position as an assistant to Wade. I don’t begrudge him that reward and also understand that family ties, related to his former Phillie father Ruben Amaro, Sr., helped his cause.
The Phillies clearly appeared to have allowed their personal feelings and resultant opinions to strongly influence their choice of Gillick’s successor. That choice doesn’t look good right now. But, Amaro probably has more innings (years) yet to play.
So, when a ‘certain segment’ of the fan base voices its opinion, it’s fair to ask whose example are they following?