One of the great word games in Philadelphia these days is to blame Philadelphia Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. for everything that ails the city.
DeSean Jackson gone—RAJ’S fault; Temple dropping baseball—RAJ’s fault (after all, his nephew is on the team). Fortunately, the murder rate is not up or they might blame him for that, too.
Of course, none of those things are Amaro’s fault, but the Oakland Athletics are in first place in the AL West and there is a distinct impression in Philadelphia that the wrong team left the city in 1954 at least from a current management standpoint.
One thing that RAJ can be blamed for is the current sad state of the Philadelphia Phillies.
The A’s were once a Philadelphia team, along with the Phillies. They are not coming back, but the current management of the Phillies could do no better than look to Oakland to bring back the management style that could turn this losing group into a winning one soon.
The sad state of affairs the Phillies are in can be traced to Amaro inking veterans on the downside of their careers, hamstringing the Phillies’ ability to use that payroll money on younger talent. Had the Phillies done it the A’s way, instead of signing players like Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins to long-term deals, they would have re-stocked the system by either trading those players or letting them go and getting draft picks teams get when a big-time free agent signs.
That’s how the A’s did it, re-stocking the system with elite prospects with high future ceilings.
Now the Phillies are facing a rebuild they must do with a rebuilder they must not do it with. If now is a time ever to open the checkbook, it is to lure as many Oakland A’s front-office types to Philadelphia to bring that kind of magic home.
The A’s are not coming back to Philadelphia, but at least their business model can.