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Following the trades of Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence, the future of the Philadelphia Phillies looks dismal and uncertain.
The team has gone from perennial division champs and World Series contenders to the basement of the NL East in what seems like the blink of an eye.
Is this Ruben Amaro’s fault? Yes, of course it is. He is, after all, the team’s general manager.
But, where did you expect the team to be? How could have Amaro prevented this?
The answer is that he could not have done much of anything. The man made all the right moves at the right times.
Sure, he gave up a few key prospects in the process but he got players that helped the team when he needed to get players to help the team.
A common criticism lately has been that Amaro could have been more creative. How? What does that mean?
How do you maintain a team like the Phillies over the course of four years without mortgaging the future and compromising the farm system?
Trading Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence were the right moves to make.
Shane Victorino is one of baseball’s best defensive players and also a dangerous offensive weapon. But, among his problems are baserunning and inconsistent plate discipline. He will also be a free agent at the end of the season.
Hunter Pence is, to put it lightly, unorthodox.
He throws sidearm from the outfield, and swings as hard as he can at the plate every time he swings the bat, which is often. He is virtually uncoachable.
Moreover, he is one of the game’s worst hitters with runners in scoring position.
Trading Pence, as unlikely as it may have seemed, was Ruben Amaro, Jr.’s way of acknowledging the fact acquiring him in the first place was ultimately a disappointment.
In recognition of this, he got rid of him. What was he supposed to do, let a player like that continue to hurt his team?
In summation, Ruben Amaro, Jr.’s moves have been necessary. Though he gave a bit too much a few times, he never really had any other options. He has consistently made his club better.
The real test will come with the 2012 offseason.
We need to wait and see what Amaro will do to fix the team, rather than condemn him for giving the team what it needed when it needed it. He hasn't even really begun to deal with the consequences yet.