Ruben Amaro must make an immediate, high-impact trade to salvage the Philadelphia Phillies' underwhelming season and his own reputation as a general manager. The off season trade of Cliff Lee has upset many fans, and the team he has assembled is floundering, currently slightly over the .500 mark. Furthermore, Amaro's attitude is not endearing fans.
After the announcement of Kendrick's demotion, The Philadelphia Inquirer 's Matt Gelb's posted this on his blog:
Ruben Amaro Jr. wore one of those patented smug looks on his face. The Phillies general manager had just demoted his fifth starter without listing a replacement in the rotation for him. "I think we know exactly what we're going to do," Amaro said. "I just choose not to tell you.”
I highly doubt that the smug Amaro planned to start J.A. Happ and his 5.59 ERA on short rest, or that he was counting on someone getting hurt so he would be able to bring Kendrick back up in less than the required 15-day demotion period.
So, Mr. Smug, since you knew exactly what you were going to do, what has happened since then?
Nonstop Lee banter has plagued the Phillies this entire season. Lee became an instant fan favorite, putting together one of the most impressive playoff performances ever recorded. Plus, I must wonder how the players in the clubhouse were rattled by this trade as well. In trading Lee, Amaro told the fans and the players that even without Lee, the Phillies had enough to win with the rest of the pitching staff.
Right now, a number of sources are reporting that Amaro is aggressively pursuing a top-flight starter such as Roy Oswalt or Dan Haren. But yet, Amaro continues to fight back whenever the name "Cliff Lee" comes up.
The Philadelphia Inquirer 's Phil Sheridan today wrote about a recent exchange in Chicago with some reporters:
"Given your intense trade-deadline pursuit of pitching..."
"Is this a Cliff Lee question?" the Phillies' general manager asked, bristling at a reporter over the weekend in Chicago.
"As a matter of fact..."
"I'm done," Amaro said, walking away from the visitors' dugout and toward the solace of the batting cage at Wrigley Field.
The fact that he refuses to acknowledge that he may have made a mistake is what angers so many people.
People would respect Amaro had he responded: "Listen, guys, at the time I really thought that even without Lee, we had the pitching that would win us a championship. I was wrong about that. However, I still have a great feeling that the guys we acquired in that trade will develop into something special, and I will do everything I can right now to bring our pitching staff up to the championship quality that you and I both have in mind."
However, Amaro continues to make denials as his pitching staff falls part, exuding an "I'm better than you" attitude, making comments such as, "That is not the way you do business in baseball," in reference to the need to acquire some prospects for Lee. By the way, with Aumont 1-6, and with the other two pieces acquired in other leagues, the Phillies organization was rated the strongest at Class A of all 30 teams and they possess the No. 1 prospect in all of the minors.
Most importantly, the prospects would enable the Phillies to fill holes during the season should they arise. Well, Ruben, it's time to fill the holes. If you fail to make the playoffs this year, you are done. You will have lost your credibility with the city.
Oswalt or Haren will do it. Anyone else? You are done in Philadelphia.