Philadelphia Phillies: Ruben Amaro's Best and Worst Trades as GM

Joe IannelloAnalyst IIIJune 22, 2011

Philadelphia Phillies: Ruben Amaro's Best and Worst Trades as GM

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    It has been mentioned countless times this season that expectations have never been higher in the entire 121 year history of Philadelphia professional baseball.

    Behind four of the top pitchers in the game in Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels and a lineup that features two former MVP's and perennial and potential all-stars.

    Even with an offense that has been pretty, well offensive for the majority of the season, the Phillies still have the best record in baseball. Much of this is due to the core group of players that were groomed in the minor leagues, but some of the players that were brought in via a trade have had a direct correlation to this teams success.

    Over the past five seasons, we have seen this team go from a solid, competitive team to a powerhouse that has been favored to come out of the National League the past three years by Vegas.

    Scott Boras stated that the Phillies, "Have become a powerhouse."

    The GM of the New York Yankees Brian Cashman told Ken Rosenthal, "I'm not Ruben Amaro," referring to the Phillies GM and his affinity for blockbuster trades.

    Wow, a Yankee that is trying to make us feel sorry for him. My how the tables have turned. But it hasn't been all gravy for Ruben Amaro, as he has made his share of mistakes as well.

    Here is a look at the best and worst trades by Ruben Amaro as the General Manager of the Philadelphia Phillies.

Number 3 Worst Trade: Milt Thompson for Greg Gross

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    Okay I know this one was a stretch, but the firing of Milt Thompson last season and the subsequent (re)hiring of Greg Gross was an absolute disgrace. Thompson became the scapegoat for the Philadelphia Phillies anemic offense and a switch was made to promote Greg Gross again.

    How this could have been considered an upgrade was beyond reasoning, as the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs were one of the worst offenses in 2010 with Gross as their hitting coach.

    This move was technically a firing and then a re-hiring, but it was a terrible move nonetheless by Phillies management.

    The offense isn't exactly hitting like the 1927 Yankees this season either Mr. Gross.

Number Three Best Trade: Roy Oswalt to Philadelphia Phillies

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    Roy Oswalt was acquired from the Houston Astros at the July trade deadline of the 2010 season.

    Not only did Amaro somehow manage to AGAIN get the best player available at the deadline, but our old friend Ed Wade decided to hand us $11 million to help pay the $23 million price tag of Oswalt.

    The Phiadelphia Phillies sent J.A. Happ, Anthony Gose and Jonathan Villar back to the Houston Astros in return.

    Oswalt down the stretch may have been the best Phillie. He went 7-1 with a 1.74 ERA. Amaro was able to acquire a guy that owns a .643 career winning percentage which ranks fifth among active pitchers in MLB.

    Before Roy O even threw a pitch this season, his resume included 10 seasons with a ridiculous record of 150-83, with a 3.18 ERA for his career.

    High-way robbery to say the least.

Number 2 Worst Trade: Ronny Paulino to San Francisco Giants

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    This trade appearing on this list is proof that Ruben Amaro hasn't made many bad trades as GM. Most of his bad moves were giving money to free agents.

    Nevertheless, the Phillies traded Ronny Paulino to the San Francisco Giants for reliever Jack Taschner. 

    Taschner went 1-1 with a 4.91 ERA with the Phillies, while Paulino has been a career .276 hitter who would have been a nice backup (and cheap) to Carlos Ruiz.

    Oh, and he is hitting .344 against LHP this season as well.

Number 2 Best Trade: Cliff Lee to Philadelphia Phillies

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    Ruben Amaro originally acquired Lee from the Cleveland Indians in August of 2009 at the trade deadline. While with the Phillies in 2009, Lee went 7-4 with a 3.39 ERA in 12 starts while racking up an impressive 79.2 IP. Oh yeah, he had 74 K to just 10 BB.

    Amaro was able to acquire the former AL Cy Young winner and Ben Francisco by giving up Carlos Carrasco, Jason Donald, Jason Knapp and Lou Marson.

    Lee was the extra help that the Phillies needed to get back to the World Series for the second consecutive year. In the playoffs, Lee posted a ridiculous 4-0 record in five starts and had two complete games.

    His ERA was an insane 1.56. In five games started, he pitched 40.1 innings, allowed just 27 hits and seven earned runs. So, for all of the Phillies (and Ruben Amaro) naysayers who claimed that the Phillies haven't won anything with Cliff Lee, it could be strongly argued that the Phillies would not have even made it back to the World Series without the Lee acquisition.

    Lee was quite simply their best player on the biggest of stages. The way he handled himself (and the Yankees lineup) has forever endeared himself to the Philadelphia Phaithful.

    Cliff Lee has all of the qualities that the fans of Philadelphia love. He simply is Philadelphia.

    Needless to say, Phillie's fans were outraged at Ruben Amaro when he was traded....

Number 1 Worst Trade: Cliff Lee to Seattle Mariners

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    You could hear it in Cliff Lee's voice how disgusted and shocked he was that he was traded from the Philadelphia Phillies. 

    Ruben Amaro decided to trade Lee after one of the most brilliant postseasons ever to "replenish the farm system."

    Let's be completely honest for a minute, how many fans could fully enjoy Doc Halladay's magical first season with the Phillies? I know I couldn't, because every day I missed Cliff Lee and the fact that we could have had both players if we ponied up the dough.

    There is no debate that Halladay is (was) the superior pitcher and he is the best pitcher in the game, but Lee will always have a special place in the hearts of Philly fans.

    Whether it was the non-chalant no-look catch of a pop-up, the behind-the-back snag of a line drive, the utter dominance Lee displayed in the biggest of stages against sports' most storied franchise, or all of the above. He will forever be a fan favorite in the City of Brotherly Love.

    Ruben Amaro should know by now that the best fans in America felt cheated when the Phillies brass stated: "We needed to replenish the farm system."

    Their intelligence felt disrespected as a clear case of salary cutting. They made a decision that they did not want to compete with the rest of the bidders when Lee became a free agent.

    Philadelphia could not be silenced. Talk radio and television rang out during the entire 2010 season of the injustice which was the trading of Lee. Lee himself even spoke of his love of the town and his "utter shock" that he had been traded.

    It is not often in sports when a franchise admits its mistakes (i.e Philadelphia Eagles) but credit has to be given to the Phillies ownership for breaking their own rule (no more than three years for a pitcher) and going all-in this season.They righted a wrong and brought back the player that the fans loved the most, the player that never should have left in the first place.

    The player that should have never been traded in the first place, Cliff Lee.

Number 1 Best Trade: Roy Halladay to Philadelphia Phillies

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    Would you expect any other trade to be number one on this list?

    A perfect game, the second no-hitter in postseason history, a Cy Young award, and the warrior mentality that Philly hasn't seen since Rocky. Even better, though, this Roy "Doc" Halladay is the real deal.

    Is there anything better than watching the doctor attack the strike zone with surgical precision every fifth day?

    How about the fact that the top pitcher in baseball (the world) chose to waive a no-trade clause to pitch in front of you, Philadelphia? That should make you feel pretty good. He has proven a lot of Philly fans right by baffling National League hitters since he arrived last summer.

    Halladay is seemingly in a battle with Cole Hamels for the NL Cy Young in 2011. He is 9-3 with a 2.56 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP. He has 114 K's in 112 IP and batters are only hitting .243 against him.

    Maybe most amazing is that Roy Halladay has only issued 14 walks thus far.

    Questions were asked whether Halladay would perform in front of the bright lights of Philadelphia, and I think we can safely say that those questions have been answered. 

    Doc Halladay has been as dominant as ever and will be right at the top of the list again when the Cy Young winner is announced at the end of this season.

    Acquiring Roy Halladay was Ruben Amaro's finest hour as the Phillies GM.