Growing Optimistic About Amaro

For the sake of brevity, let’s just say that I have been critical of rookie GM Ruben Amaro this season. Perhaps my criticisms were the result of my being a Phillies fan as well as an analyst, making an example of him in an unfair manner. Or, perhaps my remarks were right on the money. Who knows? What I do know, after reading something this morning, is that there is now at least one more reason to be optimistic about his reign atop the defending champions. And let’s get this out of the way before moving forward – this is not a Raul Ibanez post so please be mature and avoid derailing the comments thread.

The Phillies have reportedly been mulling over anyone and everyone in their quest to fix a bruised and underachieving starting rotation. Recently, their thoughts turned to Paul Byrd, the veteran last seen in action with the Indians and Red Sox a year ago. Byrd made 30 starts and posted a 4.60 ERA and a 5.14 FIP derived from a sub 4.20 K/9 and a higher-than-desired home run rate. Essentially, Byrd put up numbers that one might consider acceptable from a minor league prospect in his first go-around with the team, not a 38-yr old with no upside and limited utility in the present.

Fortunately, Amaro feels the same way. I’m paraphrasing here, but he told reporters they had been considering Byrd but ultimately concluded that the former Phillie would not represent an upgrade over their minor league candidates. The Phillies have Kyle Drabek tearing up Double-A, as well asKyle Kendrick, Rodrigo Lopez, Andrew Carpenter and Carlos Carrasco pitching in Triple-A. Sure, Byrd would be “new,” and fans occasionally mix up new with good, but any of those four pitchers, already employed by the team, would be equal to, or better than, Byrd.

Last night I called for teams to avoid signing Brandon Backe, at least as a starting pitcher on the major league roster, since he comes close to defining replacement level and would barely be an upgrade for even a cellar-dweller. Thankfully, at least Amaro feels the same way. It is time to give young pitchers a chance and to stop recycling the garbage that is Horacio Ramirez, Sidney Ponson, Adam Eaton, Brandon Backe, Bruce Chen, etc. Reading his words was a breath of fresh air. Now, if he turns around and sends Greg Dobbs to the Mariners for Miguel Batista, I might revert to my prior opinions, but understanding that new!=good and that veteran!=automatically > minor leaguer are two key characteristics I want a GM of my team to possess. They seem like easy attributes to attain but as we have seen lately, not everyone can stake claim as acting on this knowledge.

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Eric is an accountant and statistical analyst from Philadelphia. He also covers the Phillies at Phillies Nation and can be found here on Twitter.

17 Responses to “Growing Optimistic About Amaro”

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  1. big baby says:

    talk about setting a low bar.

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  2. bflaff says:

    I like that Amaro finally bit the bullet and sent Taschner packing. He’s about as minor a piece as you’ll find in the pen, but he didn’t pitch well at all, and I was unpleasantly surprised that he stayed on after Romero returned. The Phillies are paying Taschner an annoyingly high salary, iirc, but the roster spot is much better served by using it on a AAA arm that doesn’t actually pour gas on the fire every time he jogs in from the pen.

    But maybe Amaro should keep pumping up Byrd, Pedro, and the rest of the unemployed pitching all-stars in the press, just to make sure that Minaya doesn’t get any bargains when he eventually signs one (or more) of them to plug holes. You know he wants to.

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  3. Nick says:

    It’s sad that GM’s are getting praised for not making clearly terrible decisions.

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    • bflaff says:

      Well considering that upwards of 50% of all GM moves are condemned as hilariously stupid even before the ink is dry (unless of course the GM is one of the six or so that turn water into wine with every move), you have to understand the cognitive dissonance an analyst experiences when he realizes, “Hey… he might have done what I think he should have done.” Hence the damning with faint praise. It’s the product of shock and surprise.

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  4. mattymatty says:

    I also like that Amaro doesn’t tend to drool much during interviews. He tends to speak in complete sentences, and doesn’t often fall down when walking.

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  5. phil says:

    Veteran!=automatically > minor leaguer….. isn’t that why Rodrigo Lopez is starting over Carlos Carrasco?

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    • Matt Swartz says:

      service time– why start a guy’s clock who isn’t ready?

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      • phil says:

        im not entirely sure how it would really affect his service time, but he’s 22 and has a 3.60FIP in AAA and he is better than Rodrigo Lopez. The Phillies don’t need stopgaps, they need solutions. So they should use this opportunity to see if he can be a long-term answer, especially against a team who is batting Alex Cora 2nd and Fernando Tatis 5th.

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  6. Eric:

    Very gracious, but be wary of taking back anything you can’t… take back.

    I remember being one of the many who mocked Dayton Moore’s first move — the Gil Meche contract. Well, after that worked out well, I decided that maybe he was a good GM after all.

    And everything else he’s touched has turned to gold.

    Wait a minute…

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  7. Ummmm says:

    This is why you are optimistic about him? Especially after calling up Rodrigo Lopez instead of (insert 4 Phillies minor leaguers that deserve a shot more than Lopez here). Boooooooooooooooooooo

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    • don says:

      There aren’t 4 who deserve a shot more than Lopez. Kendrick has been tried and was one of the worst starters in the majors last year. He needs another pitch, or something. Carpenter isn’t exactly setting the world on fire in AAA, though his stats superficially look nice. Drabek only started pitching above A ball this year. He’s not that young, but he missed a lot of time with Tommy John surgery.

      I’d like to see Carrasco get a shot but the organization really wants make sure he’s ready before they call him up.

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  8. Frank Wren says:

    You should become a Braves fan. The “letting go of washed up veterans in favor of far better rookies” era is here. No more retirement home rotations here!

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  9. Jamie says:

    looks like genius starting rodrigo, right?

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  10. Davidceisen says:

    The Phillies are looking at Pedro Martinez.

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  11. Nadingo says:

    I love Ibanez! He’s my favorite hitter.

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    • KermittheFlover says:

      Ibanez is overrated. See many, many other posts on this very site. I’m too lazy to look them up myself LOL

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