The reason one receives a public "vote of confidence" is because there is some clarion call for said person's head. Those secure in their positions don't find themselves recipients of managerial defense. With that in mind, Ruben Amaro has been given the old metaphorical pat-on-the-back by Phillies GM Daivd Montgomery.
Phillies General Manager David Montgomery spoke to the media Tuesday giving some sort of mixed-message support of Ruben Amaro and the Phillies current executive structure. The money quote:
I just believe that group of people gave us the successful period we had....They had different roles in it. I know people focus on Ruben's role having changed vis-a-vis 2009 vs. 2008. But I talked to Pat Gillick about our club this morning. Pat Gillick sat in that entire draft. It's not like we're not benefiting from the thinking of the same people we had before. That's why you have to look at the whole body of work. Have we been served well? My answer to that is yes.
Honestly, if I'm Ruben Amaro I'm not exactly assuaged by these remarks. It seems as if Monty is placing the blame for the current state of the organization on a multitude of people, including Pat Gillick, and Ruben Amaro Jr. Montgomery is basically saying that he's content with sticking with the same people who have been responsible for the direction of the team since 2008. Unfortunately for those folks, the Phillies have been increasingly unsuccessful since 2008, although their wins continued to increase through 2011.
The takeaway from Monty's quote is that the Philllies have been steered by essentially the same group of people since 2008, and they have no immediate inclination to change direction as it pertains to managerial and executive strategy. Whether this is the right course of action remains to be seen, but one would be remiss to fail to point out that the success of the 2008-era teams was resultant of the contributions of both core, elite athletes and various players who were acquired as supplemental pieces to those teams.
Is Ruben Amaro capable of providing those supplemental pieces? Or does he always reach for the brass ring, no matter the cost?
The truth is likely somewhere in between. Amaro is not an ideal roster architect, unable to extract the best performance and under-valued contribution per dollar, but he is quite adept at recognizing the value of an elite talent. Whether that is a skill-set that is best suited for "retooling" this roster remains to be seen, but he has been given the proverbial "pat-on-the-back" from his superiors, and so we're likely to see his handprints on the roster moves of the near future.
As die-hard Phillies fans we can only hope Monty's passing trust is not misplaced. Though, as we learned last year, a GM "batting average" of .300 is something he feels is worthy of praise.
I believe in situations like this that when times are good there's enough credit to go around. It's all of us. Ruben is not making independent decisions. He's going with a pretty good group of eyes who are looking out there at players and making determinations. God knows we're all trying to bat 1.000 on decision making. The reality is, I think we do better than the .300 standard in baseball
God, or whomever you pray to, help us.