I know you. After all, you read The Good Phight. You pride yourself on independent, smart thinking. When the world was enamored with GWRBIs, you were reading Bill James. When ESPN was pushing the "productive out" as a meaningful way to think about baseball, you were renewing your Baseball Prospectus subscription. For five years.
It goes beyond baseball. You root for the Washington Generals. You like Pepsi and Cosi and shun Coke and Starbucks. You like to swim against the tide because you know that the tide is often filled with nonsense.
There's nothing you can do about it. It's in your blood.
In the coming days and weeks, though, you must resist that. There is a building mob mentality in Philadelphia against Ruben Amaro Jr. It's not entirely new, but with every loss and every missed opportunity to change, it's growing louder. With yesterday's dud of a trade deadline and the inevitable useless August waiver period, it will grow to a feverish pitch.
In this environment, your inner contrarian is going to come alive. When you hear the callers on WIP demanding Amaro's head and the hosts being even more extreme (his head and his torso!), you'll start thinking, "Maybe he's not that bad. Maybe the masses are missing something."
I'm here to assure you - IGNORE that voice. For once, go with the flow. Listen to popular opinion. Let yourself agree with the masses.
Because there are no two ways about it - Ruben Amaro, Jr. is horrible at his job and needs to be fired. Full stop.
You will no doubt come up with the same squishy possible defenses of Amaro that others have. He didn't ruin the team with trades yesterday. It's been years since he's saddled the team with a true loser of a contract. The recent drafts have been better. The minor league system is improving.
All possibly true, but none of them give us any indication that Amaro knows what he's doing. As anyone with any baseball sense knows, under his guidance, this team has one of the highest payrolls in baseball and one of the worst records. He has taken a champion and driven it into the ground. He has created a roster that is a baffling mess to fix and a minor league system with most of its best prospects derailed or years away.
There is no obvious plan. There is no ability to value or evaluate baseball talent. There is no creativity. There is no long-term vision. There is no sophistication in understanding the modern game.
Instead, what we have is a man at the helm of this team who understands the game as well as an aging 1970s baseball writer at a small flyover-state newspaper. A man who resists modernization. A man who overvalues everything he has and wants. A man who is quick to overpay for unnecessary parts in free agency but slow to trade away assets. A man who gives out no-trade clauses and attainable option years as if it's a job requirement. A man who has constructed a roster that has mostly immovable or worthless parts.
One of our commenters captured the situation perfectly yesterday in talking about Amaro and the trade deadline. Lorecore wrote: "I think we’ve become numb to how terrible Amaro is. . . . The reality is that from all the information we have, the #1 reason this team hasn’t made a trade yet is because Amaro is terrible."
In fact, the 2009 Ruben Amaro, Jr. agrees. Back then, he said: "If I can't put a championship team on the field with this payroll, then it is my fault."
Listen to Ruben Amaro Jr. Ignore your inner contrarian and go with the flow on this one. The WIP crowd is right.
This lucky-to-reach-70 wins team with a scary future is Amaro's fault. Because he's horrible at his job.