Following the dispersement of the Red Sox coaching staff, former Phillies GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. will be taking yet another job it would have been hard to picture him getting just three or four years ago.
Younger viewers in the audience probably don’t recall this, but there was a time when Phillies press conferences weren’t about highly analytic GMs and shirt-ripping beefcake managers being asked questions about their genitals. There was a time when, somewhat routinely, the Phillies would hold press conferences to introduce a new elite player acquired for a chunk of their farm system. Everyone from Roy Halladay to Hunter Pence to Pedro Martinez appeared in that room, and each time they did, there was a man named Ruben Amaro, Jr. introducing them.
Now, Ruben’s rise and fall in this town is somewhat staggering, but also quite indicative of how quickly things can change in baseball, a sport that’s tempo is set by the pace at which pitchers can hit Chase Utley with the ball. At one point revered and worshipped for his ability to bring high-priced, high-caliber talent to town, mostly on the pitching staff, Amaro threw minor leaguer after minor leaguer at the challenge of shoring up the Phillies for a sustained run around their homegrown core.
Eventually, he ran out of luck, time, and ammunition, and in his last few desperate hours, made some deft moves to accrue prospects, leaving the franchise with a revered director of player development, Joe Jordan, who had been hired in 2011. He then quietly slipped away with the unprecedented decision to put a uniform back on and become the first base coach of the Boston Red Sox.
Amaro eventually took on an outfield (as well as baserunning) coach role as well, which makes sense, given that’s the position he played for the Phillies during the second, third, and final three seasons of an eight-year MLB career (as well as the others, presumably). So confident was Amaro in his decision to come down from the front office that he couldn’t stop saying the name of his new employer.
"I am truly honored to join the Red Sox," Amaro said. "I am poised, focused and ready to bring anything I can in terms of experience and knowledge to this position, and I look forward to being a part of the Boston Red Sox."
This was all in late October of 2015, after Amaro had inherited his GM role from Pat Gillick following the Phillies 2008 World Series victory; and it was a couple of months before Amaro became a back-up dancer for Carl Willis.
His whispering in the ear of baserunners for the Red Sox contributed to 106 SB in 2017, the sixth most in baseball and the third most in the AL, while the team was only tied for 13th in MLB for caught stealing (31). The previous year, they stole 83 bases, getting caught 24 times. Of course, a lot of this has to do with Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts and the rest of the legs attached to young, fast players infesting the AL East in Red Sox uniforms.
Meanwhile, even the Phillies stole more bases than the Mets this year (59 vs. 58). The Mets have a lot of thinking to do, and with their new manager installed and a fresh coaching staff on the way, they’ll look to do so with the sage wisdom of a man whose role as a coach for their team has only ever been referred to sarcastically.
The Mets should at least give Ruben Amaro a full time gig for his contaminating the Nationals with the trade of Jonathan Papelbon.— Scott Ciglinsky (@ScottCiglinsky) September 27, 2015