When I watched the Phillies bludgeon the Marlins Wednesday night, 8-1, behind a fantastic outing by Aaron Nola and bombs from Rhys Hoskins and Odubel Herrera and a lineup including Nick Williams, Aaron Altherr, J.P. Crawford, and Freddy Galvis, I had to think about our old friend Ruben Amaro.
Remember when Blackberries were a thing?
Anyway, with each Rhys Hoskins bomb landing beyond the fence after an ICBM like trajectory, I think to myself:
“The Ruben Amaro smug meter just hit DEFCON 1.”
Baseball is made up of ladders. Players drafted, developed, played. Traded, signed as free agents, or picked up on waivers. Rule 5. International players.
It takes time to make a team. Lots of time.
It was inevitable that some Phillies on the “new core” would be “Amaro” players unless the Phillies were so bad for so long that everyone drafted would phase out of the system, removing all Amaro-ness from the organization. As an example of this sort of thing, Carlos Tocci is just 21 and just made it to Lehigh Valley this year. Maybe he’s not core-core, but he’s now a 40 man consideration and he exemplifies the long lead times in constructing baseball teams. “Amaro players” could be around these parts for another 10 years.
As soon as the decision that Amaro’s contract was not going to be renewed was made, the outline of “Is Amaro the next Ed Wade” could probably have been written, at least in part. Wade famously acquired most of the core of the 2008 Phillies that won the World Series, but the perception was that he couldn’t get the earlier versions of the team over the playoffs hump, so he was let go after 2005.
It’s hard to say how much Amaro was driving the bus toward the end. Was he deeply involved in trading Cole Hamels? Andy MacPhail’s reign was announced in the middle of the 2015 season, but he wasn’t official till later. Cole Hamels was traded right around the MacPhail announcement.
Nick Williams. Jorge Alfaro. Jerad Eickhoff. Aaron Nola (2014 draft). Rhys Hoskins (2014 draft). Odubel Herrera (2014 Rule 5 draft). J.P. Crawford (2013 draft). Hector Neris. Nick Pivetta (Papelbon trade, June 2015). Aaron Altherr. Cesar Hernandez. Mikael Franco. Franklyn Kilome, Sixto Sanchez, and Scott Kingery are others who could yet make big impacts. If you count “everyone acquired before September 2015” it is a long, long list of Phillies.
There are lots of Amaro fingerprints on this team. Because of that, his impact on the team will be felt for years. Love him or hate him, and it was a mixed legacy, the team that we are all getting excited about now was strongly influenced by Ruben Amaro.
So go put some product in your hair and whip out your Blackberry. Remember Cliffmas and Roy Halladay. And give credit where credit is due. Pour one out for Ruben Amaro, Phillies fans.
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