Friday, January 25, 2013

In Defense of: Ruben Amaro

One of the sites I frequently visit is Crashburn Alley.  It is a Phillies site that looks at the team from a sabermetric perspective. 

Most of the site's writers and readers are not fans of the Phillies' General Manager Ruben Amaro, and the way he has handled the team.  The dislike seems to come because the Phillies have taken a mostly non-sabermetric approach towards the construction of the team. 

They seem to hold Amaro responsible for the Phillies falling from a championship contender to a team that some people think will be lucky to finish in 4th place in the National League East in 2012.

Ruben Amaro
The devil?

First off, it seems a bit premature to write off the Phillies.  They finished at .500 in a 2012 season that saw them suffer quite a few injuries.  It isn't a huge stretch to think of them as at least contenders for a playoff spot in 2013.

And considering the success that the team has had under Amaro, to declare him "a complete failure" is absurd.  While some of the success can be attributed to his predecessors Pat Gillick and Ed Wade, Amaro has done more than his fair share as well.

I am not going to claim that Amaro has been flawless.  He's made some moves which I have disagreed with, and that in hindsight, look like mistakes. 

But I will defend Amaro by saying this:

He took over the team immediately following the championship season of 2008.  He identified that the core of the team was capable of winning a championship.  (A sound assumption since they had just won the World Series)  He recognized that the core would only have a limited window, so he would have to do his best to maximize the team's chances of winning within that window.

Obviously, his efforts have fallen short, but it is hard to argue that in any given season from 2009-2011 he didn't make moves which would presumably increase the team's chances of winning the World Series that season.

The pessimism heading into 2013 is because the Phillies have an expensive roster of players who mostly appear to be on the downsides of their careers.  Worse, the minor league system doesn't appear to be flush with talent ready to replace them.

According to many readers and contributors at Crashburn Alley, this was all due to Amaro's missteps.

Some claim that the Phillies' underwhelming moves this offseason were due to the team not having enough money to spend on more expensive free agents.

I am amazed at how many people in the blogosphere seem to have inside knowledge regarding the Phillies moves.  For example, they seem to know for a fact that the reason the team didn't sign BJ Upton or any of the other expensive free agents was because their payroll was already too high.

For instance, most saberfans think that closer Jonathan Papelbon was overpaid in the 2012 offseason since according to sabermetric principles, a relief pitcher can't affect a team's fortunes all that much.

Jonathan Papelbon
Overpaid?

I will counter with my best guess as to how Amaro approached the signing:

Amaro assumed that the Phillies rotation would match their sterling performance of 2011.  This would mean that the starters would regularly be providing seven or eight quality innings.

Perhaps it was foolish to assume that the starters would be as good as they were in 2011, but when you have as much money invested in starting pitching, that's the assumption you have to make.

Based on this assumption, it became extremely important for the team to have a solid option in the ninth inning, (to finish off all those strong starts) but not as important to have many other reliable relievers (because there wouldn't be too many relief innings to go around).

Therefore, Amaro paid top dollar to get the best, most reliable ninth inning option he could get, and tried to use cheaper options for the rest of the bullpen.

Did Amaro overpay for Papelbon?  It looks that way, since Papelbon did receive a much larger contract than any other free agent reliever, but perhaps that was because he was the best option available.

Some people have a naive belief that all a team has to do is offer a player a contract and that player will sign with them.  That's not how the free market works.  If another team was also pursuing Papelbon, maybe Amaro felt the only way to sign him was to "overpay."

Aside from the payroll, the other main criticism of Amaro is that he has ruined the Phillies future by trading many of the team's minor league prospects for veterans over the past few seasons.

Here's a comment from Crashburn Alley which implies that Amaro's trades were shortsighted:
There was absolutely no need to "win now" because a smart team with lots of assets, both financial and talent-wise, can sustain their success nearly indefinitely.

Trading players to put you over the top for some near-term goal is the act that actually creates the window you're talking about! Read this: http://www.thegoodphight.com/2011/7/27/2299271/the-window-isnt-closing-unless-you-want-it-to-close

This comment and the linked article make one very foolish assumption: That you can depend on prospects to develop into major league contributors.

Some people seem to think that success in baseball is a simple three step process:
  1.  Call up minor league prospects
  2. Have them play well in the majors
  3. Win!
Unfortunately, it isn't quite that easy.

For a good example, look at the Oakland A's under Billy Beane.  The famed General Manager's teams experienced success in the early 2000s thanks to a core of star players like Jason Giambi, Barry Zito, and Tim Hudson.  All of these players were eventually deemed too expensive, so they were either traded away or allowed to leave as free agents.

In return, the A's received several highly touted prospects and were the beneficiaries of many high draft picks.  Yet, the team went five years without a winning record.

The main reason why?  Because the players they developed or called up turned out to be inferior to the players who left.

Prospects might be the biggest uncertainty in sports.  Even the most heralded prospects might not pan out in the big leagues. 

Just look at Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg.  He might be the most "sure thing" prospect ever, and yet he's already missed a season due to injury, with the team scared to death of him suffering another.
Stephen Strasburg
Even Stephen Strasburg wasn't guaranteed to be successful

If you're going to take risks, I'd rather take risks on established players.

In 2009, the Phillies had two top prospects in their system named Kyle Drabek and Travis d'Arnaud.  They were both traded away for Roy Halladay.  While Drabek and d'Arnaud may some day develop into major league stars, it wasn't too much of a stretch to say that Halladay gave the team a better shot to win the World Series over the next few seasons.

Considering the Phillies went 28 years between developing championship caliber cores, why are people so sure that they can easily develop another one?  Maybe some of the prospects he traded away might become stars one day.  But at the time, Amaro felt like the Phillies needed an extra piece to win the World Series.

I'll say that it takes a lot less time to rebuild a pool of minor league prospects than it does to build a core of major league talent capable of winning.

In 2008, the Phillies were rumored to want to make a trade for pitcher CC Sabathia.  But they simply didn't have enough valued prospects in their system to make it happen.  Yet over the next couple of seasons, they had some minor leaguers develop to the point where they could trade for Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay, and Roy Oswalt.

Some may counter that the postseason is a "crap shoot" and the Phillies shouldn't have made those moves since they only minimally improved the team's chances of winning a World Series.

As a fan, I much prefer the "All in" approach rather than the "Let's just give ourselves a chance and hope things break our way" mindset  Did the moves pay off?  Obviously not, since the Phillies have fallen short, but I can't say that management didn't make an effort to win.

Maybe the Phillies are truly finished as contenders.  If that is true, was there any way to avoid that fate? 

The Phillies conceivably could have let some of their now expensive players leave as free agents or traded some veterans for prospects. But considering the Phillies were championship contenders and were being supported by a rabid fan base who was selling out the stadium every night, was this truly an option?

There's a reason that teams don't regularly experience the kind of sustained success the Phillies have recently enjoyed.  Inevitably, the star players who fuel such success either become too old or too expensive.  Unless you have a truly great farm system that keeps providing the team with new top talent, the run will have to end at some point.

If the Phillies' championship window is truly closed, then instead of lambasting Amaro for his failure to magically sustain it, we should applaud him for doing his best to maximize the team's chances while the window was open.

41 comments:

  1. Regarding the notion of paying a top free agent above market prices - do you have any idea what a team's winning % is when leading after 8 innings? It's over 95%! So you think it makes sense to spend $15mm/yr to increase that percentage to what 96-97%?

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    1. Perhaps part of that successful percentage is because team's typically use their best relievers in such situations. If the Phillies hadn't signed Papelbon, then would their percentage have been 95% Probably not.

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    2. That percentage is league-wide. It's for all of baseball regardless of who's closing.

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    3. Yes, and I've countered that the reason teams meet with such success in those situations is because just about every team uses their best reliever in the 9th inning.

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    4. You're missing the point. Regardless of who is closing a game, teams that have a lead after 8 innings win 95% of the time. It is very hard to lose a game when the other team only has 3 outs to turn the game around. Why commit so many resources to a player that has a marginal effect on the outcome?

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    5. I see what you're trying to say, but that 95% number is very misleading. For instance, it doesn't factor in the size of the lead heading into the 9th inning. And once again, I feel that the number is partially so high because team's almost always use their top reliever in such a situation.

      Because of that last point, I could say that the 95% is actually an example of why the closer position is so important, and why it was a worthwhile expenditure.

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    6. Teams with any lead after 8 innings win 95% of the time. The % goes up the bigger the lead. That stat actually does the opposite of what you think - it demonstrates how the closer role has been greatly overrated since REGARDLESS of who your closer is, you're likely to win 95% of the games you lead after 8 innings. Closers today pitch 80-90 innings or so. How much impact do you think they have considering teams play over 1,400 innings?

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    7. I don't know if you're unable to understand my point or just unwilling to accept it.

      You can't say that teams would win 95% regardless of who the closer is because that 95% includes when the 9th inning was pitched by the team's closer.

      Now if you had data showing how teams fared when their closer pitched the 9th as opposed to when other relievers pitched the 9th (in save situations) then you might actually have a case.

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    8. I'm not willing to accept the point because it makes no sense. Regardless of who is pitching the 9th, based on the thousands of games played throughout the years, teams with an 8th inning lead win 95% of the time. If you want to try to argue that with elite pitchers, the % is higher fine. But what % are you going to argue for? 97%?

      Joe Posnanski had a piece that discussed this point. In 2010 one of the teams with the worst record when leading after 8 innings was the Texas Rangers. This despite having one of the best closers in Neftali Feliz. Go figure. Teams historically have won around 95% of games when leading no matter who is closing. What point do you want me to concede.

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    9. I am going to try and read that Posanski article to further educate myself.

      But I'll ask this:

      If the Phillies hadn't signed Papelbon, and instead had Chad Qualls as their closer, do you still think they would have won 95% of the time?

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    10. The choices definitely were not give Papelbon that enormous contract or Qualls is the closer.

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    11. I'm not saying they were. But according to you, a team will win 95% of their games regardless of the closer. So why wouldn't they win 95% with Qualls?

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    12. My point is they could have found plenty of other closers for less than $15mm/yr and gotten similar results.

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    13. But why even do that? After all, according to you, the impact a closer makes is neglibible, and they'll win 95% of the games they are leading in the 9th anyway.

      As for similar results, just take a look at how Heath Bell (Considered by many to be the second best closer option in the 2011 offseason) did.

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  2. Amaro was handed a championship team with a financial flexibility and one of the top farm teams. He has now put the Phillies at the threshold of their budget and depleted their farm system all while the team's performance has declined. This is your definition of success? A GM who operates under the "all in" approach will find himself rebuilding for years when that bet doesn't pan out. Gillick showed an amazing ability to field a competitive team all while keep an eye on the future development of the organization. Amaro has shown no ability to plan for the future, a trait surely you want to avoid in a GM.

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    1. Let's slow down in the deification of Pat Gillick.

      Gillick was blessed with an unprecented wave of talent from the Phillies farm system that was just hitting their primes.

      Who have the Phillies minors produced since Amaro took over, even factoring in the players traded away.

      Gillick also faced much different expectations. When he took over, the team hadn't made the postseason in over 10 years. He wasn't necessarily worried about making a big move to put the team over the top.

      Or perhaps more importantly, he didn't have the pieces to do it. As I mentioned, there were rumors that he wanted to trade for Sabathia in 2008.

      In the one big move he did make, he traded away a player who undoubtedly would have helped the team last season and going forward: Gio Gonzalez.

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    2. This is such crap. Gillick wasn't worried about making a big move to put the team over the top because it's usually not one big move that puts a team over the top. Did he make mistakes? Without a doubt. But the fact remains that he helped build a championship team while he was there. He did it with some key pieces that were already there and also filled in some holes. Ryan Howard wasn't even the starting first baseman when Gillick came aboard. And it's easy to look back now and say the Phillies should've kept Gio instead of getting Blanton, but Blanton did contribute to their World Series win so kind of hard to make that argument. You still haven't addressed my key point. When Gillick handed the keys to Amaro the Phillies were a championship team, had financial flexibility and a top farm system. They are no longer a playoff team, do not have financial flexibility and have a weak farm system. How is that not the GM's fault and how is that not deemed a failure?

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    3. Could you please supply some evidence regarding Gillick's thinking? Because this sounds more like speculation to me.

      Especially considering that Gillick traded for Freddy Garcia and Joe Blanton, supposedly tried to trade for Sabathia, and was a team adviser when the team made the trades under Amaro.

      Note: Gio Gonzalez was traded for Freddy Garcia, not Joe Blanton.

      And wait, you're defending the Blanton trade because "it worked out?" So if things had broken differently in 2011 and the Phillies won the World Series, would the Pence trade have then been justified in your eyes?

      As for failure...

      Under Amaro, the Phillies have won three division titles, twice had the best record in baseball, set a franchise record for wins in a season, and won an NL pennant.

      Yes, they missed the playoffs last year (when devastated by injuries), but in my eyes, they have a good shot at getting back in 2013.

      That doesn't seem like failure to me.

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    4. Why do I have to explain Gillick's thinking when we can judge him based on the results? The results on Amaro are declining performance since he took over. You still have not answered how is it not Amaro's fault that they are in a tighter financial situation than they were after they won the World Series and have a much depleted farm system. Are the Phillies in better or worse shape since Amaro took over? Simple question.

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    5. Declining performance? Under Amaro, the team's win totals in the regular season increased every year for three straight years until last season. I'd say that the 2011 team was more talented than the 2008 team.

      You need to be more consistent in your arguments.

      In your Gillick/Amaro comparisons, you seem to be a "results" guy in which the end justifies the mean.

      Well Amaro made many moves which seemed to give the Phillies a chance at winning the World Series in that season.

      You might not have agreed with some of them, but it's hard to say that the Phillies' chances of winning weren't improved by the additions of Lee, Oswalt, and Pence.

      But then you criticize Amaro for putting the Phillies in worse position going forward by making these moves to win immediately.

      As for asking "Are the Phillies in better or worse shape?" It is not a simple question.

      Does the outlook for the next four years look as good as it did after the 2008 season? No, but the team has also just finished a stretch of division titles unprecedented in their history. That can't be ignored when analyzing Amaro's work.

      My point is, it would have been tough for any general manager to have given his team the same shot to win the title that Amaro did, and still be in great position going forward.

      The only way to have avoided it would have been for the minor leagues to have been supplying a steady stream of top level talent, which didn't happen, and as I've said, is a bad bet to make in general.

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    6. It's not just the results that reflect positively on Gillick; it's how he went about shaping the entire organization. It wasn't just the fact that Gillick's team won a WS that gives him high grades. It's the fact that he did it while giving the team financial flexibility along with keeping the deep farm system in tact. Having a steady stream of young players under cost control for a few years gives teams an amazing leg up on other teams. The Phillies don't have that as Amaro has completely depleted their system while going "all in."

      And how would it have been tough to give the team as good a shot at the title as Amaro did considering they just came off a WS win? He was handed a championship team with the core players not going anywhere. You argue has though he inherited a team that hadn't won anything recently.

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    7. Gillick had financial flexibility because much of the team's core was either young or unproven. For example, Howard and Hamels were still on their original deals.

      If the Phillies farm system had continued to produce players like Howard and Hamels, then maybe the team could have maintained that flexibility.

      But they did not. And if you think Gillick was so great, then tell me how many top players the farm system produce under his watch?

      Maybe Amaro could have done nothing and the team would have won. But that's far from a certainty. Would the Phillies have won the pennant in 2009 without Lee? Do they win the NL East in 2010 without Oswalt? Both moves certainly seemed to give them a better chance at winning the World Series.

      So you're going to kill the guy for trying to improve the team and give them a better chance at winning the World Series?

      The moves didn't work out, but I can't fault him for trying.

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  3. As a fan, I much prefer the "All in" approach rather than the "Let's just give ourselves a chance and hope things break our way" mindset

    This is the sentence that I completely disagree with. I would much rather have team that sets itself up in a way to continually give itself a chance to make the postseason and then see what happens rather than a team that just pushes all the chips into the center of the table and goes for it. How many times in the last 10 years has the team that looked like the best in baseball heading into the playoffs actually won the World Series? Maybe the 09 Yankees, but that was also a team with a three man rotation.

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    1. Well, even "just continually giving the team a chance" isn't quite so simple. Would the Phillies have still been contenders without trades for Lee and Halladay?

      And remember, when the Phillies made the Oswalt trade, they weren't guaranteed of even making the playoffs that year. The team didn't really take off until around the trade deadline in 2010.

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  4. By the way if you want to look at another team that got rid of high priced players as they got older and replaced them with draft picks and/or cheap free agents, all you have to do is look at the Eagles. It really worked for them. How many Super Bowls do the have... Oh yeah... None. This is what teams need to go build a core, use prospects to enhance the core and when the core gets old and is totally done rebuild. It happnens all the time. If this core won 3 world series rings Ruben would be a hero. A miss play here a home run there and we are out. I think Ruben has made smart moves and still has a good core to come up and replace some the aging vets. Remember, we beat teams that were supposed to be better than the phillies in 08.

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    1. A bit hard to compare football to baseball since they have completely different salary structures in place. A bad contraact can easily be fixed in football; not so much in baseball. And when have the Eagles signed cheap free agents? Last I checked, they've went with the high-profile ones.

      Anyway, that 2008 team had one of the best offenses, defenses and pitching staff in baseball (maybe not by name with pitching, but definitely with performance). They could draw walks, hit HR's, steal bases at a ridiculously successful rate, had amazing defense up the middle and three outfielders with amazing arms. This wasn't a team that got lucky, though every championship team needs a bit of that. A failure to understand that is a failure to repeat it. And that's what Amaro has done. Their slugging and on-base %'s have been steadily declining yet people wonder why their offense is lacking???

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    2. I agree that the Eagles' mindset was extremely frustrating. While it is difficult to compare two sports, I think of the Eagles' 2007 draft. Instead of drafting a player who might help them win the Super Bowl in the next couple of seasons, they traded out of the first round, and took a player who projected as a backup for the next few seasons in Kevin Kolb.

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    3. Regarding that 2008 team, I would love to see the Phillies have a similar lineup. They had a good mix of guys who were patient at the plate (Utley, Werth, Burrell) along with some free swingers.

      And the Eagles' approach only shifted in the past couple of years when Andy Reid decided that he needed to win immediately.

      But as we've all agreed, it's very difficult to compare roster building in the two sports.

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  5. First, Amaro did not allow the market for closers play out in the 2011/2012 hot stove season. He set the market by signing Papelbon to that five year deal.

    While I believe that a closer is a largely overrated asset I see your point.

    Second, I agree with your assertation that Amaro has extended the championship window but I believe he only did the job half way. Sure it makes sense to trade away those prospects for established veterans but then you have to replace those prospects.

    They needed to spend aggressively via the draft and international signings much the way the Yankees, Red Sox, Nationals and Pirates did before the new collective bargaining agreement came into affect in 2012. Unfortunately they did not.

    They skimped on signing bonuses in the draft and did not spent aggressively in the international market. Leaving their farm system barren. Another matter appears to be betting everything on Domonic Brown's imminent stardom. Which appears to be on life support right about now. Perhaps if they were more willing to deal him then they wouldn't have had to give up as much "lower-level" talent and might have something left in the system.

    The one deal I really take issue with is the Lee deal. It was totally unnecessary, brought back very little in return and caused a ripple affect of the Oswalt deal. That Oswalt deal further bled the system of prospects (Anthony Gose) that could have prevented some of this off season's moves (Revere). Not to mention had they just negotiated a contract extension with Lee after the 2009 season he would be making somewhat less than the $25 million/year that he ended up getting on the free agent market and they would have had him for 2010.

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    1. As I mentioned, I don't have knowledge of how the closer market was going to play out. Maybe Papelbon could have gotten less money later...or maybe the Marlins would have pounced at the same price.

      As for the Lee trade, it is an example of Amaro doing the opposite of what they usually criticize him for.

      And for whatever reason, Amaro seemed to believe that Lee was not going to take a below market deal to sign an extension.

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    2. You don't need to know how the closer market was going to play out because you know how it actually did play out. Papelbon got more years and significantly more money than anyone. He got one of the largest closer contracts ever and the Phillies had to give up a draft pick in the process. And despite that hefty contract he still lost 6 games.

      And we can't talk about awful deals without discussing Howard's atrocious contract or the awful Pence trade while the Phillies had a 5 game lead in the division.

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    3. Maybe Papelbon got more years and dollars because he was the best and most sought after closer?

      The Howard contract merits its own "in Defense of" post. And I feel it is safe to assume that had they known he would suffer a horrific injury, they wouldn't have signed him to that deal. But at the time they signed him, he had been remarkably injury free through his career.

      But anyway, let's wait to see how the rest of the contract goes before declaring it atrocious.

      Remember, for a guy who supposedly isn't that valuable, the Phillies had a tough time replacing his production, and the team performed much better after he returned.

      As for Pence, the move was reportedly done with an eye to the postseson so that opposing managers would have to make an extra bullpen move rather than just leave a lefty in for Utley and Howard.

      Over the long run, those types of things might not matter that much, but in a short series, they can have a huge impact.

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    4. Howard hasn't been worth $25m/year since the contract went into effect and wasn't worth $25mm/year since!!!! You don't need to wait the rest of the contract plays out. They extended him two years before his contract was set to expire and received zero benefit. They were fine giving going through arbitration during his prime years and then gave him a monster deal when he was no longer one of the top players in the league.

      And in order to maybe get a marginal improvement in a short series, they traded two premier prospects for barely a season from Pence. And the move still didn't help them at all.

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    5. That marginal improvement can often be the difference in a postseason series.

      And part of the reason they acquired Pence was because he would be under club control for another two seasons. He was supposed to be a part of their core moving forward.

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    6. What is the purpose of negotiating a contract 2 years prior to a player hitting the open market, if said contract is going to be at or above market rate. If you are going to pay market rate, why would you guarantee it so early? Also, Pujols and Fielder were going to hit the market at the same time, so again, if you were going to pay market value, why not at least weigh your options?

      Whether Cliff was not going to resign at a reasonable rate (in Ruben's eyes at least), why rush the trade? There was plenty of interest in him, so why settle for some mediocre prospects. As can be seen, when Seattle turned him for Smoak a few months later, better prospects could have been had. (Granted, Smoak has not played out, but at the time of the trade, Smoak was much more heralded than what we returned).

      This is also not Amaro's first overpay for a closer. You will recall that before Papelbon's crazy salary got thrown on the books, Brad Lidge was making the exact same thing annually, but he was given it 3 years before, in a cheaper, less deep market.

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  6. Something tells me that you may be against gay marriage and women's rights as well

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    1. Funny you should mention that. You should check out what I wrote about gay marriage:

      http://thecutterrambles.wordpress.com/2012/12/19/the-cutters-guide-to-fixing-america-gay-marriage/

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    2. After reading this article, I don't think I could read another.

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  7. At this point, there's really nothing Ruben has done that you can objectively defend, with the possible exceptions of the Halladay & Revere trades (I'll add the Michael Young trade to that too, since no more Josh Lindblom, but that's not being objective.) The Hunter Pence trade was bad, as were the Cole Hamels signing*, the Ryan Howard extension, & the Jonathan Papelbon contract (which gets a slight pass since he's actually a damn good closer), but all 3 were a case of idiocy & "Ruben wants his man no matter what it costs", unfortunately. Papelbon was also a victim of a bumbling manager, despite his save record - there were times where he should've been used & wasn't, and also the reverse.

    As far as Domonic Brown: he's been VERY poorly mismanaged for the past few years. It's ridiculous. Either keep him in the MLB or force him to be a career minor leaguer. Just make up your damn mind, Ruben.

    *Don't get me wrong, the team HAD to keep Hamels, and I am glad he's locked up for another 7 years, but I'm also not a fan of the contract length/$ amount. There's no telling what will happen to him down the road.

    -----------------------------------------------------

    As far as the minor league talent that they're still placing stock in (also including Trevor May, because why not):

    Tyson Gillies: Missed most of the 2011 season if I remember right, and had maturity issues this past season (plus he's a complete idiot in general)

    Jonathan Pettibone: Likely sees the MLB in September 2013. No idea when he becomes a full-time MLB starter though.

    Jesse Biddle: Still a few years away, like most of the prospects remaining, if they ever make it at all.

    Sebastian Valle: sucks + Tommy Joseph has a much better upside.

    Trevor May: IF he had stayed with the Phillies, he would likely have been converted to the bullpen, but there's no shortage of minor league pitching depth in the Phillies system, whether they're in the starting rotation or a bullpen arm. Was definitely expendable.

    Cody Asche: MLB 2014 at this rate, is my guess. No way to know though.

    Aumont: I liked what I saw when he was with the Phillies, but it was a) a small sample size and b) I saw his much talked-about inconsistency...but sending a guy out there for 4-5 nights straight doesn't help.

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    Finishing with this:

    Everything that's happened to this team since 2008 (both good and bad) has been a result of Ruben's incompetence. The 2009 WS, the Phillies ran into a better team. 2010 and 2011, there was still a chance if they just hit the damn ball. 2012, injuries or not, showed exactly how bad this team really is. Even with all of the injuries, there was no reason they couldn't have done better than they did. Two guys should NOT make that much of a difference in the lineup.

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  8. "In return, the A's received several highly touted prospects and were the beneficiaries of many high draft picks. Yet, the team went five years without a winning record."

    "I'll say that it takes a lot less time to rebuild a pool of minor league prospects than it does to build a core of major league talent capable of winning."

    Annnnndddd that's where I stopped reading. Nice try though.

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    1. What exactly do you take issue with?

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