Thoughts On The End of Ruben Amaro and the Transition to a New GM

So not unsurprising the Ruben Amaro era has come to an end.  It is an end that should have come earlier and one that we have seen coming for a long time now.  It was unrealistic expect that Andy MacPhail would not hire his own guy to oversee the day to day of his vision for the Phillies.  It would have been a PR disaster to keep him as well.

In reality Amaro wasn’t really the horrible franchise killing GMs that he gets parodied as.  He was average, in his early years he could buy, but couldn’t sell.  He was a company man who was a yes man to ownership, even to the detriment of the present and future of the club.  He resisted analytics, but the Phillies self scouted and traded high on high risk prospects.  His tenure is marked by horrible drafting due to bad leadership (Marti Wolevar) and lack of funding.  However, the Phillies have scouting and signed players in Latin America at a high success rate in recent years.  He said plenty of dumb things and had absolutely no filter.  As we saw in the past 12 months, he functions well within a smart and well organized front office.  He in the end is a fungible GM, his fortunes can shift based on a move here and there.

So now for the rambling thoughts:

  • The Phillies GM position should be incredibly attractive.  There is almost no chance that the Phillies go with a big name to work under MacPhail, but they should have their pick of Assistant GMs.  The Phillies have a great farm system, some good young major leaguers, and tons of money.  It is an ideal situation to start with a blank slate, not to mention you are the hero because you aren’t Ruben.
  • I am terrified of the Phillies losing scouting and dev guys.  Like legitimately scared.  The Phillies have been doing amazing things in Latin America and in development.  They have no spent a ton of money while filling the system with out of nowhere players like Franklyn Kilome, Adonis Medina, Alexis Rivero, Jonathan Arauz, Maikel Franco, and more.  You can make up for a lot of GM mistakes if you have good people on the ground turning nothing into something.
  • The success of the franchise has less to do with the exact GM they hire and more to do with the entire support structure.  The Phillies should be spending big money on scouting and analytics, both on the ground level and in advisory roles.  It comes down to hiring top talent to find top on field talent.
  • This MacPhail’s team, it will be his vision.
  • I hope MacPhail has done his homework on the organization’s players, there is always a point where a new GM clears out old players for new players to fit his vision.  MacPhail was in the room for the trades this summer, so hopefully he is on board with the new talent.  The Phillies’ farm system has a ton of depth, so if a new GM wants to purge it could get ugly.

In the end this is a good move, but there will be fallout and repercussions.  Part of the reason MacPhail was hired well before the transition was to help mitigate that.  This was the easy part, the hard part is hiring a new GM and retaining all the key guys while then building on top of that.


Author: Matt Winkelman

Matt Winkelman

Matt is originally from Mt. Holly, NJ, but after a 4 year side track to Cleveland for college he now resides in Madison, WI. His work has appeared on Phuture Phillies, The Good Phight, and TheDynastyGuru.


  1. Romus

    First thing MacPhail said Ruben asked this morning after told of the decision……was his concern for the other people below him and their job security. I would think MacPhail will keep many of the scouts in place for awhile.
    And try to get a new GM prior to the org meetings in 6 weeks.
    And John Middleton is a very aggressive progressive CEO type and wants a winner.

  2. philabaltfan

    Matt, your column confuses me as does not the GM do what ownership wants?
    I believe that he pleaded for more development resources and was rebuffed by the Giles/Montgomery group until it was too late. I believe that Ruben was a sacrificial lamb for the owners (just like Paul Owens, Lee Thomas and Ed Wade) earlier for the ownership refusal to invest in developing in young players and give out bad contracts to fan favorites until this year.
    I am worried that Andy McPhail will not move fast enough for John Middleton and he himself will not be here for long.
    Overall, just a unusual column by you especially in your article portion and your rambling thoughts.

  3. Eric D

    Uhh where is he rambling?

    • philabaltfan

      His “Rambling Thoughts’ section of his article.

  4. Kurdt Kobeyn

    whether it’s true or not – Amaro together with Gillick and Monty became the face of the management that created a template on “How NOT to run a Baseball Franchise”….whether Amaro has a hand in the the recent trades, signing of LA prospects and drafting, it is in his power and responsibility to make a big market team with talent and $$$ stay competitive and contend. This is move is at least 2-3 years too late.

  5. Marc H

    I suspect that McPhail will want a whole season to assess the organization before any sweeping changes will be made…or need to be made for that matter.

  6. The original Will

    I disagree with your neutrality on the first several years of his leadership. Anyone can buy if they have the resources. I don’t think he showed any particular skill at buying well, and in fact, I think it would be fair to say he squandered money and talent to the detriment of the Phillies’ future, and in several cases, to the detriment of the Phillies’ present at the time.

    Absent a tell-all memoir, which to our dismay probably would have very little broader interest, we’ll never know to what extent his decisions were at the direction of ownership/Montgomery. But to the degree there is anyone to hold accountable for the utter failure in direction the Phillies suffered from 2010-2013, it is Ruben, and he was terrible.

    Certainly things have started to fall their way in the rebuild over the last year+, and he should get credit for that, but I simply don’t believe we should have ever been put in the position we have been in the last 2-3 b(even 4) years, watching a team a team of beloved veterans literally die on the vine. It has been truly sad.

    • Rei De Bastoni

      I think you’re right, Will. People on here and PP always argue back and forth about how much control Ruben had. We can’t possibly know.

      However one thing we do know is his comments to the media, which over the past couple years have been mostly unforgivable.

      • Romus

        ReiDeBastoni…agree…..his comments of late (2014-2015) have been rather snarky and abrupt, something I was surprised to hear from an educated Stanford man and an employee at a high level of management.
        Perhaps he was feeling the heat so to speak.

        • philabaltfan

          The fan base would not have cared much about Ruben’s comments if the Phillies were still winning divisions and playoff games. What did Ruben in (and his predecessors) was the lack of development of young talent, the lack of International signings earlier on and the lack of attendance which a rebuild brings.