Philadelphia Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. should consider renaming the Phillies ballpark to “Senior Citizens Bank Park”, as all of his players will be eligible for Social Security by the end of the season. Amaro may be putting together the worst Phillies team since the late 90s, which would be very hard to do. The Phillies will have five of their eight everyday players over the age of 34 to start the season in Rollins, Utley, Howard, Ruiz, and Marlon Byrd. Now, the Phillies would be in no position to win regardless of who Amaro brings in this off season, but Amaro has to start setting this team up for the future, and he is not doing that.
I am all for bringing in veteran talent when the youth in the farm system is developing and is not that good; but when you overpay and over-sign that veteran, I start to have problems. Yes the Phillies need a right-handed bat with some power, but the Phillies do not need to have a 36-year old in Marlon Byrd signed for two years and 16 million dollars, with a vesting option for a third year. What is one of the first things Ruben Amaro Jr. does once the off season hits? He signs Marlon Byrd to a two-year deal worth 16 million with a vesting option for a third year. I would have no issue bringing in Byrd for a year with an option for a second, but do not bring him in for two years with an option for a third, especially when you sign him for 8 million dollars per year.
Signing Grade: D
Carlos “Chooch” Ruiz is one of my favorite players on the Phillies, but do I think that he is worth 8.5 million dollars for three years? No. The issue with the Phillies, which falls right back to Amaro, is they do not have a suitable replacement for Chooch at the moment. Their top catching prospect, Tommy Joseph, suffered concussion after concussion last year, which set his development back. For Ruben’s sake, Joseph has to work out, as he was the top prospect in return for Hunter Pence back in 2012; but enough about Joseph. The Ruiz signing seemed to be a situation where Ruben Amaro Jr. panicked. He knew that Boston really wanted him, and offered Ruiz a higher contract than what Amaro himself originally offered. So Amaro added some more dough along with an extra year because he currently did not have a replacement for Chooch. Amaro should have offered Chooch a two-year deal for 16 million, and said “take it or leave it”. Ultimately, I am happy to see one of my favorite Phillies re-sign with the team, but I do not like the price and length at which he returned for.
Signing Grade: B-
Although he has been great for the Phillies for 2 1/2 seasons, Ruben Amaro Jr. should not resign Roy Halladay, let him walk. Ruben would be the one who overpaid Doc, only to be his fourth or fifth starter, which Halladay would be if he returned to Philly. Keep Jonathan Pettibone in as your fifth starter for the season and see what he can do over a season’s length (barring injury).
Ruben Amaro Jr. could do something great in the off season, or he could continue to tear a part the Phillies organization with bad signing after bad signing. Bringing in Byrd and re-signing Ruiz were not awful moves, he just overpaid both players and signed them for a year too long. Lets also not forget that Amaro also has Jimmy Rollins (35 years old) signed through next season with an option for 2015, while also having Ryan Howard signed through 2016 with an option for 2017.
This was and will continue to be a big off season for Ruben Amaro Jr., considering most Phillies fans are unhappy with the job that he has done and with the position he has put their beloved Phillies in. In the end, I see this being the last off season Amaro has as the Phillies GM, due to the tremendous hole he has put this franchise in, and with another disappointing season of Phillies baseball awaiting.
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