The day after the conclusion of a disappointing 2012 season, all eyes focused in on two chairs in the press room at Citizens Bank Park.
On the right sat a man who won the most managerial games in Phillies history, earned Philadelphia a desperately needed championship, and turned a hapless 2012 team into a .500 ballclub. On the left sat a man who inherited a World Champion team and the highest payrolls in Phillies history, then proceeded to lose earlier and earlier each season until his mistakes finally resulted in a Phillies season without postseason baseball.
The man on the right managed the best era in the Phillies 129 year history and exceeded expectations each year.
The man on the left allowed a team to crumble under his watch and consistently fell short of expectations.
It was Ruben Amaro, Jr., the man on the left, who was most to blame for the failure of the 2012 Phillies. Not injuries, not coaches, not underperformance. Ruben Amaro. Yet Ruben Amaro had the audacity and was unrightly given the authority to fire and hire coaches.
Amaro has proven over the last four seasons that he is incapable of making important decisions for this Phillies ballclub. He biggest gaffs came with the 2012 Phillies, including a failure to secure adequate backups for Howard and Utley, a gross misevaluation of the bullpen, trading high prized prospects for Hunter Pence, and providing a starting job for John Mayberry, just to name a few.
That is why the theme for this end of year press conference should have been addressing Ruben's miscalculations and offering praise for Charlie Manuel's terrific job of covering up for Amaro's inadequacies.
Instead, the focus of this press conference was unnecessarily placed on Charlie Manuel and whether or not this will be his last season. Charlie Manuel is now a lame duck manager and nobody knows whether or not that was his decision. Sure, a manager possibly in his final season is an issue that must be addressed and it is the responsibility of the GM to ensure an adequate transition plan is put in place, but it does not need to take place one day after the season ends.
Ruben Amaro unjustly put pressure, and in an indirect way, blame on Charlie Manuel for the 2012 season by firing coaches and hiring Manuel's heir apparent in Ryne Sandberg as the third base coach. The decision of hiring and firing coaches can be made by the GM or the manager. The fact that it was the GM making all of the decisions and putting Charlie's replacement on his staff directly beneath him is troubling.
Most troubling was that David Montgomery allowed these development to transpire. David Montgomery should have given these coaching decisions to Charlie Manuel. Allowing Ruben Amaro to make these moves is borderline disrespectful to Charlie Manuel and places an unnecessary amount of faith in Ruben.
Given the timing of the announcements, the nature of the decisions, and the ambiguity of Charlie's future, the talk around town for the next few months will be focused on Charlie Manuel. It was a masterful job of redirection from Amaro of which Obama and Romney would be proud. Rather than Ruben facing scrutiny on his failed "roster policies," Charlie will be answering the tough questions through much of the offseason and possibly throughout the entire 2013 campaign.
David Montgomery had the opportunity to avoid this situation. Montgomery's handling, or lack thereof, of the coaching decisions was a huge disservice to Charlie Manuel. Montgomery needed to show respect to his manager by allowing Charlie to make the personnel decisions, not Ruben. And if Montgomery wanted Sandberg on the staff, that needed to be his decision.
In reality, discussion should surround Ruben Amaro's ambiguous future. David Montgomery needed to take charge, set the tone, and deliver a clear message that Ruben Amaro's job is on the line.
That message was not delivered. The message on Thursday was one of Amaro deflecting scrutiny. He deflected it towards his managers and coaches as I already pointed out, and he also deflected it towards some of his high priced players, which I will get into later.
Well played, Rub. You seem to have everyone fooled. Well, as Dr. Klopek said in The Burbs, "You don't fool me."comments powered by Disqus