Full disclosure: I don’t live in Philly, but follow many of its Twitter luminaries. You should do so yourself. It’s the best regional Twitter going. At the very least you’ll learn how to eat a proper cheese steak. (Whiz or it doesn’t count, right?)
As you’d guess, few voices in the Philly Twitter world aren’t very thrilled about what went down this afternoon with mostly beloved managed “Cholly” Manuel suddenly given the ax Friday afternoon. The general consensuses is Manuel took a bullet for General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr., whose track record since taking over for Pat Gillick in November, 2008 — days after the Phillies won the World Series — has been spotty at best.
Here are a couple recent lowlights in Amaro’s tenure:
- Deciding to trade for 36-year-old Michael Young in the offseason and THEN failing to deal him before the deadline in July.
- Signing Delmon Young to play the outfield in the National League and then cutting him in order to pick up Casper Wells.
- Time will tell but some of the prospects Amaro dealt to assemble the current roster like Jarred Cosart look like they’ll mature into solid major leaguers.
From afar it feels like only Amaro knows what he’s doing or trying to accomplishment. The Phillies are 53-67 and going nowhere. They weren’t going anywhere in July either, yet decided to hold on to Young, Carlos Ruiz and all their other moveable parts that could have been spun into prospects. Even more confounding a couple days after the deadline Philly decided to ink Chase Utley to an extension through potentially as long as 2018. As it stands today, the Phillies have the third-oldest roster in baseball at an average or 29.9 years of age.
Fitting in with the trend, instead of starting to rebuild/tear it down at the deadline Amaro decided to can Manuel in mid-August. Instead of letting arguably the franchise’s best manager in recent history play out the stretch and retire following the season, the lightbulb went on over Amaro’s head that change was needed with 42 games left in a already lost season.
Manuel appeared visibly upset during the press conference and was adamant he didn’t quit or resign, but would do what’s best for the organization.
The Phillies do get a little relief after 2014 when Roy Halladay comes off the books, but heading into 2015 they have roughly $95 committed to five players: Ryan Howard ($25 million), Cole Hamels ($22.5), Cliff Lee ($25), Utley ($10) and Jonathan Papelbon ($13).
It’s a team that isn’t built to win now or in the future. It’s a team that was built to win in 2008-11 and is now paying the heavy price as age catches up to its core. Amaro seems to have bought himself some time by throwing Manuel to the wolves.
Good luck Ryne Sandberg … and be sure to watch your back.
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