Ruben Amaro was a polarizing general manager before he was even officially offered the job. The baseball world was made well aware that Pat Gillick would not be reprising his role at the helm after the 2008 season concluded – and w...
Ruben Amaro was a polarizing general manager before he was even officially offered the job. The baseball world was made well aware that Pat Gillick would not be reprising his role at the helm after the 2008 season concluded – and winning a World Series probably helped with that transition out of the captain’s chair – and that the Phillies would need a new GM. It seemed then that there were only two candidates, both internal: the current assistant GM in Amaro, or the fellow AGM and scouting head in Mike Arbuckle.
It’s a story you’re all familiar with by now and isn’t worth rambling on about ad nauseum. That time will probably come next month.
Instead, I think this week’s post is about acceptance or, at least, assumed acceptance. GM firings and replacements are far more infrequent occurrences than with managers, so it just seems the smart play to assume Amaro gets at least another year to work through the rough water he himself is partially responsible for stirring up. And with that assumption in mind, Amaro is the most important piece involved in this transitional period for the Phils. That may scare you a little, as it does me, but it seems the apparent truth.
Removing Amaro from play upon that assumption, then, today’s 10 will focus on the 10 most important “factors” (for lack of a better word) for the Phillies as they move forward through this season and beyond.
10. Freddy Galvis
The kid’s got a superlative glove, ad has shown to be exceptional at second base, very good at shortstop (in less time there) and above average at third base, according to my own eye test. Defensive metrics probably haven’t stabilized enough at the latter two positions to give a solid feel one way or another, but that’s beside the point.
There’s a very real chance neither Jimmy Rollins nor Chase Utley will be members of the Phillies after this season. Galvis will be The Replacement for whoever leaves first, and will eventually fill in long-term (or however long he can) at shortstop. The guy has to hit at least a little bit, or he’ll either become most useful as a bench/utility player or be a zero sum shortstop whose lack of bat cancels out his leather. A happy medium would be somewhere between those two.
9. Ryne Sandberg
His impact this season will be tangibly minimal, but the Hall of Famer is the heir apparent to Charlie Manuel’s managerial seat. How will his tactics differ from Manuel’s? Will he have more of a roster to work with than Manuel has the last two years (unlikely), and will he know how to keep his players’ heads in the game and their respect on his side? Only one way to find out.
8. Antonio Bastardo
Bastardo is a microcosm of a bigger issue, but he’s its most prominent figure. Left-handed relief has been spotty and inconsistent, at best, for the Phillies since Scott Eyre wrapped up his 2008 campaign. Since, LHP to log any significant relief time for the Phillies have been, by and large, control-deficient (J.C. Romero, Juan Perez, Jake Diekman) or kept around for their ability to log multiple innings (Raul Valdes, Jeremy Horst) while being marginally effective. Bastardo was supposed to overwhelm his control problems with wicked stuff, striking out enough to offset a 4.5 or so BB/9.
That would have to be a big number, and it was for two seasons. Then the first half of 2013 has happened, and all of a sudden, the Phillies are without a surefire lefty reliever again. His impact may only be 50 or so innings per year, but somebody has to get the LHBs out from the left side of the mound, lest we try to watch the likes of Chad Durbin get it done again.
7. Roy Halladay
Doc will not be paid $20 million in 2014, or ever again, for pitching baseballs. But his health and whatever remains of his effectiveness could be important for the Phillies in 2014 even still.
If the Phillies believe they can assemble some sort of a contender for R