The Philadelphia Phillies acquired Ruben Amaro, Jr. and Kyle Abbott from the California Angels for Von Hayes in December 1991. More than two decades after that trade the team’s current general manager could face the same fate as fellow sports’ colleague Howie Roseman.
Roseman recently ‘accepted a promotion’ and became the Philadelphia Eagles’ executive vice president of football operations. No longer the GM, team owner Jeffrey Lurie transferred player-evaluation power to head coach Chip Kelly shortly after the regular season ended.
Ryne Sandberg won’t have front office duties added to his baseball resume in 2015. The Phillies’ current manager, like Amaro, is also being evaluated by now-permanent team president Pat Gillick. ‘Ryno’s’ future remains in doubt as well due to the team’s rebuilding phase having just gotten underway.
Amaro’s Philadelphia ties run deeper than his playing career. As Phillies’ devotees know, his father (Ruben, Sr.) was an infielder for the red pinstripers in the 1960s, including the franchise’s infamous 1964 season when he won the Gold Glove Award. Amaro, Jr. was unexpectedly elevated to a front office position immediately upon his retirement (as a player) under then-GM Ed Wade in 1997.
Wade’s termination led to Gillick’s hire in 2005. ‘Stand Pat’ subsequently handed Amaro the reigns when he retired as GM after winning the 2008 World Series. The Phillies’ success line has steadily descended since then. Amaro became the target of all Philadelphia’s baseball frustrations because he’s the public face of all collective backroom decisions.
The detail seen above was approved by then-president David Montgomery, who just ‘accepted a promotion’ to team chairman, replacing Bill Giles. Giles himself has ‘accepted a few promotions’ in the past, including when Montgomery assumed his job as team president in 1997.
Montgomery fronted the Phillies’ franchise for 17 years. His business, personal and political connections, along with those of Giles, helped to get Citizens Bank Park built.
Montgomery’s many big-money approvals directly led to the team’s second-ever championship on October 29, 2008 and to its subsequent decline. He was the man at the top all along, not Amaro.
Gillick, with his Hall of Fame credentials and three World Series championships in tow, has been tasked with jump-starting the next Phillies’ era through this baseball year, at least. He heads the front office, influences on-field inventory (his term for personnel) at the major and minor league levels and will likely help to pick his successor.
The Phillies, like many business entities, believe in family ties. They also accept prodigal sons back into the fold, as Dallas Green, Larry Bowa, Ed Wade and others know. Amaro, who’s in the last year of his contract, understands Phillies’ history and may need to consider ‘accepting a promotion’ if he has nowhere else to go and Gillick offers that solution during this calendar year.