Completely forgot I wrote this in November 2008, but @GTown_Dave on twitter sent it to me, reminding me of that under-the-radar move. The move was choosing Ruben Amaro over Mike Arbuckle to take over for Pat Gillick as GM of the Phillies. Amaro got the job, Arbuckle moved to Kansas City, and here we are today.
I wrote this nearly five years ago for examiner.com:
On Monday, the Philadelphia Phillies announced their new General Manager, the man who would take over for the legendary Pat Gillick. Ruben Amaro Jr., just 43, is the new GM for the World Champion Phillies, filling in for Gillick who has won three titles in that position.
It’s a feel good story for Amaro, who in 1980 was a batboy, winning a championship with the team in quite a different capacity. He now gets to take over for the top franchise in baseball and will have a busy first off-season ahead of him as players like Ryan Howard and Cole Hamels look for big-time raises and Pat Burrell becomes a free agent.
With the promotion of Amaro, an assistant GM for 10 seasons with the Phils, Mike Arbuckle will be leaving the team. Arbuckle, an assistant General Manager himself, was also considered for the position before the Phillies’ decision to go with Amaro.
Arbuckle has been in baseball since 1979, when he entered the game as a scout. In 1992 he took over as the Phillies Director of Scouting and just two years later was promoted to assistant GM. One of the main cogs behind this championship season, Arbuckle is responsible for drafting Howard, Hamels and Burrell along with Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Ryan Madson, and Brett Myers.
He is from the Kansas City area, and there are rumors around the league that he may join the Royals in some capacity. His departure would be huge, and may even be the biggest loss of the season. This guy has been with the Phillies for nearly two decades and knows the Phillies system inside and out. Amaro himself has been with the franchise for a while too, but he is not as seasoned as Arbuckle.
Baseball America had Arbuckle ranked as the third best GM prospect in 2003. Five years have passed since then and Arbuckle is still an assistant, so its understandable that he wants his shot at losing the assistant moniker.
While it was great to see Amaro’s promotion, it is just as alarming to see Arbuckle leave like this. He perhaps should have been the leading candidate, but the Phils brass chose to move along with younger blood. Keep an eye on Arbuckle’s whereabouts during the off-season. Just a week removed from a title, the Phillies are undergoing their first bout with in-house turmoil.
So, looking back, was it the right move to choose Amaro over Arbuckle?