Amaro Defends Moves on 97.5 the Fanatic – Phillies Nation

Amaro Defends Moves on 97.5 the Fanatic

(AP Photo).

(AP Photo).

On Tuesday, Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. joined Mike Missanelli on 97.5 the Fanatic to discuss the Phillies woes. Missanelli jumped to the point quickly when talking about how poorly the team has played this year and questioned Amaro on numerous issues.

Amaro and Missanelli engaged in a back and forth that involved some tense moments, including Amaro calling Missanelli “uninformed.”

Listen to the excellent interview below.

Mike Missanelli Joined By Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr | Phillies | 97.5 The Fanatic.



  1. Tracey

    July 9, 2014 at 9:00 am

    I heard the interview. Missanelli did sound uninformed, though Amaro didn’t make a good case for it other than calling Missanelli names.

    Missanelli continually blamed the Phillies problems on their age, but the best players are have been the older ones. Byrd. Utley. Lee (before the DL). AJ Burnett.

    I don’t know what the problem is, but blaming it on age is a lazy excuse.

    • Chuck A.

      July 9, 2014 at 10:17 am

      He was blaming it on age based on the fact that older players naturally go into decline. And he’s right since Ryan Howard is CLEARLY in decline as is Rollins to a lesser extent. Also, Lee on the DL for two months at age 35 with God only knows what is another example.

      • schmenkman

        July 9, 2014 at 11:18 am

        To me, Howard is a special case because of the Achilles tear. We can fault the FO for extending Howard earlier than they had to, but not for a career-damaging injury, IMO.

        As for Rollins, Utley, and Ruiz, of course older players decline, but the keys are 1) the contracts they signed account for that, or they would have been much richer, and 2) they were the best options available at the time (and still are).

      • Scotty Ingerton

        July 9, 2014 at 12:06 pm

        Howard had many red flags indicating his decline well before his injury though.

      • schmenkman

        July 9, 2014 at 12:24 pm

        When he was extended in early 2010, Howard was coming off a 45 HR, 141 RBI, .931 OPS season.

      • Tracey

        July 9, 2014 at 2:00 pm

        Yes, players decline as they age But when most of the older players on this team are playing better than most of the younger players on this team, it is lazy and blind to say that the only problem with this team is age.

      • Chuck A.

        July 9, 2014 at 2:23 pm

        I don’t think Missanelli said it in a lazy or blind way though. Howard IS in decline (yes, the injury has contributed to that), Rollins IS in decline (although still a very good SS and there’s really no one to replace him right now), Chooch IS in decline (even without the concussion – but still a very good catcher).

        I agree that some of the older players are doing ok and some of the younger ones (Brown in particular) not so much. But the point is still that this isn’t 2008 anymore. The run is over and it really is time to move on from it. And the Phillies, headed by Monty, can’t bring themselves to do it.

        THAT was Missanelli’s point.

      • schmenkman

        July 9, 2014 at 2:40 pm

        See, I disagree. Misanelli did say it in a lazy way. Virtually every FA ever signed is already in the decline phase of their career. Merely saying someone is “in decline” is meaningless.

        What are the options? And what are the costs for each one? Signing Rollins, Utley, and Ruiz were each the correct baseball decision, given what they cost and the other options available, and they would have been the right baseball decision, whether 2008 had ever happened or not.

      • Chuck A.

        July 9, 2014 at 3:57 pm

        Agreed. They were the right baseball decisions. But I don’t think that necessarily makes Missanelli lazy for asking what he did or demanding answers out of Amaro. The fanbase is upset….understandably….as they have the 3rd highest payroll and not much to show for it. There is nothing wrong with asking the GM to explain what led to his decisions and what he’s going to do moving forward.

      • schmenkman

        July 9, 2014 at 4:26 pm

        Not sure I understand — if they were the right baseball decisions, then why would he demand answers about those, specifically.

      • Chuck A.

        July 9, 2014 at 10:24 pm

        That’s a good question, schmenk. Not sure I really know how to answer it either. I think Missanelli obviously was on the attack, he wanted answers from the GM of a team with the 3rd highest payroll in baseball….a team that’s clearly not having a great season. I don’t think he was lazy in his approach necessarily, but he probably should have fact-checked a little more. But he certainly didn’t come across as “uninformed”. At least not to me anyway.

  2. R

    July 9, 2014 at 10:34 am

    Rollins hitting those home runs that one year was the worst thing that ever happened to him. He thought of himself as a home run hitter since then, and his numbers have suffered.

    • Keith L

      July 9, 2014 at 10:46 am

      Pete Rose said something similar. Rose said itwas winning the MVP that did it.

    • schmenkman

      July 9, 2014 at 11:12 am

      There is no reason to think that Rollins would have been even MORE successful than he has been, with a different approach, that he was less comfortable with. In fact, it’s highly presumptuous.

      • R

        July 9, 2014 at 12:17 pm

        Rollins BA and OBP have been in the toilet for the past 6 years.

      • schmenkman

        July 9, 2014 at 12:36 pm

        The anomaly hasn’t been the past 6 years. The anomaly were his career years in 2008 and especially 2007. Every player has career years, and it would be foolish to expect the rest of a player’s career to match those years. Of course they won’t, that’s why they’re called career years.

        His last six years compare well to his first six:

        2001-2006: .274 average, .329 OBP
        2009-2014: .252 average, .318 OBP

        That is exactly what you would expect as a player ages.

        And that’s before considering the decline in overall offense across MLB in that time. In fact, his recent years have actually been a little better than his first six, when you compare to the MLB average:

        2001-2006: OBP .006 below MLB average of .335
        2009-2014: OBP .004 below MLB average of .322

      • schmenkman

        July 9, 2014 at 12:46 pm

        Just to add to that, his OBP declined less than his BA because at the same time he increased his walk rate, from below average, to somewhat above average:

        2001-2006: 7.3%
        2009-2014: 8.7% (9.4% since 2010, 11.1% this year)

    • kjeeee

      July 9, 2014 at 1:58 pm

      Phillies are overloaded with players who aim for the long ball.
      Phils need more smart and creative players willing to “manufacture” runs. Yes, homeruns are sexy but it is not a model built to last.
      We have more players striking out than creating opportunities.

  3. Lefty

    July 9, 2014 at 11:20 am

    I should start by saying that this is not a defense of Ruben Amaro Jr. But I don’t like Missanelli and think that most of the time he’s nothing more than a blow hard hack. My unfortunate personal experience with him when he kept telling me I was an A-hole and that Hamels absolutely would not sign an extension mid season, gives him very little credibility in my mind.

    However I have to give credit where it’s due, he pressed Amaro hard and didn’t soft peddle the interview like most do, so I applaud him for that. But to expect anything more of a response than what he got from Amaro is silly. How could Amaro have been prepared for the ambushing he received?

    Think about how any of you may have responded in the same situation? What might you have said to the attacks he received? In looking back at it now, I don’t think I would have done much better than he did. Sure he got caught up in it for a minute, but also kept his relative cool.

    Again, I don’t want to sound like I’m defending the approach taken by this front office over the past five years that has left the organization in the shape it’s now in, just the fact that it’s very difficult to respond intelligently in that type of interview.

  4. Scotty Ingerton

    July 9, 2014 at 12:10 pm

    I’d rather have this type of interview that somebody just tossing Amaro softballs. Doesn’t someone have to take responsibility at some point? To have the third highest payroll and one of the worst teams in the league is just an embarrassment. It hasn’t just happened by accident, there’ve been plenty of bad decisions along the way.

  5. Don M

    July 9, 2014 at 1:37 pm

    I agree with Lefty in that Missanelli deserves some credit for not letting Amaro control the interview. RAJ had to pretend he thought they had a contender this season – he has to pretend they won’t be in the NL East basement for the next few seasons .. they’re still trying to sell tickets up until the moment they waive the white flag

  6. Mudmin

    July 9, 2014 at 1:46 pm

    I will go ahead and say it…. I didn’t think so at the time but now I think Howard was juicing. I think we paid for a jacked up Ryan Howard and got the real one after testing was in place.

    • Chuck A.

      July 9, 2014 at 2:26 pm

      Your proof?

    • mudmin

      July 9, 2014 at 4:25 pm

      No proof… Just a hunch and random rumors. I’m sure that are a lot of players who stopped when testing started and it always boggles my mind that people still try.

      • schmenkman

        July 9, 2014 at 4:39 pm

        Mandatory testing began in 2004. Howard came into the league in 2005. He hit 45 HR with 141 RBI in 2009. He has not been named in any report or implicated in any way. He tore his achilles tendon in 2011. From those basic facts, I’d be interested in seeing a timeline that fits your hunch.

      • Ken Bland

        July 9, 2014 at 5:04 pm

        You know, Mudmin, a screen name with no doubt an interesting story behind it….I have to be careful not to rip you here, particularly since you included hunchwork, and random rumors in your assertion, but I guess it’s the timing of the statement that I find obnoxious. In reality, since I’m SO far removed from player’s lives, I would feel foolish to have a guess on the subject, and I guess it just isn’t my personal style to apply hunches on that sort of thing. And I’m not privy to all rumors and coverage, but my experience does not include hearing any linkage between Howard and roids. All I KNOW is he’s never been suspended.

        So I can’t be too critical of your comment, even though IF I were a clean player, and I read that, I’d be offended (depending on my adjusted ability to ignore fanspeak if in the public eye. And all those things lead me to what I’d call a label of ridiculous on your thought. But I find myself feeling that such ridiculousness fits exactly into a number of comments in this thread. And I think that under the when in Rome, do as the Romans do premise, your comment won’t get the memory factor like it might have in another time and place.

        When you think about it, even the on air discussion about Utley was pretty absurd, although in heat, and live, it’s REAL easy to look back, and be critical. The ENTIRE focus was on Utley’s offense. Misanelli was good, not swallowing the image, and forgetting June, and there’s enough production to be positive about it as Amoron was. But in the aftermath, from what I’ve seen (which isn’t necessarily a wide or full sampling, there was ZERO mention of the man’s defensive capability. Now The Clown Prince of Statistical Foolery and Company might pull the usual drill of doing something like trying to UZR their way out of anything negative that even one detracting from Chase probably says with SOME degree of regret, but if anybody thinks his overall contribution is as gaudy as this hallowed all star season wraps with a playing “very well” bottom line, well….I’ve already done enough analogies to last a lifetime.

        Then we have the case for the “older” players being the ones playing well. Clap your hands, everybody. For Philadelphia 76ers, and remember Fred Carter, MVP of that historic quintet. Burnett has pitched quite well in some games, TERRIBLY in others. Marlon Byrd, on the whole, is a positive, but there has been a GOOD amount of inconsistency in there. As a supporting type player, if the core’s doing well, you take what he’s given, and it’s pretty darned good. But as a production leader of this pathetic first half, you can’t overrate him just because who else you gonna talk about?

        Then we have the comments trying to apply empathy to Amoron. What a moron. Misery loves company. It really was pretty obnoxious, or tasteless, or SOME non positive word of Missanelli to ask Ruben how he’d evaluate his tenure. You can’t answer that question in a 5-7 minute interview, and the oft eloquent Amoron, who’s dodged questions aplenty didn’t have the poise to offer up that he wasn’t concerned about that right now, giving way to his focus on the business at hand. Instead, he stupidly answered with what’s probably right, but pretty vague, and COMPLETELY irrelevant to the all important trade deadline by saying words to the effect of it being a mixed bag. That told me Ruben was just getting killed, and is as uncomfortable as he should be in his place in this wreckage.

        So I don’t know about Howard and roids. But I didn’t think much of the statement. Bonne nuit.

      • schmenkman

        July 9, 2014 at 5:23 pm

        Yes, UZR, Total Zone, and DRS all agree that Utley still rates very well defensively, in spite of the occasional miscue.

    • Lefty

      July 9, 2014 at 7:46 pm

      I wanted to say something intelligent about that article, but the best I could do is- lol

  7. Tom in South Philly

    July 9, 2014 at 5:59 pm

    I just listened to the interview, and now I am reminded why I don’t listen to any talk radio; there is little or no room for intelligent conversation. Missanelli was like a hungry dog on a bone about the age issue; he wouldn’t let it go. Sure the age issue is A factor, but it is not THE factor; underperformance is the main issue. Is age part of that underperformance? Absolutely, but I don’t think it explains all of it.

    As mentioned elsewhere, the (re)singing of Rollins, Utley and Ruiz, probably made sense, given that they represented the best options available at that time. Ruben has made mistakes, but the resigning of these players (even at their ages) aren’t among them.

    • gibbs57

      July 10, 2014 at 12:33 am

      Missanelli’s point wasn’t that there were better options to stick in at those positions. His point was that at some point you have to move on, and you can’t keep resigning so many core players in their mid 30s and EXPECT to win. His questioning of Amaro in the interview was in reference to Amaro saying the other day that he didn’t see this lack of production coming, meanwhile the majority of people in baseball predicted before the season that this team would only win about 70 games. Are Galvis, Hernandez, Ruf or a group of lesser free agents better than Rollins, Utley, Howard? No, maybe not. But the Phillies are in last place now with the veterans and no spare money for a free agent or a trade. Maybe there’s no great prospect ready, but that’s on Amaro and his staff as well. Sure Byrd and Utley are above average, but Rollins isn’t, Howard isn’t, and Ruiz isn’t. And Lee’s hurt. Missanelli said, and Amaro even admitted to, MOST players decline in production as they get older. So again, I believe it was Missanelli’s 1st question and the point of the questioning … how did Amaro not see a decrease in production coming? Maybe resigning any one particular guy wasn’t a mistake by itself, but resigning as many as he did has proven to be one.

      • schmenkman

        July 10, 2014 at 3:25 am

        1) If that was his point, then he’s simply wrong. Signing the older players is not the reason they’re not winning this year.

        2) Rollins and Ruiz ARE above average. Rollins is 8th in MLB according to either WAR measure, and Ruiz is top 10 even with the time due to the concussion.

        3) Yes, it’s on the FO to not have better young players, but that was due to win-now decisions made in 2009-2011 (trades for Halladay, Lee, Pence, Oswalt), and that was not the topic of Mikey’s attack.

        4) It’s NOT evident that Amaro didn’t see a decrease in production coming, since a) the contracts account for lower expected production, or they would have been much richer, and b) again, production of older players (other than Howard) is NOT the reason they’re losing this year, and this year was the topic of Mikey’s questioning.

      • schmenkman

        July 10, 2014 at 3:48 am

        *2) …even with the time _missed_ due to the concussion.

  8. bacardipr05

    July 9, 2014 at 6:08 pm

    Amaro guessed on Howard. “Guessing” on the right moves is part of been a GM. Its unfortunate that Howards declined was hastened by his injury. One will never know if it wasnt for his injury would he have declined or not. Either way Howard still chases some of the same pitches unless his Achilles injury also affects his strike judgement. Amaro “guessed wrong” and hampered the franchise in some form or shape for 5 years.

  9. gibbs57

    July 10, 2014 at 9:07 am

    His point was that it was time to move on from these players. Like I said, were other available options better? No, perhaps not, but are they going to resign these guys into their 40s? You can’t continue to rely on past performance when history tells you that players regress after 29. Again, was any individual signing a mistake? Maybe not, but they were trying to do something that no other team in the history of the NL has done and that was field 5 34+ year olds in their starting lineup for the entire season. So the idea of trying to get younger isn’t a new theory.
    It’s not evident that Amaro didn’t see this lack of production coming? Amaro said “I didn’t anticipate our guys being this poor. Because they are. They are this poor.” .And that was the topic of Missanelli’s rant, the fact that he said that, while everyone else saw it coming, and now Amaro is blaming the players and threatening changes.
    I’m not fully on board with Missanelli either. You can’t take one month of production and use that as an example, like he did with Chase. I’m sure Chase has hit .230 over the course of a month before.

    • schmenkman

      July 10, 2014 at 9:19 am

      “You can’t continue to rely on past performance”
      I don’t think anyone did that. Again, recent contracts to Rollins/Utley/Ruiz assumed there would be decline, otherwise they would have had to be much richer.

      “Amaro said “I didn’t anticipate our guys being this poor. Because they are. They are this poor.”
      This refers to the YOUNG guys (Brown, Revere), plus Howard. It doesn’t (or shouldn’t) refer to Utley, Rollins, Ruiz, Lee, Hamels, Byrd, or Burnett.

      • gibbs57

        July 10, 2014 at 10:37 am

        I just disagree I guess. Amaro maxed out the payroll with aging players with declining production, decent or not, instead of going with younger or cheaper alternatives and being able to replace those that don’t perform. They did overpay for Rollins, utley, ruiz, IMO. They bid against themselves. No one else was giving the contracts that they got.

      • schmenkman

        July 10, 2014 at 10:45 am

        They didn’t overpay. Remember that, even if true, “no else was giving the contract that they got” is the case in virtually every FA signing. It’s essentially an auction with the player going to the highest bidder in most cases. However the projected production at the time, for each of those players, based on past production AND expected age-related decline, supported the contracts that they got.

  10. gibbs57

    July 10, 2014 at 12:34 pm

    I understand how free agency works. Thanks for the tutorial though.  I wasn’t talking dollars. I meant years. Boston wasn’t giving Ruiz a guaranteed third year, so Amaro gave a guaranteed third with a fourth year option. Rollins did get offered 4 years (don’t know the dollar amount though) from the Brewers, but they were the only ones and I wish he would have taken it. Utley wasn’t a free agent, but he didn’t even play a full season since 09 at that point, so no one was giving him 2 years, 27 mil, with option years up to 5 years. And he’ll get 5 mil more next year if he doesn’t go on the 15 day for a knee injury this year. And they aren’t taking less money than they did before either and their annual salary doesn’t decrease due to expected performance decline. Rollins and Ruiz got raises while Utley gets 15 mil per year, possibly through age 39, (what he’s made per year since 2012) as long as he gets 500 PA. So they wouldn’t have had to be much richer. Like I said, we just disagree on whether resigning all of these players was a mistake or not. I just think that it restricted them too much financially and now they’re stuck. Well good chat, but I really do hate typing which is why i don’t post often. So I’m done. Got work to get done anyway.

    • schmenkman

      July 10, 2014 at 12:42 pm

      Their previous salaries are irrelevant, though, and always are, but especially so when the prior deals were extremely team friendly as in all of these cases.

      I honestly couldn’t care less about an extra year, and those extra years aren’t restricting them at all this year.

      I strongly disagree with most of what you wrote, but I am happy to agree to disagree and move on.

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