Former Philadelphia Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. is homesick.
Prior to his dismissal as the Phillies general manager in September of 2015, Amaro had spent the bulk of his life in the organization. He was the Phillies bat boy from 1980-1983, spent parts of five seasons with the team as a player and was a Phillies assistant general manager from late in 1998 until the conclusion of the 2008 World Series, when he was named the successor at general manager for retiring Hall of Famer Pat Gillick.
Now, over four years since he was last employed by the organization, Amaro is hoping to return to the Phillies in some capacity.
“There’s no doubt about that,” Amaro said to Bob Brookover of The Philadelphia Inquirer. “I have had conversations with folks from the Phillies and I think they know how I feel about the organization, which will always be in my blood. I’d be lying to you if I told you I didn’t want to work in the organization in some capacity again. I would love to come back. It’s home for me. But that’s not for me to decide. If it doesn’t happen, I totally get it.”
Though the front-half of Amaro’s tenure as Phillies general manager served as a continuation of the most successful era in franchise history, the team clung onto icons from that era longer than it was beneficial for the team. They fell behind other organizations on analytics, a hole they are still trying to climb out of. The Phillies failed to identify and develop talent during the Amaro era, something that was at the forefront of the 2007-2011 run.
Amaro wasn’t the only decision-maker in the Phillies organization during his nearly seven years as the team’s general manager. But he was the face of the front office, and became one of the least popular people in Philadelphia by the conclusion of his tenure.
Now 54, Amaro attempted to re-invent himself as a coach after he was let go as general manager. He was John Farrell’s first base coach in Boston in 2016 and 2017. In 2018, he served in the same role for the New York Mets under Mickey Callaway. Amaro was an advisor to Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen in 2019, before ultimately parting ways with the organization in August.
It’s unclear if the Phillies would have any interest in a reunion with Amaro in any form. There’s no evidence he was considered for Joe Girardi’s coaching staff, though the Phillies retained nearly all of Gabe Kapler’s staff for 2020.
It doesn’t seem impossible the Phillies would consider an advisory role for Amaro in the front office. After all, Ed Wade, who wasn’t especially popular when he was fired in October of 2015, returned to the Phillies as a special consultant and pro scout from 2011 to 2017. Then again, Wade’s tenure as general manager aged much better than Amaro’s has. Amaro also isn’t ideologically-aligned with Matt Klentak’s front office, which hasn’t stopped Charlie Manuel, Larry Bowa and Jimmy Rollins from getting advisory jobs in the front office, but they’re all franchise icons. Amaro isn’t.
If there isn’t mutual interest on the Phillies end, Amaro appears to be at a career crossroads. Most roles on coaching staffs around the league are filled, and it’s unclear if Amaro is more interested in coaching or working in a front office at this juncture. It’s been decades since Amaro spent a season where he wasn’t working for a major league franchise in some form. But it appears that reality may be facing him in 2020.
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