Can you feel it? There’s a tension in the air. An indirect grip of unpleasantness holding us, right now. That feeling you get when something unusual happens and you can’t quite put your finger on the cause. All that you feel is the effect that seeps into your decisions. That’s what some of the Boston Red Sox players and executives may be feeling about the news that former Philadelphia Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. is possibly going to be the new first base coach.
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This is the same Amaro who pushed teams like the Red Sox to give up many of their young prospects for former Phillies ace Cole Hamels, whom was traded to the Texas Rangers for five players, including three minor prospects. At one point, much earlier in the 2015 season, Amaro saw how desperate the Red Sox were to fix their starting rotation and asked for players like Blake Swihart, Mookie Betts, and other prospects-turned-starters as compensation for Hamels’ services. If that deal would have went through, it may have crippled Boston, based on what resulted from the other veterans on the team.
Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe was one of the first writers to bring this new development to light:
Many other significant media platforms are also reporting the rumor to be true. In any business deal, there is always the possibility that something could happen and the deal will not be made, but it’s starting to look pretty official, this morning.
Jerry Crasnick of ESPN also recently covered the story, stating that “a baseball source confirmed the pending hiring, which was first reported Saturday by The Boston Globe.” Crasnick went on to say that, about a month ago, “Amaro had retained Bob Lamonte, a prominent agent for NFL coaches and executives, to help promote him as a potential GM or manager to MLB clubs.”
Amaro held the role as GM after the Phillies won the World Series in 2008, when Hall-of-Fame builder Pat Gillick retired. Gillick also won back-to-back World Series championships with the Toronto Blue Jays in 1992 and 1993. On Amaro’s watch, the Phillies saw three-straight winning seasons until 2012, where they went 81-81 before having three-straight losing seasons. That was never supposed to happen, as the Phillies were supposed to have one of the best starting rotations locked up for years to come. After Cliff Lee‘s departure, Roy Halladay retiring, and a number of key veterans finding homes elsewhere, all that remained last season of the elite talent was a group of broken-down veterans and Hamels.
Ian Browne of MLB.com wrote, “An outfielder for the entirety of his eight-year career in the Majors, Amaro could be well positioned to teach defense to Boston’s young and exciting trio of Rusney Castillo, Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr.,” but also added, “the fact that Amaro is ready to take an on-field job lends credence to a recent report that he might be interested in managing some day.”
Anyone else catching up here?
Alright, so current Red Sox manager John Farrell once played with Amaro with the Cleveland Indians, briefly. Does that mean the two men will have an excellent rapport with each other?
Arnie Beyeler, long-time Farrell assistant was the only man on Farrell’s staff who didn’t have his contract renewed. Any fallout from that?
And, what about Torey Lovullo, the man who took over for Farrell for much of the second half of the season? Wouldn’t bringing in a former exec to be an on-field boss ruffle his feathers a bit? Lovullo has expressed interest in being a manager at the MLB level one day, as well. If something were to happen to Farrell, whether medically or job-wise, Lovullo seemed like the heir apparent. Now, there seems to be two horses in the running.
Mark Townsend of Yahoo Sports believes that Amaro will not just be satisfied with being a first base coach for long. When with the Phillies, “Amaro later came under fire for failing to recognize that Philadelphia’s core could no longer contend, and for failing to embrace modern statistical analysis.” Townsend followed it up by stating, “To put it bluntly, he was stubborn, and by the time he put a rebuilding plan into place last winter, it was too late to save his job.” With that in mind, why would a man who has been used to living in the executive box and making GM decisions be happy with taking orders from other GMs and managers?
Amaro’s pattern of stubborn behaviour may follow him to Boston and disrupt any flow of a comeback that the team tries to build for 2016. Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe doesn’t endorse Amaro, per se, but he does express hope:
Maybe. Maybe not. All that many of Red Sox Nation can feel right now though is the feeling that there’s a big elephant in the silent room being asked to change his suit for a pair of baseball pants. The rest of people are just wondering if he’s going to freak out when the pants don’t fit properly.
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