Ruben Amaro Jr. was not a particularly good general manager. Amaro ran the Phillies from 2009 to 2015 and presided over the steady decline of the franchise. He was roundly criticized for delaying the team’s inevitable rebuild, as well as for rejecting the advanced stats that had taken over every other front office. He was fired in September 2015 following the Phillies’ 99-loss season.
But maybe Amaro wasn’t actually incompetent. Maybe he was just miscast.
Since leaving Philadelphia, Amaro has served as Red Sox first-base coach, and now the Phillies are reportedly interested in bringing him back… as a manager.
According to Nick Cafardo the Boston Globe, the Phillies are considering Amaro, among others, for the managerial opening left by Pete Mackanin’s reassignment. Given how Amaro’s tenure as GM went, Phillies fans are not particularly thrilled by the possibility of a reunion.
If the Phillies bring back Ruben Amaro Jr. all that optimism about the team next year drops considerably
— Tony Cards (@Ah_You_Know) October 9, 2017
— Ray Moffo (@RayMoffo) October 9, 2017
It's like the deity in charge of Philadelphia sports put the Amaro news out there to balance out fans giddy over the Eagles & Flyers starts.
— Chris Otto (@ChrisOttoLNP) October 9, 2017
“Phillies considering bringing back Ruben Amaro Jr for manager” pic.twitter.com/H7AnmKoamI
— Morgan Reagle (@MorganReagle) October 9, 2017
if Ruben Amaro Jr is named manager I'm throwing a party at a bar where it is required all attendees get blackout drunk.
— chris jones¯_(ツ)_/¯ (@LONG_DRIVE) October 9, 2017
There isn’t too much recent precedent for guys toggling between the front office and the field. The only one that comes to mind is Dan Jennings, who jumped from GM of the Marlins to interim manager but lasted only a few months in the latter role.
Leading a team in the clubhouse requires deft people skills and the ability to command respect from a room full of players. Running a team as general manager requires comfort with statistical analysis, knowledge of the collective bargaining agreement’s many intricacies and understanding of team-building principles. It’s rare that someone has the requisite skills for both roles. That said, it’s possible that that Amaro’s experience as a GM could benefit him as a manager in an era when communication between the dugout and the front office is paramount.
Other candidates for the Phillies job, per the Globe, include Orioles manager Buck Showalter, Astros bench coach Alex Cora, Triple-A manager Dusty Wathan, bench coach Larry Bowa, Rays bench coach Charlie Montoyo and ex-Mariners and Indians manager Eric Wedge.