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BLOG: What A Difference A Few Months Makes

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By Spike

As they often say in baseball, it’s a long season. What a difference a few months makes.

Just think back to mid-July. Ruben Amaro Jr. held two titles. The first of course, was General Manager of the Philadelphia Phillies. The second, almost as well known, was “the guy who traded Cliff Lee.”

With the Phillies bats more silent than any of us could have dreamed, with the starting pitching outside of Roy Halladay inconsistent at best, Ruben was regularly skewered for trading away Lee in the offseason, as if it was the only move he made.

The criticism of Amaro didn’t stop there. We didn’t have enough on the bench to keep the team afloat with all of the injuries. He made a huge mistake by signing both Raul Ibanez and Joe Blanton to three year deals. The season was about to be flushed down the toilet, and it was all Ruben Amaro’s fault.

As they often say in baseball, it’s a long season.

With the Phillies are on the doorstep of yet another National League East title, and a path to the World Series that looks as clear as day, it’s probably time you said “I’m sorry” to Ruben Amaro.

It’s true, Amaro did trade Cliff Lee, and that proved to be a problem. Amaro solved the problem, and then some, stealing Roy Oswalt for JA Happ. For the second year in a row, Amaro got the best pitcher available at the trade deadline. The result is the best 1-2-3 starting pitching punch in baseball.

The two contracts that looked like mistakes mid-season have proven to be, well, not mistakes. Joe Blanton is 5-1 since the All Star break, with an ERA of 3.59. He’s exactly what he was signed to be. Joe Blanton didn’t come cheap, but pitching isn’t cheap. Raul Ibanez is hitting .309 in the second half with 8 home runs and 40 RBI’s.

Amaro’s decision to let Pedro Feliz go and replace him with Placido Polanco was the right one by anyone’s account. Mark another check in the “win” column for Ruben.
While you’ve got your pencil, give him 20 more checks in the win column for trading for the best pitcher in baseball, Roy Halladay, who has been everything we’d hoped for, and more.

A lot of times they say the best trade is the one you never make. While many fans wanted the team to trade Jayson Werth to make room for Domonic Brown to play and hopefully provide a spark, Amaro stood pat. He eventually got that spark, but got it from Werth, who is making his final push for a big contract. He’s also pushing the Phillies right into the playoffs with it.

As they often say in baseball, it’s… Well. You get the point.

With significant injuries to Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, and Ryan Howard, where would we be without the likes of Ross Gload, Mike Sweeney and Wilson Valdez? I know, you apologized to Amaro a few paragraphs ago. I’m just making sure you don’t forget.

The Phillies have holes. In Major League Baseball in 2010, it’s hard to find a team that doesn’t. It sure seems like the Phillies have fewer holes than everyone else though.

It’s true, Ruben Amaro is the guy who traded Cliff Lee. That probably shouldn’t be his title any more though. General Manager seems to be the one that fits best.

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