By Theodore N. Beitchman
It is well known what fastphillysports.com thinks of Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr.:
He is a failure and he is in way over his head on so many levels that it’s not funny.
He is not an adequate evaluator of talent.
He is a terrible negotiator, sometimes even negotiating with himself, as he did when he extended Cole Hamels’ and Ryan Howard’s contracts and then complained that these contracts were so big that these players were very hard to trade even though he extended them!
Most peculiar is his inability to understand that his words have consequences.
Amaro is an intelligent man, who was educated at Stanford, where he evidently never took a psych course.
Otherwise he would not have said in public, as he did last December:
“The Phillies would be better off without Ryan Howard.”
That is true, but he evidently never thought Feb. 23 would arrive and Howard would still be a Phillie because Amaro poisoned the trade market with his idiotic remarks.
And he also never thought about Howard’s feelings, but he does now because he is still on the team and manager Ryne Sandberg has said he will be the starting first baseman!
In December, Amaro publicly criticized first baseman Howard in an appearance on 97.5 The Fanatic:
“It would probably bode better for the organization not with him but without him. With that said if he’s with us, then we’ll work around him.”
Since then, Amaro has taken some heat for the comment as it’s not exactly a good look to go on the media circuit to trash a player who could potentially serve as a trade asset.
That chapter of the Ryan Howard book has ended, though, as Amaro has apologized to the slugger, Ryan Lawrence of the Daily News reports:
“Frankly, I apologized for those comments that I made that were public,” Amaro said. “And I think he appreciated that. Other than that, I want to keep the conversation private. It was a good talk.”
Howard, 35, is entering the fourth year of a five-year, $125 million contract extension signed back in April 2010. He’ll earn $25 million in both 2015 and ’16, and will receive another $10 million when the Phillies (or his eventual acquiring team) buy him out for $10 million for the 2017 season. Howard, who owns the Phillies’ single-season home run record with 58, batted a meager .223/.310/.380 last season but slugged 23 home runs and knocked in 95 runs.