Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Ruben Amaro Jr. must fix his mistakes

Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. is lucky he escaped the winter meeting in Florida without being thrown into a local jail cell.

Ruben Amaro Jr. must fix his mistakes

Philadelphia Phillies GM and Sr. Vice President Ruben Amaro. (Alejandro A. Alvarez/Staff Photographer)
Philadelphia Phillies GM and Sr. Vice President Ruben Amaro. (Alejandro A. Alvarez/Staff Photographer) DN

The often incoherent, grammatically challenged ramblings of a man who has watched too much sports, listened to too much music and devoured too many club sandwiches.

Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. is lucky he escaped the winter meeting in Florida without being thrown into a local jail cell, and held without bail until after the holidays.

No, he didn’t swindle anybody in a sweet deal. That would be welcomed news. Instead, according to several insider reports, he basically tried to sell swampland as prime real estate.

In case you missed it, Amaro was in the mood to trade closer Jonathan Papelbon. In fact, he is still actively trying to trade Papelbon, and – surprise, surprise, he is not a hot commodity.

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This isn’t exactly along the lines of the Flyers getting stuck with Ilya Bryzgalov, or the Sixers with Andrew Bynum. To be fair, Papelbon has had more than decent numbers, but he is a luxury on a team that needs the essentials.

This is another case of the Phillies willingness to spend money during the recent glory days, and having it come back to place a detour on their road to future riches. The contracts the Phillies awarded Papelbon and Ryan Howard have basically painted those players as untradeable commodities.

At least in the case of Howard, you can make a strong argument that he earned his star status with the Phillies and was a huge part of their run to a World Series championship. He made the Phils a ton of money, and was an enormous part of their status among the elite teams in baseball.

Papelbon?

At best he was somebody else’s hero, an intimidating closer for the Boston Red Sox in one of their championship runs. And that’s the key: ONE of their championship runs.

Despite his success, the Red Sox did not see fit to pay any closer not named Mariano Rivera the kind of money the Phillies offered – and the Phils are now handcuffed to Papelbon, who will make $26 million over the next two seasons, with a vesting option of $13 million for 2016.

Thus, Amaro is once again in the business of finding somebody to take on a nuclear waste contract. He has one such contract in Howard, and another in Papelbon.

The suggestion from this seat is to do whatever it takes to get rid of the closer and his contract. If it means paying 75 cents on the dollar, so be it. You might appear to be buried under a contract, but you don’t have to die with it.

Think of it this way, both the NBA and NHL have provided “amnesty” rules to dump bad contacts against a luxury tax. The Flyers ate contracts for Brzgalov and Danny Briere. It made them look stupid for making the original deals, but they had to get out.

It’s not exactly amnesty, but sometimes you just eat the money in baseball. The real neat move would be to make another player available – say Domonic Brown, and make taking Papelbon as part of the deal.

Papelbon is a grade 10 storm waiting to happen. It should be stopped in its tracks, no matter what the cost.

Now on to other matters:

Nobody asked me, but I would have real issues if I was a Temple alum and the school dropped several varsity programs while continuing the dream of top-notch NCAA football.

Methinks it would have made more sense to pour money into sports than can attain success, perhaps making the baseball or crew programs elite, rather than running laps behind other schools in football.

Then again, this side of the room believes intramurals are more important than varsity sports.

***

Note to Chip Kelly -- Put on your Big Boy pants.

For the love of Ducks -- kick the ball to the kick returner. You have guys on your team who are paid to stop a return, the silly game you played in Minnesota last week made it look like you belonged back in Oregon.

***

I don’t think it’s supposed to work this way, but when I see Michael Bolton doing a Honda commercial, I have an urge to sell my Honda.

***

So, some old timers are upset about Major League Baseball halting the tradition of running over a catcher at home plate.

Hello. It’s almost 2014; we have figured out that concussions are a bad thing. And besides that, why should home plate be any different than third base?

You can not block the plate without the ball. If you do, it is interference. Get the ball, tag the runner before he touches the slides and touches the plate.

Not hard to figure out.

***

Amazingly, sports fans continue to get beaten up and even killed in stadiums across America because they dared to wear the colors of their teams in an opposing stadium.

It’s sort of like certain bars that do not allow “colors” in terms of motorcycle clubs. Then, again, you don’t expect the Hells Angels seated in the row behind you at the ball park.

Here’s an idea to those who truly think nobody should dare wear an opponents jersey to a game – grow up.

As a wise person once told me: “I used to get upset when I saw somebody wearing the visiting team jersey at a game – and then I turned 12.”

***

I still can’t figure out if Jack White is a genius or just playing us.. . . I don’t know how to feel now that KISS is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. . .I think I’ve heard so many bad concerts that I can no longer hear the E chord at the end of A Day in the Life. . I would love to see Pink do the Super Bowl halftime show. . .

How can it be true that Madonna was the top money maker among female artists this year? Did anybody actually like that tour?. . .

I wonder what Johnny Cash would think of the Avett Brothers? Or what Patsy Cline would think of Taylor Swift.

And Keith Richards turned 70 this week. Just another reason not to go to the gym.

Nuf ced.

Al Morganti is a member of the WIP Morning Show (94.1 FM) weekday mornings from 5:30 til 10 and a hockey analyst for Comcast SportsNet. His twitter handle is @nufced.

Al Morganti is a member of the WIP Morning Show (94.1 FM) weekday mornings from 5:30 til 10 and a hockey analyst for Comcast SportsNet. His twitter handle is @nufced.
Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/phillies/Any_idea_what_Ruben_and_the_Phillies_are_doing.html#B4VfJkx1WH9OlAId.99
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About this blog
Al Morganti is a contributor at Philly.com and writes about sports and entertainment. Reach Al at nufced04@gmail.com.

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