Can Ruben Amaro Jr. balance future with now?

New Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg, right, and general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

ORLANDO, Fla. — When another disappointing season ended, Ruben Amaro Jr. said criticism of him was warranted. David Montgomery, the Phillies president, said Amaro's job was safe, and that he trusted his longtime employee to fix what went wrong.

No one will say Amaro's job is in danger because the Phillies are patient with their people. (Recall how the Ed Wade tenure ended.) It is fair to say Amaro's job security is more tenuous than before. How tenuous? It could depend on what happens in 2014.

But that leaves Amaro in a precarious position. He must balance the future with short-term improvements. He could, for example, trade Domonic Brown — a player with high upside — for someone with more immediate production. (Although, one would wonder where 27 home runs are falling from the sky in this modern, run-starved environment.)

Amaro insisted he would not operate to save his job.

"I don’t do my job because of job security," he said. "My job is to try to put us back in contention with the players and personnel that we think are the right guys to do it with. I’m not worried about my job. I’m worried about my team. That’s the bottom line. I believe in the players we have; we have a great group of players. We had a terrible year last year. But I think we’re a much better club than we played last year, it’s as simple as that. We do have to try to continue to improve."

Still, doesn't that make it difficult to balance the long-term picture with the short-term one?

"We have to be cognizant of both," Amaro said. "Again, my job, our job, is to be contenders every year. That’s the process. that’s why young players are important to us. That's why keeping that depth is important to us. That’s why I think the experience of some of the guys, like [Freddy] Galvis, [Cesar] Hernandez and [Darin] Ruf, the experience they got last year to be depth guys for us rather than frontline players at this stage of the game, I think that adds to the depth of the club. If we have breakdowns, they can come in a do a better job. We’re just trying to create more depth and a better club. Those are the goals." 

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