ORLANDO, Fla. – Ruben Amaro Jr. checked in to the JW Marriott Grande Lakes shortly before 4 p.m. on Monday, the first of three days of general manager and owners meetings.
Not long afterward, Amaro was in the midst of a rap session with Philadelphia-based baseball writers when Miami Marlins general manager Dan Jennings walked by. The two NL East GMs exchanged handshakes and pleasantries.
“We’ll talk later,” Amaro told Jennings as their brief greeting came to a conclusion.
One of the writers then made a joke about Marlins All-Star slugging outfielder Giancarlo Stanton, who happens to be Amaro’s latest man crush. The Phillies general manager laughed.
“That’s not gonna happen,” Amaro said.
He laughed again.
The Phillies are not trading for Stanton this week, but they probably do hope to make some progress on two vacancies on their roster: catcher and pitching coach.
Exactly six weeks after firing Rich Dubee, Amaro has yet to find a pitching coach for Ryne Sandberg's staff. He said he offered the job to two candidates - reportedly Atlanta's Roger McDowell and Pittsburgh minor league pitching instructor Jim Benedict - but was turned down.
"For whatever reason," Amaro said, "they decided to go in a different direction."
Amaro said the team has identified other candidates and he was "still working through" the process. He would not say if any other offers were made recently.
Last week, Amaro said he wasn't going to wait around all winter to see if free agent Carlos Ruiz would return to the Phillies. Upon arriving to the GM Meetings, Amaro continued to say similar things regarding Ruiz, the catcher vacancy and the free agent catching class in general, which also includes the likes of Brian McCann, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and A.J. Pierzynski.
"We have a time limit. There are other targets. We’ve made inquiries with a lot of different guys. We’re kind of on board in a variety of areas. If Carlos isn’t our catcher than someone else has to catch for us."
Amaro was asked if he thought the catching market could move quickly this winter because of supply and demand.
"There’s not as many seats available as people think," he said. "A lot of people have catchers. There are probably 6-7 out there looking to be placed. Obviously some higher than others.... There could (also) be guys we could acquire through a trade, too. There are people out there. And I don’t know if there are 6 or 7 teams that need a frontline catcher."