Despite a last place team and an admission that another competitive Phillies team is years away, general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. has no reason to fear unemployment just yet.
Via Todd Zolecki, Phillies president David Montgomery gave Amaro another vote of confidence on Tuesday, as the Phillies lost their 71st game, 5-2 to the Mariners.
"Ruben is not on the hot seat," Montgomery explained during a back-and-forth with season ticket holders. "I think we have somebody whose experience working under two general managers served him well and positioned him to be very effective at his job. We -- we -- need to do better."
Montgomery's own judgment has come into question this season as well. In late June, he explained that the Phillies, having a third disappointing season in a row, would not be entering a rebuilding phase, as it would be too detrimental to ticket sales.
Should Ruben Amaro Jr. be on the hot seat?
The Phillies have suffered the worst average attendance drop in Major League Baseball from 2013 to 2014, with 8,265 fewers fans coming out per game, maintaining the downward trend of attendance since 2012.
After a trade deadline during which the flailing Phillies were expected to move some of their only productive pieces like Marlon Byrd, A.J. Burnett, Jonathan Papelbon, or possibly even Cole Hamels, Jimmy Rollins, and Chase Utley, Amaro perplexed experts and fans by doing nothing.
The argument can be made that he also did the right thing - making bad trades would have been viewed just as negatively, if not more so, than standing pat - but it was Amaro's choice of words that caused some blowback:
"I'm more surprised that there wasn't more aggressive action from the other end. We have some pretty good baseball players here. Our goal all along was to try to improve the club and there really wasn't a deal to be made that would help us do that."
ESPN's Jayson Stark, in an interview with 97.5 The Fanatic, reported that he'd had other GMs tell him they were "annoyed" and "flabbergasted" by Amaro, whom the Sporting News ranked last among all MLB general managers earlier this season.
Few GMs have suffered as much bad press as Amaro this season, but as Montgomery says, he's still got the backing of team ownership.