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News » Phils' Amaro has full plate, little time


Phils' Amaro has full plate, little time


Phils' Amaro has full plate, little time
Ruben Amaro Jr. has had little time to reflect on everything that has happened to the Phillies in 2008.

He officially became Pat Gillick's replacement as general manager at a news conference Nov. 3 at Citizens Bank Park. He flew to Dana Point, Calif., for the GM meetings a few hours later and hasn't stopped moving since. And things only are expected to get busier this month as the Phillies try to become the first National League team to repeat as world champion since the Cincinnati Reds in 1975-76.

"We have a lot of people working on a lot of different things," Amaro said. "We were behind the eight-ball time-wise. We started a month later than everybody else, basically, which is a good thing and a bad thing."

Of course, Amaro wouldn't mind being behind the eight-ball again next year or the year after that or the year after that. But losing that extra month meant Amaro had to cram two months of work into one.

He drove with Charlie Manuel to Steve Smith's Southern California home on Nov. 4 to fire the third-base coach. He drove back to Dana Point the same day to attend the remainder of the GM meetings. He announced hires and promotions to the Baseball operations staff Nov. 7, which included naming Benny Looper and Chuck Lamar as assistant general managers.

He signed Scott Eyre to a one-year, $2 million contract extension Nov. 10. He agreed to terms with pitching coach Rich Dubee, hitting coach Milt Thompson and first-base coach Davey Lopes, and accepted the resignation of bench coach Jimy Williams the same day.

He hired Sam Perlozzo as a coach Nov. 13.

He hired Scott Proefrock as an assistant general manager Nov. 17. He flew to Clearwater, Fla., the same day to conduct interviews with Manuel for the team's final coaching position. The next day, he announced changes to the pro scouting department.

He traded Greg Golson to the Rangers for minor-leaguer John Mayberry on Nov. 20, the same day the Phillies announced Chase Utley was having hip surgery and Pedro Feliz was having back surgery. The next day, the Phillies hired Pete Mackanin as Manuel's bench coach.

Along with those hires, promotions, trades, signings and announcements, Amaro has been trying to sign lefthander Jamie Moyer to a new contract. He has been trying to figure out who is going to play in left field next season, and if he can add another relief pitcher to an already strong bullpen and another utility infielder. He has been contacting free agents (including righthanders A.J. Burnett and Derek Lowe) and general managers from other teams about potential trades.

He still has to pick up the 2010 club option for Manuel, hire an advance scout and finalize the player development staff. He also might be exploring ways to sign Ryan Madson and Jayson Werth to contract extensions before they become free agents after the 2009 season.

"It's been challenging and fun," Amaro said. "At the same time, we still have work to do. We have things to deal with regarding our roster. We're trying to improve our club, but it's been a challenge."

Fortunately for Amaro, he had been groomed for this role since Ed Wade hired him as assistant GM after the 1998 season.

"Nothing has been real surprising," Amaro said. "It's been interesting. I've been fortunate to be able to bring on the people I've had the chance to bring on. I give [Phillies president David Montgomery] a lot of credit for allowing me to move fairly quickly on a variety of things."

Montgomery expressed last week how impressed he has been with Amaro and the things he has accomplished in a short period of time.

Although Amaro's moves in the player-development, scouting and coaching realms certainly are important, fans eagerly wait to see what he will do with the 25-man roster.

He has a tough act to follow in Gillick.

"There are some options," Amaro said. "The free-agent pool is not the greatest, but I feel pretty confident that we can do some things to improve our club. A lot of it depends on what happens with our big-name free agents right now, and that's [Pat] Burrell and Moyer. Hopefully, we can get Moyer done and move past that piece of the puzzle and move on to other things.

"We're trying to do the right things at the right time. Hopefully, we're bringing people together to move toward the goal of trying to produce a consistent world champion. It's going to be a tough task, but fortunately for me I think we've already put together a good group of people to help do that."

Contact staff writer Todd Zolecki at 215-854-4874 or tzolecki@phillynews.com.

Read his blog at http://go.philly.com/phillieszone.


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: December 1, 2008

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