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Ruben Amaro thinks the Phillies will be contenders if they stay healthy

Jan 15, 2014, 8:55 PM EDT

Ruben Amaro, Jr Ryne Sandberg

Bob Ford of the Philadelphia Inquirer profiled Phillies GM Ruben Amaro as his team is about a month away from reporting to Clearwater, Florida for spring training. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a prognosticator willing to bet on the Phillies winning the NL East or even competing for one of the two Wild Card slots, but Amaro believes that if his team can stay healthy for the duration of the 2014 season, the Phillies will be contenders.

“If the club we believe is going to break camp is able to stay on the field, we’re a contending team,” Amaro said. “My job is for us to try to be a contending team every year. Our payroll should allow us to do that. We had a couple of crappy years because we couldn’t get guys on the field and couldn’t get the performances we’re accustomed to.”

Amaro seems to believe that the Phillies’ lack of health over the past two seasons has been bad luck, rather than the result of a poor gamble. But the Phillies last season had the second-oldest group of position players in the National League, averaging an even 30 years old. They had the oldest group in 2012 at 31.1 years old on average as well. He committed a lot of money to Ryan Howard, Roy Halladay, Jimmy Rollins, and Chase Utley despite the contracts taking them into their mid-30′s. While simply approaching 35 doesn’t guarantee an injury, athletes’ bodies tend to deteriorate more rapidly the further they get from their 20′s. If they’re not simply being less productive, they’re more likely to wind up on the disabled list. That’s the risk Amaro took in attaching so much money to an old group of players; it wasn’t bad luck.

That being said, every season those of us in the business of pumping out baseball content on the web heavily overrate at least one team and heavily underrate at least one team. No one expected the Red Sox to win the AL East, let alone win the World Series, this past season. You never know what can happen. Amaro’s optimism about the Phillies isn’t necessarily misplaced.

  1. David Proctor - Jan 15, 2014 at 9:00 PM

    Bill’s the least biased Philly fan either, but it’s amusing how different a tone this article would have if Phillies-troll Calcaterra wrote it.

    • David Proctor - Jan 15, 2014 at 9:03 PM

      ever*

  2. thebadguyswon - Jan 15, 2014 at 9:05 PM

    I’m a Mets fan, but I could see it. Not the division, but maybe a wild card. Hamels and Lee is a nice 1-2.

  3. gothapotamus90210 - Jan 15, 2014 at 9:15 PM

    Nats are the clear cut favorite, but the NL East is so weak that if the Nats do falter, the Braves or Phillies could conceivably win the division. I wouldn’t count out the Mets, either, but the young arms will need to step up early sans Harvey.

  4. CJ - Jan 15, 2014 at 9:32 PM

    Yes Ruin Tomorrow, you are correct.

    If the Phillies remain healthy and play like they did in their primes, sure, they have a shot to contend. But, expecting a bunch of 30 somethings with a couple of minimum salary kids sprinkled in to play like they’re all 28 years old in their primes all season is insane. Of course, you gave them these absurd contracts, so you better hope that they play like they built the Bank on top of the fountain of youth.

  5. themanytoolsofignorance - Jan 15, 2014 at 9:37 PM

    The Braves win this division and The Nationals take a WC or vice versa. The Phillies play dead by June. Sorry Philadelphia, but that’s an old hitting team with their 2 best pitchers receiving almost no run support. There is no expectation that their other pitchers will receive any run support, either. There isn’t a single big bat on that club anymore and they haven’t the legs to play small ball.

  6. grnthghs - Jan 15, 2014 at 9:52 PM

    Yeah, you guys are brilliant – Jeff Passan picked Toronto – ha-ha! Not only he but many sports writers were picking the Jays last year just because they took the Marlins best players. I said all along that they were losers then and sure enough again – however, having said that my opinion is the old saying “Lucky Bums” like the Giants a few years being a bunch of rag tag cast-offs. It is chemistry as many believe or gelling at the right moment whatever that nebulous comment means? These people are major leaguers and rise to the occasion sometimes. It is the a series of seven games not 162 in the day in day out gruel for six months.

  7. dinofrank60 - Jan 15, 2014 at 10:16 PM

    While simply approaching 35 doesn’t guarantee an injury, athletes’ bodies tend to deteriorate more rapidly the further they get from their 20′s.

    Thanks for warning us!
    - Greg Oden and Brandon Roy

  8. cohnjusack - Jan 15, 2014 at 10:26 PM

    HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!

    Oh man Ruben, that’s a great one.

    First off, the Phillies aren’t going to stay healthy. That’s what happened when you have that many players well into their 30s in starting positions.

    Secondly…come on, they aren’t contending for anything. They lost 89 games last year and the only improvement they’ve really made is adding is adding a 36-year-old right fielder who is weirdly coming off a career year.

    • cohnjusack - Jan 15, 2014 at 10:36 PM

      Secondly, stop blaming your poor performance on injuries.
      You want some 2013 injuries?

      1. Team loses ace starter for entire season
      2. Team loses starting shortstop for entire season, forced to replace him with awful AAA option
      3. Team loses closer for entire season

      That was the Cardinals…they made the World Series. Because they had depth by not pissing away their entire farm system and using their payroll on bloated contracts for players in their mid to late 30s.

  9. thinman61 - Jan 15, 2014 at 10:43 PM

    In other news, Ruben Amaro is delusional.

  10. sawxalicious - Jan 16, 2014 at 1:11 AM

    Ruben Amaro, recapping his thoughts on the upcoming season: ” If my aunt had balls she’d be my uncle!”

  11. cruuuzcontrol - Jan 16, 2014 at 5:26 AM

    When asked, Ruben also said, “I wouldn’t trade anyone on this team for anything. And that’s great, because I can’t trade anyone on this team.”

  12. babyfarkmcgeezax - Jan 16, 2014 at 9:48 AM

    How does Ruben think the Phillies will contend when half the roster will be using walking canes as bats? It’s amazing how quickly he sunk that franchise into the depths of mediocrity hell. The Phillies need to turn their organization into an orange juice factory and can him.

  13. greymares - Jan 16, 2014 at 10:29 AM

    I will be wealthy if i it the lottery !!

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