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Ruben Amaro is optimistic

Feb 17, 2014, 11:25 AM EDT

Pittsburgh Pirates v Philadelphia Phillies Getty Images

I don’t expect the GM of a major league team to actually say things like “well, if everything breaks right we can finish at .500.” But I do expect at least a bit of a nod to realism. Ruben Amaro isn’t into that:

“Listen, I don’t want to be foolhardy,” Amaro tells USA TODAY Sports, “but I do believe we have the talent to make a run at the National League East this year. And if we’re making a run at the National League East, it puts us in position to win the World Series.”

Personally I would’ve gone with something more vague about how “we expect to compete” or “we really like our ballclub.” But it is pretty adorable that he thinks the Phillies will make a run for the World Series this year.

  1. hoopmatch - Feb 17, 2014 at 11:33 AM

    Seeing as how there is at least one surprisingly good team every season that no one saw coming, I won’t dump on the dude for being optimistic.

  2. matgreene19 - Feb 17, 2014 at 11:35 AM

    Everything has to go 100% right for them to even compete. The pressure is on the middle of lineup because if we dont get production out of howard, utley and byrd, it wont matter how good Phils pitching is because they’ll score 2 runs or less per game.

  3. phillyupperdecker - Feb 17, 2014 at 11:43 AM

    Why they can win the NL East
    Lee, Hamels, and Burnett all stay healthy and post sub 3 eras
    Chase Utley continues his resurgence and is the top 2b in the NL
    Ryan Howard with healthy legs plays 140+ games and hits 30HR and 100RBI
    Domonic Brown has another all star year
    Ben Revere keeps his pre foot injury hot streak alive and gets on base as lead off batter
    Marlon Byrd hits 20+ HR and plays a solid RF
    Carlos Ruiz makes clutch hits and keeps the staff in order
    Jimmy Rollins doesn’t depend on the long ball and raises his avg and obp
    Cody Asche plays strong d at 3b while adding some pop at the bottom of the order
    Bullpen has a strong year.

    Why they wont win the NL East
    Hamesl arm injury more serious than thought
    Burnett regresses
    Utley’s knees act up
    Howard is done and can’t stay on the field
    Domonic Brown’s all star season is a flash in the pan
    Revere plays poor defense and can’t get on base

    • spudchukar - Feb 17, 2014 at 12:12 PM

      2 more reasons why the Phillies won’t win the NL East; Atlanta and Washington.

      • gothapotamus90210 - Feb 17, 2014 at 12:55 PM

        Washington SHOULD win 95+ games. The Fister acquisition for next to nothing was amazing for them.

        But the Braves? They lost McCann and Hudson and didn’t make any marquee additions. They always get the liberal media treatment of the baseball world.

      • spudchukar - Feb 17, 2014 at 1:07 PM

        Hudson is old, recovering from a serious injury, and is replaced by Alex Wood. The starters are all well above average, young and developing. Minor, Medlen, Teheran and Beachy create a formidable quintet along with Wood. Plus they have Floyd and Garcia if needed.

        McCann was expendable cause Gattis needed a place to play and they have Bethancourt et al as young promising catchers.

        They suck at second with Uggla.

        Third base is occupied by NL batting champ Johnson. At SS they have Baseball’s best in Simmons. First is manned by All-Star Freeman. The outfield displays Upton, Upton, and Heyward. If Upton flails again, Costanza or Schafer can fill in.

        Then they have the best closer in Baseball. So while one can point to second and center as weaknesses, and could keep them from moving forward in the play-offs, this team is a play-off contender in 2014 and years to come.

      • gothapotamus90210 - Feb 17, 2014 at 1:10 PM

        @spud – fair points, but you can’t count on Beachy for anything. He’s one more surgery away from McCain-arm.

      • spudchukar - Feb 17, 2014 at 1:17 PM

        Which is why they have Floyd and Garcia, although neither create a lot of fear in opponents. The fifth starter spot should be a concern for the Braves, however the Phillies have similar concerns except it includes #4 and #5, and maybe even #2 if Hamels is out for any time.

    • captainwisdom8888 - Feb 17, 2014 at 1:41 PM

      Burnett wont find that kind of success in Philly, Utley is only going to be a shade of his former self, howard bats sub.200 against lefties (AGAIN) and gets platooned with some scrub, dominic brown is the only person i see capable of providing a spark. simply put. this team is OLD

      im a philly fan calling it like it is. im a realist

  4. cruuuzcontrol - Feb 17, 2014 at 11:44 AM

    To heck with your facts and statistics… Hopes, dreams, and the will to win!! Your 2014 Philadelphia Phillies!!!

  5. halladaysbiceps - Feb 17, 2014 at 11:45 AM

    Amaro knows what he’s doing. He got rid of that waste of space Delmon Young and replaced him with Marlon Byrd in RF. He also bolstered the rotation with a capable #3 in AJ Burnett. Along with a healthy Ryan Howard, who has the use of both of his legs in more than 2 years, this lineup will be potent once again and rise to the top of the NL East like a shooting death-star!

    • yahmule - Feb 17, 2014 at 11:48 AM

      The Death Star had a laughably implausible design flaw that led to a massive implosion and the destruction of all aboard.

      • halladaysbiceps - Feb 17, 2014 at 11:50 AM

        Are you suggesting that the Death Star’s design flaw is analogous to Ryan Howard’s inability to hit LH pitching?

      • stex52 - Feb 17, 2014 at 4:32 PM

        Nah. Lots of very good players can’t hit lefthanders well. The engineer who designed the Death Star was an idiot. If the Rebels could figure out how to blow it up, are you telling me the Empire didn’t do a computer analysis?

    • spudchukar - Feb 17, 2014 at 12:08 PM

      While it is admirable to be a phaithful phollower, the prediction rings hollow. And while I could see how the Phillies might be better than predicted (next to last in MLB by some knowledgeable forecasters), surpassing either the Nats or Braves is beyond unlikely.

      What can be counted on is come October the majority of the Phillies watching the play-offs after a round of golf, will be that they will be a year closer to the Senior tour.

    • proudlycanadian - Feb 17, 2014 at 1:42 PM

      Unlike the Nationals, the Phillies do not need drones. They have Reuben instead!

  6. thephilsabide - Feb 17, 2014 at 11:46 AM

    Headline should read “Amaro thinks the Phillies could beat my precious Braves….and he’s WRONG! WRONG! WRONG!” (Stamps feet)

    • phillphan - Feb 17, 2014 at 11:56 AM

      If the Phillies had signed all the young players to early contract extensions like the Braves did this week, Craig would have been all over the Phillies for doing it so soon. But, hey, its his website so he can have as many different standards as he wants. We can just sit here and read them then complain. Then waste the time to respond.

      • spudchukar - Feb 17, 2014 at 12:17 PM

        I see no reason for you to continue your existence.

      • paperlions - Feb 17, 2014 at 12:53 PM

        Which young players would the Phillies be signing to extensions? Most of their useful young players have barely played (or haven’t played) in the majors at this point.

      • Craig Calcaterra - Feb 17, 2014 at 12:53 PM

        Wake me up when the Braves sign a contract as silly as the Ryan Howard deal.

      • gothapotamus90210 - Feb 17, 2014 at 12:58 PM

        @Craig … wake me up with the Braves have the money for a 25M AAV, Ryan Howard-like contract. Enjoy that crappy TV deal for the next 20 years.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Feb 17, 2014 at 1:19 PM

        @Craig … wake me up with the Braves have the money for a 25M AAV, Ryan Howard-like contract. Enjoy that crappy TV deal for the next 20 years.

        They signed a declining player, two years prior to his FA to one of the most expensive AAV contracts in baseball history at the time, and you want credit for that? It’s almost as absurd as the suggestion that getting rid of Delmon Young was a plus considering it was Amaru who brought Young in…

    • gmfw7 - Feb 17, 2014 at 3:44 PM

      Actualy church, they signed howard heading into the 2010 season when they had just gone to two straight world series (mostly thanks to him). He was a couple seasons removed from an MVP, the most feared power hitter in the game, and the heart of the team. That the contract extension kicked in a couple years later after he had started to decline doesnt make it a bad deal at the time he signed it. But dont let facts get in the way of you making your point.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Feb 17, 2014 at 4:40 PM

        the most feared power hitter in the game

        I doubt it. Two players from ’08 to ’10 (three years prior to the extension)

        A – .331/.439/.635 – 184 OPS+, 126 HR, 369 RBI; two MVPs and one 2nd place finish, 116 IBB
        B – .269/.350/.541 – 131 OPS+, 124 HR, 395 RBI, one second, one third, and a 10th, 36 IBB

        Who’s the more feared hitter there? I’d go with the guy with the far better triple slash, and the one who was intentionally walked 3x more. You’d go with player B (A is Pujols btw).

        That the contract extension kicked in a couple years later after he had started to decline doesnt make it a bad deal at the time he signed it. But dont let facts get in the way of you making your point.

        I said he was already declining, which you didn’t refute. You just said he was an ex-MVP and that he was the “heart” of that team. Utley was always the better player, but I digress.

        Ryan Howard’s peripherals from ’07 to ’10:
        BB%: 16.5, 11.6, 10.7, 9.5
        K%: 30.7, 28.4, 26.5, 25.3
        ISO: .316, .292, .292, 229
        wOBA: .397, .368, .392, .368
        wRC+: 135, 120, 139, 127

        His defense was getting worse, he was becoming a larger liability against LHP (see the ’09 WS), and his power was declining. And let’s not forget, the reason RAJ gave him the extension is that RAJ failed economics Howard was due to be a FA at the same time Pujols was, and RAJ thought that would drive the price of Howard UP.

    • phillphan - Feb 17, 2014 at 5:56 PM

      Craig, time to wake up. The silly contract you are looking for is BJ Upton. So you really didn’t have to look very hard if you wanted to find the answer, it was just last year that he signed. He hit .184 in case you were wondering.

    • gmfw7 - Feb 18, 2014 at 10:06 PM

      Church, your right pujols was the better hitter and all around player but howard had more HR and RBI than pujols from 06-09 (before the extension) and still leads in both categories so he was the more dangerous hitter in terms of power. Youre also wrong that his defense was in decline. Howard actually began playing better defensivley around that time and 09-10 were his best years defensively. He also had a .930+ OPS on ’09. You say he was in decline. I see a guy who was in his prime. And had he come out in 2010 and matched 08-09′s numbers he would’ve cost the phils $30mil a year. So again, at the time they inked the deal, no1 thought it was a bad move. You can continue to believe what you want though. Enjoy the season.

  7. kylewo - Feb 17, 2014 at 11:49 AM

    Does anyone actually respect Ruben Amaro any longer? An honest question. On the face of things he seems almost impossibly behind the times.

  8. thebadguyswon - Feb 17, 2014 at 12:01 PM

    I love bashing RAJ, but this team could contend for a wild card. It’s not inconceivable.

    • ptfu - Feb 17, 2014 at 10:14 PM

      Sorry, I can’t resist.

  9. chiadam - Feb 17, 2014 at 12:09 PM

    something something something Phillies.

    something something something complete.

  10. gothapotamus90210 - Feb 17, 2014 at 12:14 PM

    Craig, I see you’ve had your smarmalade today.

  11. unclemosesgreen - Feb 17, 2014 at 12:16 PM

    Optimist? RAJ is a delusionist and his statements are illusionist.

    An optimist would project these Phils for 78 wins.

  12. DelawarePhilliesFan - Feb 17, 2014 at 12:17 PM

    Troll. Plain and simple

    • unclemosesgreen - Feb 17, 2014 at 12:25 PM

      Yes and no, DPF. Does he carry a special Calca-Trolla place in his heart for Phils Phans? Of course he does.

      Early projections have the Phils winning between 72-75 games though. I have no dog in this fight but I think RAJ has been doing an extremely poor job and the Phils are in trouble until he’s gone.

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - Feb 17, 2014 at 12:30 PM

        Points taken – but this piece was focusing exclusively on one comment. “I may be dreaming, but I think we can win the division. And if we win the division, we could win it all”. Yea….when I hear the analysis of every other GM who says the same thing, I’ll withdraw my troll comment.

        But hey, my 2 responses (and counting) were the point of the troll. So there’s that :)

      • unclemosesgreen - Feb 17, 2014 at 12:32 PM

        Oh yes, the Calca-Trolla knows what he’s doing. I never doubt that for a moment.

  13. andreweac - Feb 17, 2014 at 12:44 PM

    This team is historic tWtW in them.

    • spudchukar - Feb 17, 2014 at 12:55 PM

      This team is MLB’s version of “The Expendables”.

  14. stex52 - Feb 17, 2014 at 12:45 PM

    Look on the bright side, phans. He trolls because he knows you guys will respond. Is that a bad thing? Other teams should have fans who care so much. How many hits does he get for dissing the Astros?

    You guys are phun because you will troll yourselves as much as the rest of us troll you. But take it as a little bit of an implicit compliment.

    • paperlions - Feb 17, 2014 at 12:56 PM

      Well said stex. I love the Philly trolling as much for obvious troll as for all of the phans that spectacularly rise to the bait. Nothing wrong with passionate phans defending their team.

      • spudchukar - Feb 17, 2014 at 1:10 PM

        I always wonder while fishing, after releasing and then catching the same fish again. Do they ever learn it is a lure?

      • paperlions - Feb 17, 2014 at 1:15 PM

        It depends on the reason for the response. If the fish is defending an area (e.g. spawning area), then he or she will never stop hitting the lure (until they are dead from exhaustion)…they’ll defend the eggs against any intrusion.

      • spudchukar - Feb 17, 2014 at 1:35 PM

        It will be a long, long, time before any eggs are hatching in the Philadelphia “Red”.

    • gothapotamus90210 - Feb 17, 2014 at 1:08 PM

      Apt point. As Phillies fans, we have a love-hate relationship with Ruben. Whenever that last nail is about to go in the coffin, he throws more money around and is once again beloved.

      • paperlions - Feb 17, 2014 at 1:27 PM

        I think it is also like having someone insult family. You can complain about your relatives because they are yours, but if someone else says the same things you have said….you will instinctively and passionately jump to their defense (results may vary, some relatives really aren’t worth defending).

      • stex52 - Feb 17, 2014 at 1:50 PM

        You want trouble, then troll the Sox or Yanks fans. The hysteria levels and insults boil over instantly, along with declarations that no other team in the universe matters.

        You want excitement, tell a Dodgers/Giants fan that his team is worse than the Giants/Dodgers. They will get that argument going for hours.

        You want a nice little troll on some guys who are actually aware of their team’s shortcomings, then the phans are your best bet. You will actually get some realistic feedback.

      • gothapotamus90210 - Feb 17, 2014 at 2:33 PM

        @ Paper, good analogy, I like that.

    • happytwinsfan - Feb 17, 2014 at 1:31 PM

      he never disses the twins only because he knows twin fans are too nice to get mad.

      • spudchukar - Feb 17, 2014 at 2:02 PM

        How exactly would one diss a Twin?

      • paperlions - Feb 17, 2014 at 2:14 PM

        Tell them they are the ugly one?

      • happytwinsfan - Feb 17, 2014 at 3:07 PM

        i’m not mad.

      • spudchukar - Feb 17, 2014 at 4:30 PM

        Well done PL, the option might be tell them they are the one who will live.

  15. PanchoHerreraFanClub - Feb 17, 2014 at 1:13 PM

    Wake up Craig! Didn’t the Braves sign Freddy to a Howard type deal? Time will tell how that works out, but it seems like a deal only GM Homer Simpson would make.

    • paperlions - Feb 17, 2014 at 2:16 PM

      No. When Freeman’s deal ends, he will be YOUNGER than Howard was when his deal STARTED.

      Age matters. The worst thing Amaro has done is to fail to understand aging curves.

  16. jcmeyer10 - Feb 17, 2014 at 1:27 PM

    Is this the first in line of GM’s saying their roster is in the “Best Shape of it’s Life”?

  17. NatsLady - Feb 17, 2014 at 2:16 PM

    Amaro thinks they can win the Division, but Papelbon is takin’ them ALL THE WAY, man, ALL THE WAY.

    Jeff Skversky ‏@JeffSkversky 29m
    Jonathan Papelbon: “if I was a gambling man I would take us to go all the way” pic.twitter.com/Y1zd6il5wD

    • Francisco (FC) - Feb 17, 2014 at 5:11 PM

      Maybe he’s talking about sex?

  18. genericcommenter - Feb 17, 2014 at 5:06 PM

    Lt. Amaro, CSI: Philly

  19. grnthghs - Feb 17, 2014 at 9:04 PM

    In the east the negative force is called the “Kal.” Calcaterra. For every negative critic, a positive one exists. Who would have picked Boston to win the WS last year? I think Amaro is completely right to pick his team to win it all and your are a complete #$%&* Calcaterra. If Boston can be in last place the previous year and win it all, why can’t the Phils win it all not having been in last place last year? Anyone can win and all the soothsayers are at risk. How about Jeff Passan picking Toronto last year and his big build-up to them. I will never let him live that down as this is a typical piece of nonsense that in which he was not even accountable. Not one apology for being such an idiot. I said why getting the best players from the Marlins would mean anything since they were losers with a losing team. Just like what gives you the right Calcaterra to have such pompous view or standing with a bunch of critics that think they know something. Oh, and “adorable” is a woman’s word you woosss!

  20. psunick - Feb 17, 2014 at 11:13 PM

    “Adorable”?

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