The Red Sox announced today what the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo first reported over the weekend: former Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. has been hired as the club’s new first base coach. He’ll also serve as Boston’s outfield instructor and assist in coaching the club on baserunning. Per the release announcing the move, Amaro signed a two-year contract.
“I was honored that Dave [Dombrowski] and John [Farrell] would consider me for this opportunity and add me to this dynamic coaching staff,” said Amaro in a press release announcing the unusual hire. “I am poised, focused, and ready to bring anything I can in terms of experience and knowledge to this position, and I look forward to being a part of the Boston Red Sox.”
Amaro’s transition from the top of a baseball operations hierarchy to a coaching staff is relatively unprecedented. Earlier this year, Marlins GM Dan Jennings moved from the front office to the dugout, although that was within his own organization after the club had fired skipper Mike Redmond. Amaro, on the other hand, leaves the only organization with which he’s ever been involved in the front office to join the coaching staff of an organization with which he’s never been affiliated. Amaro was a teammate of Farrell with the Indians in 1994, so the two men do have a preexisting connection.
Though Amaro doesn’t have prior coaching experience, he did spend parts of eight seasons in the Major Leagues as an outfielder. In 1051 plate appearances, Amaro batted .235/.310/.353 with the Angels, Phillies and Indians. He joined the Phillies’ front office the same year that he retired as a player, in 1998.
One would think that Amaro could have found a spot within a different front office as a special assistant or senior adviser to a different GM, as many previously fired GMs have done. For example, former Cubs GM Jim Hendry is currently in the Yankees’ front office, former D-Backs/Padres GM Kevin Towers is with the Reds, former Blue Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi is with the Mets and former Mets GM Omar Minaya spent several seasons as an assistant/adviser in the Padres’ front office before joining the MLBPA. (Those, of course, are just a few recent examples.) Amaro, though, clearly wants to go down a different path than peers who have found themselves in similar situations, and kudos to him for doing so even though it will likely open him up to come criticism.
The 50-year-old Amaro’s tenure as Phillies GM was littered with missteps that led to a widely expected dismissal in September, but his successor, former Angels’ GM Matt Klentak, thanked Amaro at today’s introductory press conference for the work he did in rebuilding the club’s farm system over the past year-plus. Amaro acquired prospects Jorge Alfaro, Jake Thompson, Nick Williams, Jerad Eickhoff, Alec Asher, Ben Lively, Tom Windle, Zach Eflin, Nick Pivetta, Darnell Sweeney, John Richy and Joely Rodriguez in trades that sent Antonio Bastardo, Jimmy Rollins, Marlon Byrd, Cole Hamels, Jonathan Papelbon and Chase Utley to new teams over the final year of his tenure.