Ruben Amaro Jr. Rumors

Baseball Blogs Weigh In: Roberts, Giles, Amaro

On this date nine years ago, the Astros signed Richard Hidalgo to a four-year, $32MM contract. At the time, it was the third-richest contract in franchise history, behind only Jeff Bagwell's five-year, $85MM deal and Craig Biggio's four-year, $33MM deal. Hidalgo would go on to hit .266/.342/.475 with 87 home runs during the life of the deal, though he was dealt to the Mets mid-way through the 2004 season.

Here's a look at what's been written around the web…

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GM Trade Histories: NL East

Brendan Bianowicz is back with a bunch of updates to the GM Trade History series.  The Excel spreadsheets linked below cover each GM's trades, free agent signings, and top draft picks via tabs along the bottom.  It's interesting to see each GM's most frequent trade partner – for example, Omar Minaya has matched up with Larry Beinfest and Mark Shapiro most often in his career.

Odds & Ends: Oliver, Amaro, Scheppers

Links for Thursday…

  • ESPN's Keith Law has the latest on the battle between Andy Oliver and the NCAA over whether players can have agents and still be eligible for the draft.
  • Yahoo's Gordon Edes writes about the ascension of Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr.  Edes notes that the Phils still do not have a full-time statistical analyst.
  • Former D'Backs pitching coach Bryan Price landed a minor league consulting gig with the Phillies, according to's Steve Gilbert.
  • Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says it's "believed though not confirmed" that Tanner Scheppers has granted the Pirates permission to draft him again if they choose.  The Pirates did not sign him last year due to health concerns, but now he's looking like a top-ten pick.
  • A couple of powerful prospects got the call: Nolan Reimold with the Orioles and Mat Gamel with the Brewers.  For the Brewers, Brad Nelson now has to decide whether to accept a Triple A assignment.  The Orioles and Brewers are risking Super Two status with these call-ups, but only if the players are not sent back down.

Phillies Satisfied With Current Bench

According to's Todd Zolecki, the Phillies have no immediate plans to add another bench player.  

"We're always looking to improve, but nothing is imminent," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Saturday.  The Phils appear content with their current list of reserves, a group that consists of Greg Dobbs, Matt Stairs, Eric Bruntlett, Chris Coste and Miguel Cairo. Amaro was thought to be on the hunt for a right-handed hitter, but he'll apparently stand pat for now.

The Phillies, as you'll probably remember, were one of the first teams to express serious interest in Gary Sheffield before he signed with the Mets.

Phillies Still Eyeing Free Agents

Contrary to some previous reports, the Phillies are still keeping an eye on several free agents.  Todd Zolecki has the news over at

GM Ruben Amaro Jr. was asked if his club is still interested in Nomar Garciaparra.  "If I were to handicap this thing," Amaro responded, "I would say less than 50 percent."  It probably depends on the A’s interest.  Phillies officials said last week that they have no desire to enter a bidding war with another team.

Amaro also said talks are "still open" with the representatives for left-handers Joe Beimel and Will Ohman.  "But nothing has changed there," added the general manager.  Both relievers are holding out for bigger and better offers.  As Zolecki writes,

Amaro said a few days ago that those relievers would have to accept a very modest salary to join the Phillies. That likely means a contract worth less than $1 million.

Phillies Set Franchise Payroll Record

According to’s Todd Zolecki, the Phillies are looking at an Opening Day 25-man roster payroll of $132.5MM, a franchise record.

The Phils can expect an increase in merchandise and ticket sales after their 2008 World Series win, but the club might not have much of a budget for in-season acquisitions.  Ryan Howard will command the highest salary from the Phillies in ’09 at $15MM.  Brett Myers is second at $12MM.

Phillies Still Eyeing Right-Handed Bats

8:18pm: Philadelphia’s search for a right-handed bat continues. Alden Gonzalez adds an update on

Names the Phillies have been linked to in that regard include Nomar Garciaparra, Ty Wigginton, Moises Alou, Rich Aurilia, Mark Grudzielanek and Kevin Millar, Gonzalez wrote.

Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. told Gonzalez that the addition does “not necessarily” need to be an infielder, though a little insurance while Pedro Feliz and Chase Utley recover from offseason surgeries wouldn’t hurt.

“We’re looking for a guy that has a bit of that versatility that’s needed in the National League,” Amaro told Gonzalez.

Jan. 23: Jim Salisbury of the Philadelphia Inquirer has the latest on the Phillies’ pursuit of a right-handed bench bat.  Names of interest: Nomar Garciaparra, Moises Alou, Mark Grudzielanek, Rich Aurilia, and Kevin Millar.

Salisbury says Garciaparra is the team’s first choice, but Ruben Amaro Jr. remarked, "We can’t be held hostage by Nomar, though he’d be a guy we’d like to bring in."  Salisbury’s source says the Phils are going "pretty hard" after Alou, who will attempt to re-establish his health in the World Baseball Classic.  Two issues there: Alou’s playing time expectations may be too high, and he reportedly prefers the AL where he can DH.

Odds and Ends: Tazawa, Young, Kouzmanoff

Links for Friday.  As always, I’ll update this post with more stuff so refresh later if you’re interested.

Phillies Announce Amaro As New GM

In a news conference this morning, the Phillies announced Ruben Amaro Jr. as their new GM.  He received a three-year contract.  He beat out player development exec Mike Arbuckle, who resigned.  On the docket for Amaro: ten potential arbitration cases and key free agents like Pat Burrell and Jamie Moyer.

Amaro To Replace Gillick As Phillies GM?

On Friday,’s Jon Heyman suggested Ruben Amaro Jr. was the most likely replacement for Pat Gillick as Phillies GM.  Today, Todd Zolecki of the Philadelphia Inquirer hears from team insiders that Amaro (currently the assistant GM) is expected to get the job.  The decision would likely be finalized before the November 3rd GM meetings.