The Rockies aren’t expected to hire a new general manager until next winter, but they have begun to sniff around potential candidates. Former Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. is the first name on the public list, per the Athletic’s Nick Groke (via Twitter). Said Amaro, “I would have some interest under the right circumstance. I think they’re figuring out who would be a real candidate and who wouldn’t.”Amaro Jr. is currently a color analyst on the Phillies’ broadcast team.
Amaro Jr. took over from Pat Gillick as the Phillies GM in November of 2008 just after the Phillies won the World Series. Amaro Jr. would lead the Phils to another pennan in 2009, but ultimately, a very talented Philadelphia team with Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, and Ryan Howard would fail to win another title. They would, however, make the playoffs in each of Amaro’s first three seasons.
Amaro Jr. was particularly criticized for handing Howard a five-year, $125MM extension in 2010 that wouldn’t kick in for another two years at the time of the signing. By the time the extension started, Howard was 32 years old and coming off a devastating Achilles injury. Howard would hit .226/.292/.427 over the length of the deal. Amaro Jr., however, wouldn’t be around to see the end of it: he was let go in September of 2015.
As for his fit with the Rockies, Amaro’s perceived shortcomings somewhat mirror those of the previous Colorado regime. Amaro Jr. drew ire in Philadelphia for holding on too long to the World-Series-winning core and failing to get enough back for those players he did deal away, such as Lee. He also wasn’t afraid to spend big money on free agent relievers, though the $50MM Amaro Jr. used to sign Jonathan Papelbon was considerably more productive than any of the Rockies’ recent splurges.
Amaro Jr. didn’t exactly leave the Phillies empty-handed, however, as he was responsible for acquiring Aaron Nola and Zach Eflin, as well as players like Ken Giles, J.P. Crawford, Sixto Sanchez, and Jorge Alfaro. The latter group no longer plays in Philly, but they were the talent pool from which Amaro’s successors were able to replenish the team via trades for J.T. Realmuto and Jean Segura, for example.
Of course, as the first name made public, there’s no indication that Amaro Jr. is anything more than one possible candidate in the first wave of potential applicants to become Jeff Bridich’s long-term replacement.