Phillies News: La Russa Endorses Amaro as Manager


The former Philadelphia Phillies GM gets a ringing endorsement from a hall-of-famer. 

One week ago, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reported that recently fired Philadelphia Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. hadn’t given up the idea of being a general manager for a new team, but was also working with his agent to open up the option of him being an actual manager.

"Ruben Amaro Jr. a manager? Bob Lamonte, the premier agent for NFL coaches and executives, has taken on a new baseball assignment — remaking the former Phillies GM. Lamonte, who has remade the careers of NFL coaches such as John Fox, Andy Reid, and Jack Del Rio, and transformed Jon Gruden from NFL coach to ESPN star, is now working with the 50-year-old Amaro and trying to sell him as a GM or manager. Amaro, who spent most of his eight seasons with the Phillies as their GM, would like to manage, and with the Marlins breaking that barrier with Dan Jennings stepping down from the front office to the dugout this season, Amaro, a Stanford graduate, appears serious about the challenge. Amaro, a former utility player for four major league teams, could appeal to a team such as Miami, which may be looking for a connection with Latin players. Lamonte is close to Tony La Russa, Walt Jocketty, and Pat Gillick, who all have endorsed Amaro pursuing a managing job."

This would be an awkward time for Gillick to endorse Amaro because the Phillies just fired him and Gillick is also turning over the organization to Andy MacPhail, who fired Amaro, but Gillick hand-picked to be president.

Jocketty is also in the midst of trying to turn around one of the league’s worst clubs, and recently elected to keep his manager Bryan Price, so it probably wasn’t an appropriate time for him to comment either.

Jocketty’s former manager when he was the general manager in St. Louis, Tony La Russa, did follow up on Cafardo’s report in Cafardo’s Sunday Baseball Notes column.

"Our note last week on former Phillies GM Ruben Amaro remaking himself as a manager got a lot of responses, including one from Tony La Russa. “Ruben is a very smart baseball man,” La Russa said. “There’s no doubt in my mind he could be a very good major league manager. He’s an ex-player who understands the game.”"

It is interesting that La Russa seems this supportive on numerous levels. First of all, La Russa himself is one of the greatest managers in league history. Secondly, he’s the Chief Baseball Officer for the Arizona Diamondbacks currently. The Diamondbacks aren’t in need of a manager currently, but it makes you wonder if they will find a spot for him as a coach somewhere in their organization or even if he could join their front-office.

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La Russa’s support of Amaro is also interesting because it makes you wonder what his vested interest in Amaro is. I understand that they share the same agent, but it feels like there is something more to this connection. Amaro never played for La Russa in Oakland or St. Louis and has never worked in the same organization as him. I’m sure their paths have crossed in terms of doing deals, but it makes you wonder if La Russa knows that Amaro became the fall-guy for an organization that was actually being run more by former president David Montgomery than Amaro.

That’s just speculation obviously, but I think there is a sense from some baseball people that Amaro wasn’t the only problem in the Phillies’ front-office, at the very least.

It would be rather surprising, unless there’s something we don’t know, if Amaro goes from general manager to manager in one off-season. He could take an advisory role or join a major league coaching staff. I’d be surprised if Amaro would humble himself enough to coach anywhere in the minor leagues. Frankly, he should have better offers at the MLB level in some role.

Next: Phillies News: Charlie Manuel Interested in Being Nationals' Manager

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