Ever since he was promoted to GM following Pat Gillick's retirement from the Phillies after the 2008 World Series, I've often been highly critical of Ruben Amaro Jr. Even though he was under Ed Wade's wing (who I believe may have been a SABR member - or at least know of such) and Gillick, his personality and aggressiveness on obtaining players has shown more of a caveman mentality than that of a savvy GM.
Going back to November of 2011, after the Phillies won 102 games on the backs of their rotation, Ruben stated emphatically that the offense needs to take a better approach at the plate moving forwards. He didn't like the hacking and swinging and wanted a more patient approach. I saw nothing wrong with this idea at all, but it's hard to teach an old dog new tricks. Most of the hitters on the team were veterans and are set in their ways. So, it'd pretty much take newer and younger players to achieve this concept.
Fast-forward to 2013. Ruben made two offseason FA signings to "upgrade" the offense in Michael & Delmon Young. Considering his rants and finger-pointing about being more patient and getting good pitches to hit, these two signings have to be at least questionable.
When, during a press conference, a reporter asked Ruben if he was concerned with Delmon's lack of walks last season, Amaro simply stated:
"I donít care about walks, I care about production."
If I recall, scoring runs wins games. Getting on base - no matter how - is better than making an out. Walking gets you on base and therefor can be productive. I go into some of these issues here in the Phillies Forum.
But how do walks match up with grounding into double plays? Which is better? Apparently, to Ruben, they're basically the same. Between both Youngs, they proceeded to have 39 non-intentional walks last year while hitting into 36 DPs. Tell me... is that production?
The Phillies are one of the very few teams left that only use scouts when analyzing players. They use no advanced calculations although there are plenty available. And while having scouts is still important, their current issues with the offense, as well as a somewhat dearth in minor league bats that project well is a sad testament to what can happen when you're not willing to use tools that are avaliable.
Considering this team won 100+ only two years ago, and could be looked at to near 90 wins this year if all goes right, I believe this could be Amaro's last year as GM should the Phillies miss the postseason again. And he only has himself to blame.
I guess the reason I posted in this thread is to ask... Are there any other GMs in baseball with the same archaic approach as Amaro? And if so, have they been successful? Also, of those that only use advanced metrics - are they in the same boat for different reasons?
What i'm seeking is whether or not one side heavy is better or worse than the other. Going only with spreadsheets or only with eyeballs. Is an even mix the best way to go, and what teams could be using that? First glance to me might be somebody like the Cardinals as they seem to sustain at both the ML level as well as their system without simply throwing money at the highest-priced free agents.