UPDATE: Phillies, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. agree to four-year contract extension


UPDATE: According to Todd Zolecki of MLB.com, the Phillies and general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. have agreed to a four-year contract extension. He’ll remain in the fold through 2015.

7:12 PM, Friday: A team source tells Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer that a contract extension for general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. is “done.”

10:15 AM, Friday: Earlier this week manager Charlie Manuel and the Phillies agreed to a two-year contract extension and now Paul Hagen of the Philadelphia Daily News reports that the team is “virtually done” and “lacking just the finishing touches” on an extension with general manager Ruben Amaro Jr.

After playing eight seasons in the majors as a light-hitting outfielder Amaro spent 10 years as the Phillies’ assistant GM, working as the right-hand man for both Ed Wade and Pat Gillick. He took over for the retiring Gillick as GM just days after the team won the World Series in 2008 and has pulled the trigger on some incredibly bold moves in two-and-a-half years on the job.

Under his watch the Phillies have built a potentially historic rotation around holdovers Cole Hamels and Joe Blanton, as Amaro twice acquired Cliff Lee and also traded for Roy Halladay and Roy Oswalt. He’s also made some questionable moves, like signing Ryan Howard to a $125 million extension long before it was necessary, but Amaro has built the Phillies into a powerhouse capable of extending their streak of four straight playoff appearances for years to come.

Kris Bryant wants to be Cubs’ player rep, vows to “fight” for next collective bargaining agreement

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Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant was one of the most prominent examples of service time manipulation in recent memory. He was ranked as the No. 1 prospect in baseball going into the 2015 season by Baseball America. He then had an incredible spring, batting .425 with a spring-high nine home runs and 15 RBI. The Cubs, however, didn’t add him to the Opening Day roster, instead keeping him in Triple-A for the first two weeks of the season, ensuring the club would get another year of control over Bryant because he wouldn’t accrue enough service time. He made his debut on April 17 and the rest was history. Bryant won the 2015 NL Rookie of the Year Award.

While the MLB Players Association filed a grievance on his behalf, Bryant didn’t say anything. But it was a learning moment for him. The same is true of the past offseason, which Bryant says “opened my eyes,” as Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reports. He now considers labor issues a priority, saying, “I need to study up, have my voice heard, continue to learn, because this is going to affect us for years to come. And I’d be foolish not to kind of offer myself out there.”

As Wittenmyer notes, Bryant hopes to replace Jake Arrieta as the Cubs’ player reprensentative. The players make that decision later this month. Bryant also vowed to fight for the next collective bargaining agreement. He said, “Maybe the focus was on other things rather than some of the more important things. But I think with this next one things are definitely going to change, and there’ll definitely be more fight on our side just because we’re going to get the chance to experience the effects of some of the things we agreed to. The only way to get what you want here is to fight for it. And I think you’re going to see a lot of that.”

It’s good to see Bryant motivated by recent economic developments in baseball. Hopefully more players take his lead and become more informed, arming themselves with all of the tools they need to create a better situation for themselves when the current CBA expires.