Ruben Amaro dismisses fans who “bitch and complain” about the Phillies’ moves

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Over at CSNPhilly.com Jim Salisbury talks to Phillies GM Ruben Amaro about the Phillies’ potential trades this summer and about the development of some of the team’s prospects.

When asked about the timetable for pitching prospects Aaron Nola and Zach Eflin to make it to the bigs, Amaro said the plan was to be conservative. When it was pointed out that fans of losing teams tend not to like it when told that they need to be patient, Amaro had this to say:

“They don’t understand the game. They don’t understand the process. There’s a process. And then they bitch and complain because we don’t have a plan. There’s a plan in place and we’re sticking with the plan. We can’t do what’s best for the fan. We have to do what’s best for the organization so the fan can reap the benefit of it later on. That’s the truth.”

Want to talk truth? Here are two truths:

1. Ruben Amaro is not wrong about how fans behave. And he’s not wrong about how most fans don’t really have an understanding of what front offices do and why. And he’s not wrong to be conservative with pitching prospects given where the Phillies are now (i.e. not close to winning).

2. Ruben Amaro has done nothing in the past several years which entitles him to offer these kinds of truths in as undiplomatic and as snotty a fashion as he does here.

Results matter more than decorum. And when you win, you get to say all kinds of off-the-cuff things like this and you get lauded for your “candor” or “brashness.” But when your results suck, reporters, talk radio and the like are gonna jump all over you. Is it fair? Eh, probably not. But it’s a fact. And managers and executives have lost their jobs for these kinds of outbursts or for talking down to a frustrated fan base in the past. Again, maybe not fair, but organizations pay attention to this kind of thing.

Amaro was — or at least should be — on thin ice to begin with. Why he decided to talk down to fans like this, then, is something of a mystery.

Shohei Ohtani agrees to $30 million deal for 2023 with Angels

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Shohei Ohtani agreed to a $30 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels for the 2023 season in the two-way superstar’s final year of arbitration eligibility before free agency.

The Angels announced the deal, avoiding a potentially complicated arbitration case with the 2021 AL MVP.

Ohtani’s deal is fully guaranteed, with no other provisions. The contract is the largest ever given to an arbitration-eligible player, surpassing the $27 million given to Mookie Betts by the Boston Red Sox in January 2020, a month before he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Ohtani is having another incredible season at the plate and on the mound for the Angels, regularly accomplishing feats that haven’t occurred in the major leagues since Babe Ruth’s heyday. He is a strong contender for the AL MVP award again alongside the Yankees’ Aaron Judge, who has tied the AL home run record and is closing in on the batting Triple Crown.

Ohtani is batting .276 with 34 homers, 94 RBIs and a .888 OPS as the Halos’ designated hitter. He is 15-8 with a 2.35 ERA and 213 strikeouts as their ace on the mound, and opponents are batting only .207 against him.

The 28-year-old Ohtani still will be a free agent after the 2023 season, and his future could be tied to the immediate fortunes of the Angels, who will complete their seventh consecutive losing season next week. The Angels didn’t trade Ohtani at the deadline despite being out of the playoff race again, and Ohtani is wildly popular among the club’s fans.

Ohtani repeatedly has said winning will be an important factor in choosing his home beyond 2023, and Angels owner Arte Moreno is currently exploring a sale of the team.

Moreno’s leadership has been widely criticized during the Angels’ mostly miserable run of play since 2009, and a fresh start with deep-pocketed new owners could be the best chance to persuade Ohtani to stay with the franchise he joined in 2018 from Japan. Ohtani immediately won the AL Rookie of the Year award, and he rounded into unique form last season after recovering fully from Tommy John surgery.