Ruben Amaro Jr. On Possibly Trading Ryan Howard For Albert Pujols “We have a great first basemen. We’re very happy with him.”February 21, 2011 – 8:00 am by Steven Cuce
Philadelphia Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. threw the biggest curveball of all this offseason with his coup of free agent pitcher Cliff Lee. Amaro Jr. hasn’t done too bad for himself since he fully took over the GM role in 2008. He acquired Roy Halladay in a trade from the Blue Jays during the 2009 offseason. In the 2010 July trade deadline, Amaro Jr. was able to acquire star pitcher Roy Oswalt from the Houston Astros, not to mention the Phillies already had 2008 World Series MVP Cole Hamels on their staff. The Phillies now have four aces on their staff that could become the new “Murderers Row” of pitching.
It’s no coincidence that Philadelphia is the overwhelming favorites to win the World Series going into the year as Charlie Manuel and his club will have to deal with all the pressures that come with that media attention. It truly is World Series trophy or bust for the Phillies. Another topic that has come about in sports talk radio this week is a possible destination for where Albert Pujols could land if the Cardinals do not find a way to re-sign the nine-time All-Star and three-time National League MVP. Ruben Amaro Jr. knows a thing or two about re-signing star first basemen as a preventive measure before the open market dictates their price. In April of last season Amaro Jr. was widely criticized for giving Ryan Howard a five-year contract, $125 million dollar extension that kept the first basemen in Philadelphia until 2017. The move may have seemed foolish at the time, but I’ll tell you what it looks pretty smart right now given the speculation of the whole Albert Pujols situation because the market is going to dictate a contract for him that the Cardinals may not be able to afford at a possible ten-year, $300 million dollar deal.
Ruben Amaro Jr. made a surprise call to 97.5 the Fanatic with Mike Missanelli to discuss how the Phillies will handle being the overwhelming favorites to win the World Series, what went into the decision of the starting four pitchers to include Joe Blanton when doing media interviews, what is the status of moving Joe Blanton before the season starts, his opinion on the Albert Pujols situation and if the Cardinals called him today and said we’ll trade you Albert Pujols for Ryan Howard knowing you would have to give him a ten-year contract would you do it.
How will the Phillies handle being the overwhelming favorites to win the World Series throughout the season?
“Pretty much how they handle things normally. I don’t think these guys get too panicky. You don’t…they just try to play and they have in a way taken on the personality of Charlie [Manuel] and you know played one day at a time. I know that their goal is to be in the playoffs and hopefully win the World Series, but I don’t think they let that cart get out too far in front of the horse.”
What went went into the decision of the starting four aces (Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, Roy Oswalt, Cliff Lee) to include Joe Blanton when doing media interviews? Is that a good thing?
“As far as doing five instead of four? That was purely from the players standpoint. They would refuse to do any of this unless Joe was involved, so that was really the players. I think it’s the right thing. Absolutely, he’s certainly a part of the rotation and it shows a lot of camaraderie amongst the group. I think it means a lot. I know they have a great deal of respect for each other and how they go about their business, so I think it was the right thing for them to do.”
What is the status right now as far as your attempts on moving Joe Blanton before the season starts?
“I don’t see any reason why he wouldn’t be. Right now he’s slotted I guess to pitch in the fifth spot according to Charlie and we’re going to go from there.”
Your opinion on the Albert Pujols situation?
“You know it’s a tough position for both sides to really be in. I mean obviously Albert is as good of a player as there is in baseball. I can’t speak for the Cardinals financial situation, but it’s a tough spot. I mean anytime you got a marque…maybe one of the best players in the game and obviously they want to keep him. It just puts everyone in a difficult position and I’m glad we don’t have to deal with it ourselves.”
Let me ask you this question:If the Cardinals called you today and said we’ll trade you Albert Pujols for Ryan Howard knowing you would have to give him a ten-year contract would you?
“That’s a very silly question. It one of the most silly [questions]. You know it’s one question one wouldn’t answer. That’s the silliness. We have a great first basemen. We’re very happy with him.”