The Detroit Tigers are currently going through an extensive search for their next manager, with a list of 50-plus names to vet. This might be one too many, though. The Tigers have included former Philadelphia Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro on their list, according to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman.
Amaro sure seems like a name out of left field, but it makes a little sense. The son of a baseball lifer, he grew up in major league clubhouses. He played in the major leagues for eight years, and spent four seasons in the minors to get there. He even has a little coaching experience, as the first base coach of the Boston Red Sox for the past two seasons. He knows about life in a big league clubhouse. Heyman notes that Amaro has drawn praise for his work in Boston as well.
But, no. I want no part of Amaro as the Tigers’ next manager.
For one, he has no managerial experience. While the same can be said for several other candidates on Detroit’s list — including blogger favorite Alex Cora — Amaro has only been a coach for a couple years compared to nearly 15 years in a front office role. He didn’t serve in the same type of role as Cora (Houston’s bench coach), so it could be difficult to assess Amaro’s influence on Boston’s in-game decisions.
And then there’s his career in Philadelphia. Amaro served in the Phillies front office under general manager Ed Wade and Pat Gillick for a decade after his playing career was over. Amaro took over as the team’s president and GM after they won the 2008 World Series. He was the architect of Ryan Howard’s disastrous five-year, $125 million contract extension, and made a host of other ill-fated roster moves.
Phillies fans — the ones we care about, anyway — have mixed feelings about Amaro’s tenure in Philadelphia, but he did not draft well in his early years as GM. Though this seemingly improved over time (and Amaro did jumpstart the rebuild before he was fired), it still draws his eye for talent into question, a red flag for anyone taking over as a team’s manager during a rebuild.
It’s possible I’m wrong. Amaro will likely get a manager gig at some point, and may become a great skipper in time. But his lack of coaching experience and checkered past are reasons enough for the Tigers to look elsewhere for their new manager.