With Spring Training just around the corner and one of the odder off-seasons behind us (perhaps Ryan Madson will be signed just as a cherry on top) it’s time to ask the question: why does Ruben Amaro Jr. still have a job with the Phillies? Most of us believed that he would be the next to go after Charlie was fired; however, we weren’t so lucky. Instead we had to endure an offseason where he ignored the club’s young up-and-coming talent (Daren Ruf, Ben Revere) and went on a shopping spree at the MLB outlet store where he stocked up on last year’s fashions at reasonable prices (Marlin Byrd, Bobby Abreu, Wil Nieves, etc.).
I won’t judge Amaro too harshly on this year’s moves just yet. Instead, I want to look back at the Hunter Pence trades. Not just one of the Hunter Pence trades, but both of them. To me this seems like a pretty reasonable thing to do as Amaro traded for him and then traded him just a short time later. So let’s look at Amaro’s wheeling and dealing.
Amaro Traded Jonathan Singleton, Jarred Cosart, Josh Zeid and Domingo Santana (the player to be named later) to acquire Hunter Pence. At the time, according to minorleagueball.com, Jonathan Singleton was the #2 rated prospect in the Phillies’ system Jarred Cosart was the #4 rated prospect in the Phillies’ system, Josh Zeid was the #13 rated prospect in the Phillies’ system and Domingo Santana was the #8 rated prospect in the Phillies’ system. Three year later Jonathan Singleton is ranked as the #2 rated prospect in the Astros’ system and the #19 rated prospect in all of baseball. He is rated as the top first base prospect in the game and is expected to emerge from Spring Training as the Astros’ starting first baseman. Jarred Cosart is currently with the Astros and is listed as their #3 starter. He got the call up last season and pitched 60 innings and finished with a 1.95 ERA. Josh Zeid is also with the Astros. As a middle reliever he pitched in 25 games, had a 3.90 ERA and struck out 24 while walking 12. Domingo Santana, the player to be named later, is still in AA where he batted .252 last year.
Amaro acquired Nate Schierholtz, Tommy Joseph and Seth Rosin in exchange for Hunter Pence. Nate Schierholtz was a major leaguer who went straight to Philly. He saw action in 37 games, hit .273 with 1 homerun and 5 RBIs. He was released after the season and was signed by the Cubs, where he had fine season batting .251 with 21 homeruns and 68 RBIs. Tommy Joseph was the centerpiece of the trade. According to Baseball America he was the Giants’ #2 rated prospect and a can’t miss catching prospect; however, last year he suffered a severe concussion and spent a significant amount of time on the DL. Overall, he batted a combined .179 with 3 homeruns and 16 RBIs in 36 games with four teams in the Phillies’ minor league system, finishing the season in Reading. MLB Prospect Watch currently has him ranked as the #5 rated prospect in the Phillies’ system. Seth Rosin went 9 – 6 last year with a 4.33 ERA while striking out 96 and walking 35 with Reading. He is not currently listed as a top 20 prospect in the Phillies system by MLB Prospect Watch
At the end of the day Amaro packaged a power hitting, top rated first baseman, a number three starting pitcher, a marginal major league middle reliever and an AA organization depth kind of guy a for an AA catching prospect with potential but health issues, a major league center fielder who was promptly cut after two months of service and an AA starting pitcher who is classified more along the lines of organizational depth than prospect. Every homerun Jonathan Singleton hits is going to remind us of how terrible a sequence these trades were.
Nicely done Ruben, nicely done. I’m starting to see why you were afraid to make any moves, even the most clear cut move (Michael Young), at last year’s deadline.