July 07, 2015
If Ruben Amaro, Jr. is indeed on his way out as Phillies general manager, he'll go down swinging. In the offseason, he told Ryan Howard that the team would be better off without him. Now in the middle of an extremely difficult year that has the Phils zooming toward the top overall pick in next year's draft, he had some harsh words for the team's other aging cornerstone on the right side of the infield. From the Daily News' Ryan Lawrence:
"Not for me he's not," Amaro said [when asked if Chase Utley would get his job back upon his return]. "Cesar Hernandez is our best second baseman."
Has this been communicated to Utley, the 36-year-old franchise icon, who will be a free agent if he does not get 251 more plate appearances in the final 2 1/2 months of the season.
"I don't know that it has to be," Amaro said. "As far as I'm concerned, what our plan has been for a long time has been to give opportunities to young men who could be part of our future. And Cesar Hernandez has been one of our best players on the field right now, in a lot of ways."
There is a key difference from the Howard situation, which is Amaro's point: The Phillies have a younger, better option at Utley's position. Hernandez has been a pleasant surprise, batting .302/.385/.385 on the season. Utley on the other hand... well, let's not type his numbers. Needless to say, they're not nearly as good as those of a player who is more than a decade younger than him. If they are in fact focused on the future, the Phillies should be playing Hernandez.
Utley has been on the disabled list for two weeks. If you want to criticize the method by which Amaro relayed the message, that might be fair. As someone who relies on information, I certainly appreciate his blunt honesty.
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