Philadelphia's former top boss is apparently on the team's list of candidates to replace ousted skipper Pete Mackanin.
Thanks to their surprise firing of Pete Mackanin at the end of September, the Phillies are one of a handful of clubs currently in the hunt for a new manager. Over the weekend, the Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo gave a quick update on the team's search, and among the people reportedly being bandied about by the front office, there was one familiar yet unexpected name in the pool: Ruben Amaro Jr.—yes, that Ruben Amaro Jr., the man who ran the entire organization just a few years ago.
Other candidates believed to be in consideration for the Phillies include Dusty Wathan, manager of the franchise's Triple A Lehigh Valley team; Larry Bowa, Philadelphia's bench coach and the conscience of the organization; Red Sox first base coach Ruben Amaro Jr., the former Phillies GM who acquired some of the team's top young players; Eric Wedge, who was MacPhail's choice for the Orioles job ahead of Showalter; and Charlie Montoyo, who was recently promoted by the Rays to bench coach.
Cafardo notes that Orioles skipper Buck Showalter is the Phillies' dream hire, but that Baltimore is unlikely to let him leave, as he still has a year left on his contract. But while there's no sign of just how realistic a candidate Amaro Jr. is for the manager job, it's kind of amazing that he's come up at all. This is the man who built the Phillies into a World Series champion, then let them go to seed over a frustrating half-decade of poor planning and even worse execution. Amaro was also several steps behind the rest of the league when it came to analytics—"We're not a statistics-driven organization by any means," said Charley Kerfeld, a special assistant to the GM, to MLB.com all the way back in 2010—though he later tried to play that off as some kind of bizarre, Sam Hinkie-esque ruse. That Amaro ended up as a first base coach after getting fired in 2015 should say plenty about how other teams looked at him following the Phillies' sad collapse.
It's also hard to imagine that a man with zero managerial experience is going to be at the top of the Phillies' wish list. Wathan, Bowa, Wedge and Montoyo have each spent several years running teams, either in the majors or the minors; Amaro's only time on the field has been these last two seasons with Boston. But he is a former player, so he at least knows that side of things, and he's clearly had his eye on doing more, telling USA Today in 2016 that getting a managerial gig would be "extraordinary" (which is true in all senses of the word), so maybe that's enough to make him at least a viable option.
At the moment, Amaro's currently occupied with his current job, as the Red Sox are trying to come back from a 2–1 series deficit against the Astros in the AL Division Series, so we'll have to wait and see as to whether or not the Phillies are serious about giving their old boss a new job. At the very least, if he is given a shot, the interview with general manager Matt Klentak—aka the guy who replaced him—should be suitably awkward.