Phillies tab Amaro to replace Gillick

PHILADELPHIA (TICKER) —The world champion Philadelphia Phillies have made their first significant move of the offseason.

Ruben Amaro, Jr. was officially introduced as the team’s general manager on Monday, replacing Pat Gillick, who announced his retirement after the Phillies defeated the Tampa Bay Rays in five games in the World Series.

The 43-year-old Amaro, who has been a member of Philadelphia’s front office for the past 10 years, signed a three-year contract. He briefly played for the Phillies as an outfielder in the mid-1990s.

“It’s a very special day for me because we were able to promote from within the organization,” Gillick said. “I think we’re headed in the right direction. I can’t wait to see what happens in 2009.”

The Phillies also announced Monday that Gillick, 71, will remain with the team in an advisory capacity.

“I am very happy that Pat has opted to stay on board with us,” Amaro said. “His knowledge of the game is invaluable and his innumerable resources will be a tremendous asset to any team’s baseball operations department.”

Amaro was hired by former Phillies general manager Ed Wade. Since 2005, he worked with Gillick, helping the Phillies win back-to-back National League East Division titles in 2007 and 2008.

“I am honored that (Phillies president) David (Montgomery) has given me this opportunity,” he said. “I will work hard to continue to build on the world class foundation provided by our previous GMs.”

According to a report in the Philadelphia Daily News, Amaro won a two-man race against Phillies scouting and player development chief Mike Arbuckle, who will leave the organization to pursue other opportunities.

Arbuckle led the drafts that yielded stars Cole Hamels, Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Pat Burrell.

Amaro, however, has been the face of the franchise recently, negotiating contracts with players and serving as the front office’s point person with the media.

“Ruben has been an integral part of this organization since joining the front office in 1998,” Montgomery said. “We look forward to him continuing the momentum created with our 2008 championship season.”

Ironically, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel was traded for Amaro when he was managing the Cleveland Indians.

“What an honor to have had an opportunity to work with Ed Wade and Pat Gillick,” Amaro said. “I’m ready to continue the solid leadership and continue the work already done.”

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Updated Monday, Nov 3, 2008