The man charged with keeping the Phillies among baseball's elite obviously loves his job.
That, but not much else, came through last week at the general manager meetings in the shadow of Disney World. Ruben Amaro Jr. said he was fond of the GM meetings because it was a chance to informally toss around ideas with his peers without the influence of his assistants and the Phillies' other decision-makers. He deeply respects the other opinions, but he enjoys the unfiltered conversations with his fellow GMs.
Ultimately, of course, it will be Amaro's final decisions that shape the 2011 Phillies and determine his own worth in perhaps the most vital role of any baseball organization.
Former Phillies GM Pat Gillick performed the job so well for 27 years with four different teams that he won three World Series and is awaiting a vote to see if he is going to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Amaro's body of work is too small to make any sweeping judgments, but we can look at his scorecard as he prepares to embark on another off-season of trades and free-agent signings.
While it's true Amaro adopted a World Series champion from Gillick and has had the highest payrolls in franchise history in his first two years, the good moves have outweighed the bad so far for the Phillies' 45-year-old GM.
If we perform this exercise a year from now, it's quite possible that letting Jayson Werth walk away as a free agent will fit into one of the two following categories.
AMARO'S FIVE BEST MOVES
1 Acquiring pitcher Roy Halladay from Toronto for pitcher Kyle Drabek, outfielder Michael Taylor, and catcher Travis d'Arnaud.
Even though Drabek has a chance to be a top-of-the-rotation starter, Halladay is arguably the best pitcher in baseball and will be the Phillies' ace for at least the next three seasons.
2 Acquiring pitcher Cliff Lee and outfielder Ben Francisco from Cleveland for four minor-leaguers - pitchers Carlos Carrasco and Jason Knapp, infielder Jason Donald, and catcher Lou Marson.
Lee's stay was brief and successful. Francisco's role in the outfield could substantially increase next season. Carrasco had a solid September for the Indians, going 2-2 with a 3.83 ERA in September starts, but right now it does not appear as if any of the other three players in the Lee deal will come back to bite Amaro.
3 Acquiring pitcher Roy Oswalt and $11 million from Houston for pitcher J.A. Happ, outfielder Anthony Gose, and shortstop Jonathan Villar.
The fact that Amaro also got the Astros to fork over $11 million in this trade may make it even better than the two above it, but Happ is a talented lefthander who could have a long, successful career, and Gose was probably one of the three best prospects in the Phillies' organization last year.
4 Signing free-agent third baseman Placido Polanco.
Despite battling an elbow injury caused by bone chips almost the entire season, Polanco was a major upgrade at third base over Pedro Feliz. Polanco, in fact, was the Phillies' best third baseman since Scott Rolen was traded in 2002.
5 Signing free-agent pitcher Pedro Martinez in the middle of the 2009 season.
The Phillies may have won the N.L. East and the N.L. pennant without Martinez, but it's hard to argue against a move when the veteran acquisition goes 5-1 and the team posts an 8-1 record in his nine starts.
AMARO'S FIVE WORST MOVES
1 Trading Lee to Seattle for pitchers Phillippe Aumont and J.C. Ramirez and outfielder Tyson Gillies.
We'll never know whether the Phillies would have won the World Series if they had kept Lee, but financially the trades for Oswalt and Halladay made better economic sense for the team. What made this deal an absolute disaster were the abysmal performances of Aumont and Gillies.
2 Giving pitcher Joe Blanton a three-year, $24 million contract extension last off-season.
Blanton was a valuable contributor to the Phillies' 2008 World Series title and they may not have won without him, but there was no good reason to give the veteran righthander a three-year extension at $8 million per year.
3 Signing free agent pitcher Danys Baez to a two-year $5.25 million deal.
Maybe Baez can get his name removed from the list by rebounding with a strong season in 2011, but he wasn't even good enough to make the postseason roster in 2010.
4 Letting first-base coach Davey Lopes leave over a contract dispute.
It's impossible to argue the Phillies' baserunning success with Lopes as the man in charge of that department. Nobody except Lopes and the Phillies know exactly how much money was involved in their dispute, but it has to be less than they're going to pay Baez in 2011.
5 Signing Raul Ibanez to a three-year deal worth $31.5 million.
A year ago this move would have qualified for the good side of the ledger, and it really was not a horrible decision. But the fact that the Phillies owe Ibanez $11.5 million for next season makes the 38-year-old outfielder very difficult to trade.