It was only a matter of time before the Phillies pulled the plug on the Ruben Amaro era. Andy MacPhail and Phillies ownership, led by John Middleton, relieved the beleaguered general manager of his duties Thursday afternoon.

“You knew that Amaro was going to go,” a NL scout said. “He had to go. That was a no-brainer when you consider the overall picture. It was only a matter of when he would go.”

Amaro’s sins are considerable. Trading so many prospects to Houston  for Hunter Pence. Receiving so little for Pence when he was dealt to San Francisco. Trading Cliff Lee to Seattle for three prospects, who failed to make any impact for the Phillies. There was Jonathan Papelbon’s ridiculous contract and Ryan Howard’s unfortunate deal, which continues to plague the Phillies.

“You can’t make that many mistakes without paying a price,” a NL scout said.

After receiving a number of promising prospects in the Cole Hamels, Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley deals, there was some buzz that Amaro might have a stay of execution.

But was merely sports talk radio fodder. Why bring in Andy MacPhail as the new sheriff in town if you’re merely going to stay status quo?

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Middleton is embracing overdue change in an organization that has stayed a certain course for too long. “It’s hard sometimes to convince people when they’re highly successful, as the Phillies have been been, that maybe the world is changing and maybe you need to look at it a little differently,” Middleton said.

Make no mistake about it, Middleton, who seems to have some Ed Snider in him, wants to win. The Phillies are in the middle of a much needed transition. Young players are making an impact, such as Maikel Franco. 

“I’m very excited about being part of this,” Franco said. “We’ve got some good young players here and good young players who will come up. We’re going to be there (contending) pretty soon.”

The Phillies will need a capable, innovative new general manager to enable the franchise to become a viable player again.

“But they can get there sooner than later,” a NL scout said. “They have some nice prospects and they have the resources.”

After this season, the start of the $2.5 billion deal with Comcast kicks in. There is a future for Phillies baseball. 

There is a future for Amaro as well. According to a source, the Angels would like to speak with the Stanford alum. So the Phillies and Amaro will move on but in separate directions.