This post is the latest entry from new Phillies Nation contributor Eric Floyd.
What does new Phillies general manager Matt Klentak need to do this year to assure that his first season on the job is as much of a success as possible? Well, the baseline for accomplishment in Philadelphia this season is quite simply being somebody other than the man that previously held the job, Ruben Amaro Jr., so he’s already off on the right foot. However, there are a couple other items on the agenda that I would like to see the 36-year-old boss tackle to show that he’s serious about improving baseball in this city.
Get the youngsters some big league playing time-
The Phils are going to lose some games this year. Potentially a lot of games. So while it might make sense to keep developing some of the prospects in the minors, some big league experience could also be beneficial. While the likes of Franklyn Kilome and Rhys Hoskins may not be quite ready for a jump to the bigs, some other guys might be. Think J.P. Crawford, Jake Thompson or Nick Williams. Maybe even Mark Appel, if he can figure out how pitching works. While there may not be that great of a difference for such a group to compete against the Antonio Bastardo’s of the world instead of the Jhoulys Chacin’s, what about the impact of potentially competing against Matt Harvey or Bryce Harper in front of a 35,000 to 45,000 or more people? Give some thought to allowing your prospects that are closest to the majors to experience the game at the highest level.
Keep one manager for the whole season-
Based on early indications, this one should already be in the bag. Pete Mackanin has already signed a new contract with the team. That’s important as the team moves through this rebuilding process. The young players need consistency and a single voice to guide them, as well as a guy who is okay taking a couple L’s for the betterment of the club.
Call up Jake Fox to demolish the Citizens Bank Park cheesesteak eating record-
Look. This is our city. We have our own legends. Rocky Balboa. Benjamin Franklin. Michael Jack Schmidt. Reggie White. Dr. J. Erik “Turkey Bacon” Kratz. The cheesesteak. All are legends in their own right and each holds a special connection to the city. Cheesesteaks have become a crucial part of any team’s road trip through Philly, including opposing players embarking to eat as many delicious sandwiches, widely available at the ballpark and surrounding locations, as possible during their stay. The record was set by Brewers bullpen catcher Marcus Hanel last season when he ate 23 cheesesteaks in a four-game set.
Mr. Klentak, sir, we need to own our local records. Fox is a tank and appears as though he has contended in competitive eating in some capacity. This could even be just as an injury fill-in or a September call-up. Get the veteran masher a cup of coffee with a side of 24 cheesesteaks.
Make it happen. Please and thank you.
Not too hard of a task. Just keep fattening up those minor leaguers. We’re going to need some new champion hogs in the big league clubhouse. Either real, fat pigs or some superstar prospects, it can really be whichever comes first. Just do something, anything to keep the farm production moving. We cannot let Yoenis Cespedes hog all the fun in this division.
Extend Maikel Franco‘s contract-
Simple and self-explanatory. This man should be in red pinstripes for the foreseeable future. He has big time power and will be an All-Star this season, barring injury. Get it done.
Draft Jersey shore high school pitcher Jason Groome in June-
For just the second time in franchise history, the Phillies will draft first overall. Take the best player. Select the young man with so much talent we’re all considering actually driving upwind of Manahawkin in order to go see him pitch this spring.
The items listed here aren’t too much to ask for. No, no. Currently, Mr. Klentak is sitting on a solid A- and the season hasn’t even begun. All I’m looking for is for the team’s newest GM to remain proactive and push for the A+ that evades so many. Maybe he can cruise in his senior year, but for now, he has to cut that freshman 15 that some guy named Ruben left for him. Or is that the freshman 250 (Ryan Howard)? Wait…add one more item to this list.
Phillies Nation’s Jay Floyd contributed to this piece