The offseason going into the 2019 season seemed like one of the most important in recent past for the Philadelphia Phillies. They landed Bryce Harper and traded for J.T. Realmuto, but injuries and inconsistency led to a disappointing 81-81 finish to a highly-anticipated season. Now, the Phils enter the offseason with what seems like more questions from a year ago. Gabe Kapler’s job is still up in the air and a decision on his future isn’t expected until next week, according to Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia. There has been some speculation as to whether the lack of immediate action from owner John Middleton indicates that Matt Klentak and Andy MacPhail might also be on the chopping block. That doesn’t seem to be the case for at least one of the two.
Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Matt Klentak’s position as general manager was never in question. The Phillies reportedly gave Klentak a three-year contract extension back in March. Although he is signed through the 2022 season, you would have to imagine that he will be under close look this offseason and during the 2020 season. Meanwhile, MacPhail’s contract runs through the 2021 season.
Klentak has made a lot of the more obvious moves, but the lack of attention to the pitching staff during the 2019 season was baffling. After leading the NL East through May, things began to fall apart though. Injuries plagued the bullpen and young starting pitchers regressed. Instead of looking to sign a guy like Dallas Keuchel, the Phils opted to fill their rotation with past-their-prime veterans in Jason Vargas and Drew Smyly. The bullpen, armed with Seranthony Dominguez, Tommy Hunter, Pat Neshek and David Robertson to start the season, ended up with guys like Blake Parker, Jared Hughes and Mike Morin. Jake Arrieta’s three-year deal continues to look worse by the day. Instead of making smart moves to try and help the team make a run, the lack of moves hurt the team and cemented a fourth place finish in the National League East.
In addition to the shortcomings listed above, Klentak and the Phillies front office has failed to create any sort of minor league depth within the organization. Aside from Spencer Howard and Alec Bohm, the Phillies farm system doesn’t have any true prime prospects. The organization will be looking for another scouting director this offseason, which will be an integral decision with regard to the future of the Phillies and how they approach drafts and international signings.
While Klentak will be back for the 2020 season, the team has already begun to reshape parts of their coaching staff. Chris Young will not return as the Phillies pitching coach, but could remain with the organization in a different role. The Phils have also retained members of Gabe Kapler’s staff for 2020, despite the skipper’s questionable future in Philadelphia.
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