The Philadelphia Phillies have taken longer than expected to decide on the future of manager Gabe Kapler, which has made some wonder whether front office changes are being mulled.
In an interview with Mike Missanelli on 97.5 The Fanatic Wednesday, The Athletic‘s Jayson Stark said that Dave Dombrowski – who has led front offices in Montreal, Miami, Detroit and Boston – would have interest in coming to the Phillies if owner John Middleton decides to clean house in the front office.
Dombrowski was fired by the Red Sox in September, less than a year after winning the World Series in 2018. He had been Boston’s president of baseball operations since August of 2015 after spending nearly 14 seasons with the Detroit Tigers as president of baseball operations and general manager.
Stark mentioned that Middleton “[…] has been picking the brains of people outside the organization,” trying to gather as much information as he can before making any decisions on the future of the current power structure. However, Stark does not think that Middleton will ultimately decide to blow up the front office and noted that Dombrowski would only come to Philly under the circumstance that Middleton cleaned house, saying that “he’s not coming here to work under Andy MacPhail.”
Both Klentak and MacPhail reportedly received three-year extensions, Klentak’s coming this March and carrying through the end of the 2022 season and MacPhail’s coming during the 2017 season and lasting through 2021. However, the 2019 season was a difficult one for the Phillies after high expectations heading in, which makes you wonder whether Middleton has changed his mind on what he wants out of his lead front office executives.
The Phillies moving on from Klentak and MacPhail would certainly come as a surprise, but Stark mentioned that an option like Dombrowski would make sense to help build Middleton an instant winner. Dombrowski helped to build a Tigers team that made two World Series appearances and won four straight American League Central titles from 2011-14, and a Red Sox team that won three straight American League East titles from 2016-18, including the 2018 World Series.
The trade-off is that Dombrowski left the Tigers saddled with undesirable contracts. Miguel Cabrera, 36, posted a -0.3 fWAR in 2019 and is owed $124 million over the next four years. That was among the poor deals Dombrowski signed players to in Detroit. The Red Sox, meanwhile, might like a mulligan on the five-year/$145 million deal that they signed LHP Chris Sale to in March. They also face an uncertain future with former American League MVP Mookie Betts, who can become a free-agent after 2020.
But the Phillies have not made the playoffs since 2011, and Middleton, who has repeatedly expressed his desire for his team to win, could make a move like this to bring in the established Dombrowski in hopes of winning now.
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