Phillies Nation

2020 Offseason

Here’s some clarity on the future of the Phillies front office


Former Phillies general manager Matt Klentak “teed himself up for an untenable situation” when he declared it was time to win and the Phillies followed up with missing the 16-team postseason, according to Phillies President of Baseball Operations Andy MacPhail in a Zoom conference with reporters on Friday. The two men met in Maryland following the final week of the season and agreed that the right move was to reassign Klentak.

Andy MacPhail is the Phillies’ president of baseball operations. (Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire)

Ned Rice, Klentak’s first front office hire as GM back in 2016, assumed his position in the interim. MacPhail is still at the helm but for how much longer?

“If John [Middleton] thinks he can land a big fish by moving me aside and getting someone to become the president, I would happily do that,” MacPhail said.

“Let’s say there’s a very successful president of baseball operations somewhere. You can’t get them on a lateral move but you can make him the president… And he can come and essentially act as the president of baseball operations… That would be an avenue to help you land a big fish where I would happily step aside.”

The Phillies have yet to be connected to a “big fish.” Former Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski expressed interest in heading the Phillies front office, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. Theo Epstein could become available when his contract with the Cubs expires next season. Maybe they could attract current Rays GM Erik Neander with a promotion to team president.

For now, the only vacancy in the Phillies front office is at general manager. The process is moving relatively slowly and the pandemic is mostly to blame.

“I think your first goal at this point is to make sure the next regime has the best chance that it can to succeed,” MacPhail said. “So you’ve got to think about that a little bit. The last time we went through this process was five years ago. We went through a relatively accelerated course of action because we had organization meetings at the end of October, GM meetings in the middle of November and winter meetings in December. We wanted to have somebody in place to go through that set of meetings. Those don’t exist this year.”

MacPhail did say that the team has gone through the preliminary stages of the GM search and have identified candidates. The process, however, could drag on until at least 2021.

“If what is easily apparent to us is a good fit that is there right away, we’ll move right away, but I could see this thing going longer,” MacPhail said.

The Phillies are confident that interim GM Ned Rice can succeed in his new role.

“For the time being, most of the decisions this franchise has to make are internal right now,” MacPhail said. “About 90% of them as it relates to what happens with our workforce and current personnel. So I don’t feel like we’re disadvantaged at all with Ned and having all the resources of all the people in the organization making those decisions that have to be made here in the relative short term or midterm.”

Speaking on internal decisions, the Phillies announced shortly before the press conference that they have declined team options for right-handed pitchers David Robertson, David Phelps and Héctor Neris. Of those three, Neris is the only one who remains on the 40-man roster. He’s eligible for salary arbitration, so he’ll most likely be tendered a contract for 2021. Robertson and Phelps are now free agents. They also claimed RHP Johan Quezada off waivers from the Miami Marlins.

For the most part, Rice has the final say on roster moves such as the ones listed above. There’s a different pecking order when it comes to more significant transactions.

“There won’t be a significant move made without it going through me and John [Middleton].

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Scott White

    November 1, 2020 at 1:35 pm

    This Phillies offence is potent and can put up huge numbers. They were fifth in MLB in runs scored despite the following: Hoskins, Realmuto and Bohm missed a nice chunk of the season due to injury or MLB service time considerations. Cutch was slow to start due to last year’s injury and Harper’s productivity declined after his back injury. Plus, Kingery had an absolutely lost season and centerfield was a black hole. Not to mention the team was shut down for a week 3 games into the season which affected everyone’s timing. So, this is even more reason to keep this group together to see what a full and healthy 2021 can bring. Sign Didi to 2 years at 14.8M per year and JD for (5) at 24M per year. QO to JT is in order just in case.

    The Bullpen was obviously the weak link this year. I am a fan of Alvarez and a (2y/2.5Mper) is a good start. Brad Hand is now available, perhaps (2Y/9Mper) can do the trick? Where is Victor Arano? He was off to a great career, if he is healthy, he would be cheap and reliable. Brogdon and Romero were mostly good in this small sample and would not scare me. Hunter is worth another year or so at the right price. I think there will be lots of opportunities this year to get creative and add another piece for 1M (Romo?) The OTHER way to improve the pen is by limiting their exposure. This weakness was exacerbated by the shortened season and “week off” that resulted in (8) doubleheaders. Which means Beefing up the starting rotation with good inning eaters and locking down the ninth with Brad Hand is a top priority.

    Turning to the rotation, Nola and Wheeler are guys that will get you into the 7th. Eflin is turning the corner and will get you into the 6th. We need a fourth starter; Perhaps Odorizzi, Quintana or Ray can be had for a 1- or 2-year deal at 9M per year. There are pluses and minuses with each, but all should be able to pitch into the 6th. The fifth starter is where things can get interesting.

    I propose a platoon arrangement between Howard and Velasquez. Howard has never pitched above 112 innings and VV never exceeded 146. Goal for each would be 4.5 innings with 3/3.1 innings on the realistic side. Both on average did decent through four innings this year but they each ran into trouble at the 65 to 75 pitch range. Double them up, alternate starts and see what we have. That should take pressure off both and provide good length and decent results for just over 4M total. Not bad efficiency for the 5 spot. Also, Howard may need to watch innings again in 2022 and could be paired with Medina the following year. Plus, scheduling quirks often allow for the 5th spot to be skipped and both could be used in the pen that week. On the other hand; when injuries/postponements strike, I would much rather break the tandem and start Howard or VV over Irvin or Suarez.

    To reiterate, a crazy 60 game pandemic season with the “one-week break” exposed the vulnerable underbelly of this club in a way that NO other season would have. Consider that 8.33% of the games started were by Parker/Hale/Medina/Rosso and lasted only 2.333 innings per start. They did not pitch through the third inning. In addition, 36.67% of the games were started by Arrieta/VV/Howard and resulted in only 4.53 innings per start. They did not pitch through the 5th inning. Combined, these (7) pitchers accounted for 45% of the starts and only yielded an average of 4.14 innings per start. They could not get through 5 innings. In other words, on average, the starter left the game with less than one out in the 5th inning (27) of the (60) games played. There is a huge difference between 12-13 outs per start and 17-18. That is not sustainable even with this offence.

    Back to the offence and the black hole at CF. Where can the team find a center fielder with a career .276/.333/.423 slash line and OPS of .756? Perhaps the forgotten man, Odubel Herrera? He committed an awful act but, by all accounts he has redeemed himself and paid the price of 1.5 years separated from his livelihood (albeit paid) while costing him his prime years and opportunity to grow. In 2021, he will be paid and should be played. I would find it most repugnant that he should sit at home collecting a huge paycheck while so many of the non-baseball personnel from the organization have been laid off/furloughed/let go and they have to scrape by on unemployment/severance pay. Make him earn it. Best case scenario is that he catches fire (streaky) next year, helps us with a bunch of wins and is traded at the deadline to the AL for prospects. Win/win/win for all interests at stake.

    Round out the bench with Knapp, Hasely, Quin and local favorite Goselin. One right, one lefty and two switch hitters. Not much pop but tremendous versatility. The depth chart would be at lest four deep at each of the (7) positions.
    Going forward the team should put up lot’s of runs, play a decent defense, start/stay long on SP, limit the pen, shut them down in the 9th and have a versatile group of position players. If my math and projections are right; should cost around 198M with room to spare and it leaves options to get creative. If they can’t scrape together the cash, start a Go Fund Me, I will gladly chip in for a better product!

    • Scott White

      November 1, 2020 at 5:57 pm

      To expand upon the Vinnie Velo and Howard tandem: Combined they started (13) times this season and the stat line is not pretty for fourth and fifth starters on a “contending” team. However, if you stack the two (alternate starts) and combine their numbers WHILE removing all stats beyond the fourth inning it is much more palatable as a platoon fifth starter. Forty-nine and a third innings pitched, 4.56 ERA, 916 pitches thrown and an average innings per COMBINED start of 7.59. That is leaving with nearly (2) outs in the eight and 4.39 runs on the board IF averages were ultimatums. However, that is not reality but leaving somewhere in the 6th-7th inning with around 3-4 runs allowed and this offence (5.1 runs per game) keeps the game in check.
      Looking at it another way, they recorded (148) outs with (916) pitches or 6.19 pitches per out. Given a budget of (4) innings or 70 pitches per outing would theoretically yield 11.39 outs each or 22 total. That is still one out in the eighth. Between 65-70 pitches is where the wheels seem to come off for these guys. Again, settle for 5 plus and be happy but the possibility for more exists at a combined salary of around 4.1M. This compares well with #5 starters on actual contending teams.
      VV may balk at first but this is his last/best chance to prove himself. He would get around 14 starts and 14 “long relief” chances and if he is dominant; the leash can lengthen. If not, his stats should still improve given a structured environment. He can carry that with him into FA or be part of a new pitching paradigm. We all know he is a gamer and a tremendous athlete (Left-handed put out to first after taking a ball to his throwing arm, left field heroics in ’19 and good hitting/fielding/running pitcher.) Now he has the chance to be a mentor of sorts to his tag team partner. As for Howard, it should be a welcome relief since he has such limited pro innings under his belt.
      We all know this will be a very weird year and with the 26-man roster, maybe this is a way to get creative.

  2. delmo

    November 3, 2020 at 3:56 pm

    this organization has backed itself into an inescapable corner with years of incompetency and the pandemic has arrived to finish them off/they never see the big picture e.g. GESTALT/here are the only three options they have To Get Creative: sell franchise, bankruptcy to dissolve, move to Siberia

  3. Scott White

    November 8, 2020 at 8:45 pm

    LOL Delmo, but I think there are real opportunities for this team to finally redirect. We just saw Robbie Ray sign for 1Y/8M. I believe that giving a second year in these uncertain times to mid-tier position players, key relievers and bounce backs will yield big gains this offseason.
    Let’s play a perfect world game. Suppose you sign Didi for 2 years at around 26 million, Mike Minor (SP#4) for two years at 18 million, Liam Hendricks for two years at 26 million, Brad Hand for two years at 16.5 million, Alvarez at two years for 4.95 million, Hunter two years at 2 million and round out the pen with Arano, Romero and Brogdon on league minimums. Need to non-tender/renegotiate with VV for around 3.7 million, arbitration for Knapp around 1.25 million, Rhys around 4.5 million and Eflin around 4.4 million. Then splurge on JT at NO more than 23.75 million over five years. Especially important given that this team seems to have a different pitching coach EVERY year. That would put/keep the AAV payroll around 208 million for 2021.
    Rotation (6) would look like this: Nola, Wheeler, Eflin, Minor, Howard/VV Tandem (52.5M AAV)
    Starting nine (assumes DH) is Realmuto, Hoskins, Segura, Gregorious, Bohm, Cutch, Herrera, Harper, Kingery (DH & Super Utility.) (108M AAV)
    Bullpen would look like this: Hendricks, Hand, Alvarez, Hunter, Alvarez, Arano & Romero (26.4M AAV)
    Four-man bench consisting of: Knapp, Hasely, Goselin, Quinn (3.0M AAV)
    Benefits & 40 Man Total: 18 million
    CBT Total: Around 208 million
    That is a pretty darn good and deep roster. It places this team in a place to succeed/compete for the next two years. This would be one of the best starting rotations in MLB: potent offence, decent defense, elite pen, excellent positional depth and a good bench. After that period, I would hope Kingery, Hasely, Stott, Moniak and others will be able to step up and continue winning while we lose key pieces in 2023 such as Cutch (2022), Didi, Segura & Herrera.
    This Phillies team has to decide if they have the guts, wherewithal and wallet to see it through the next couple of seasons.

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