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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