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2020 Offseason

Andy MacPhail has reportedly made his recommendation on who should lead Phillies’ front office

For whatever it’s worth, current Philadelphia Phillies president Andy MacPhail has reportedly made his recommendation on who should ultimately take over control of the front office.

Andy MacPhail is the Phillies’ current president. (IconSportswire)

According to Howard Eskin of SportsRadio 94 WIP, MacPhail has told Phillies’ managing partner John Middleton that he believes Jim Hendry should lead the front office. Presumably, this would come with the title of president of baseball operations, with a more hands-on approach than MacPhail has had in the day-to-day decisions on the team.

Hendry, 65, is currently a special assistant to New York Yankees’ general manager Brian Cashman, a role that he’s served in since January of 2012. He’s most known for his tenure as the general manager of the Chicago Cubs, which lasted from July of 2002 until August of 2011.

As Eskin notes, MacPhail was the president and CEO of the Cubs from October of 1994 until the conclusion of the 2006 season, so he’s well connected to Hendry. MacPhail has made no bones about it – he’s going to leave his current role at the end of the 2021 season, if not sooner. With that in mind, it’s fair to wonder how much influence he should have over a decision like this.

That said, the more important connection here may be that current Phillies’ manager Joe Girardi played for the Cubs from 2000-2002, so he had some overlap with Henry. There was never even a discussion about not retaining Girardi for a second season when former general manager Matt Klentak stepped down, so presumably whoever runs the front office will have to accept that he’s the manager moving forward. There’s reason to believe that Hendry may be more than comfortable with that arrangement.

It’s unclear how Middleton feels about this suggestion from MacPhail, and ultimately when he’ll make the decision. Middleton has all-but said that he would like to wait until after COVID-19 is over to make such important decisions so that meeting with candidates in person would be easier and safer.

Of course, the Sixers have hired a new head coach and president of basketball operations this offseason. The Los Angeles Angels have interviewed a ton of candidates for their vacancy at general manager. Hell, the New York Mets had a change in ownership. It seems that other sports organizations have adapted to the COVID-19 climate, and not allowed the virus to prevent them from making key organizational decisions.

Still, MacPhail suggested when he met with the media late last month that he thinks it would be difficult to conduct such searches and perhaps convince candidates to uproot during a pandemic. If that’s the prevailing belief from within the organization, it really doesn’t matter what the public believes, the Phillies are going to do what they – and Middleton, specifically – want to.

In the meantime, Middleton, MacPhail and interim general manager Ned Rice, among others, will have to make key decisions this offseason on how to proceed with free agents J.T. Realmuto and Didi Gregorius, along with how to improve a historically-bad bullpen.

While these may not be ideal circumstances to begin a new job in, inheriting what happens with Realmuto this winter – whether he re-signs or departs – might not be fair to the next front-office regime, whether it’s led by Hendry or someone else.


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