If there’s an organization that you’d like to emulate from an on-field success perspective right now, it’s the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers have won eight consecutive National League West titles, and are the defending World Series Champions. The organization has done a tremendous job of making notable external additions like Mookie Betts, while continuing to develop the bulk of their team through their farm system.
The Philadelphia Phillies are desperate to copy such a formula for success, which is why Jon Morosi of MLB.com says that Dodgers’ assistant general manager and vice president Jeff Kingston is a candidate for the team’s vacancy at general manager. It’s not clear if an interview with Kingston has already taken place or will be scheduled.
Kingston joined the Dodgers in his current role in December of 2018, after former general manager Farhan Zaidi left to become the president of baseball operations in San Francisco. Kingston is currently working under Dodgers’ president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman, one of the most respected executives in the sport. In nearly a decade with the Seattle Mariners before that, he served under Jack Zduriencik and Jerry DiPoto. Though Kingston worked his way up to being the director of baseball operations for the San Diego Padres prior to joining the Mariners, MLB.com‘s Ken Gurnick reminds us that Kingston was initially an intern for one Theo Epstein with the Padres. Despite a seeming desire to take a year off from the sport, the Phillies are reportedly interested in hiring Epstein to oversee baseball operations.
Kingston is 43 years old, and as Morosi noted, does have some connections to Pennsylvania, having received his bachelor’s degree in economics from Dickinson College.
As far as we can tell, Kingston is the second candidate linked to the general manager position. In mid-October, Morosi also reported that Kansas City Royals’ vice president and assistant general manager of player personnel J.J. Picollo was a candidate for the position. Picollo interviewed for the position in October of 2015, the last time the Phillies had a vacancy. We also don’t know if Picollo has formally interviewed for the position this time around.
Following another disappointing campaign, former general manager Matt Klentak stepped down and was reassigned within the organization on Oct. 3. Since then, Klentak’s former assistant, Ned Rice, has been operating as the interim general manager under president Andy MacPhail and managing partner John Middleton.
Presumably, the Phillies wouldn’t hire a general manager before picking a president of baseball operations, but that’s just a guess. The Athletic‘s Jayson Stark reported last week that the expectation was that the Phillies were going to begin interviewing candidates for president of baseball operations “as soon as” this week. There’s been no confirmation that interviews for the role have taken place, though that doesn’t mean they haven’t. It stands to reason that interviews could also start or continue next week.
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