The Phillies are looking for a new president of baseball operations, according to a new report from The Athletic’s Jayson Stark.
They are expected to begin interviewing candidates as soon as next week and are “trying to gauge the interest of a small group of experienced, highly regarded baseball people with proven, winning track records.”
Pat Gillick, Terry Ryan and Charlie Manuel, who all serve as club advisors, have played an integral role in the search process. The three men have spent the last few weeks gathering names of potential candidates. Some will be considered for the president of baseball operations job while others could be a part of the GM search in the future.
Andy MacPhail is the team’s president of baseball operations and it’s unclear what his role would be if the Phillies hire his successor this offseason. MacPhail told reporters in a recent press conference that he intends on leaving the organization once his contract is up at the end of 2021.
“I told him when I signed my last deal ‘this is it. It’s done.’ And it’s not exactly a secret in our offices that I was out after three. I certainly don’t want to be an impediment,” MacPhail said on Oct. 30.
It’s unclear exactly who the Phillies are interviewing. According to Stark, a baseball official from a club the Phillies contacted to inquire about a potential candidate’s availability said that their list includes many candidates connected with the Mets and Angels front-office openings.
Former Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill interviewed for the Mets job this week and while he wasn’t named in Stark’s report, you’d have to think the Phillies are going to pursue him if they’re looking for “an experienced, trusted, credible person.”
Two executives that spoke to Stark said the Phillies are also looking at a contingent of candidates that are considered “rising stars” who might not have the lengthy resumé the team is looking for.
All of this doesn’t mean the Phillies will ultimately hire a new president of baseball operations this offseason. If the search doesn’t pan out the way they’d expect, they could pivot and try to hire a new general manager instead. It’s an unusual approach considering an incoming president of baseball operations would presumably like to hire their own GM.
They could also choose to stop the search for a new front-office head entirely and stick with interim GM Ned Rice and MacPhail for the foreseeable future.
Who exactly is conducting the interviews is also unclear. Back in 2015, MacPhail interviewed 14 candidates in Chicago and recommended three finalists for ownership to consider: Dan Kantrovitz, Chaim Bloom and Matt Klentak.
MacPhail did reportedly recommend his former GM in Chicago, Jim Hendry, for the job but it’s unclear if Hendry is being considered or whether MacPhail has a ton of sway in this process.
“I think John [Middleton] needs to be more hands-on early on,” MacPhail said. “I’ve told him that because I’m not going to be here in a year and it doesn’t matter who I pick. They need to be invested.”
MacPhail told reporters over Zoom that he would be willing to step aside if Middleton can land “a big fish.”
Two weeks later, the Phillies have finally arrived at the pond.
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