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Mets reportedly rebuffed Phillies attempt to interview ‘rising star’ executive

Citizens Bank Park has been the home of the Phillies since 2004. (Tim Kelly/Phillies Nation)

Philadelphia Phillies president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski has continued to overhaul the front office in his first full offseason on the job, but apparently was unable to speak with one candidate that the team was interested in.

Andy Martino of SNY reports that the Phillies reached out to the New York Mets early in the offseason about potentially interviewing 29-year-old Ben Zauzmer to be an assistant general manager under Sam Fuld. Martino notes that the young executive “came to the Mets last year from the Los Angeles Dodgers to oversee rapidly expanding analytics and research and development operations.”

While Martino doesn’t say directly that the Mets blocked Zauzmer from interviewing with the Phillies, that is insinuated when he says that both Mets owner Steve Cohen and president Sandy Alderson “made clear that Zauzmer was too valuable to lose.”

So instead of interviewing with the Phillies, Zauzmer remained in the Mets front office. In late December, the Mets promoted Zauzmer from director of baseball analytics to assistant general manager, working under the recently hired Billy Eppler.

It’s not clear whether Zauzmer was the Phillies No. 1 target to be an assistant general manager, or if the search even began with a specific person in mind.

Anirudh Kilambi was instead hired in November to be an assistant general manager under Fuld. The 27-year-old came from the Tampa Bay Rays organization, where he had held the positions of assistant director of research and development and director of decision science. It’s possible that even if the Phillies had the chance to speak with Zauzmer, they would have ultimately hired Kilambi instead. We’ll probably never know.

Kilambi is now one of three assistant general managers working under Fuld, who was promoted to general manager in December of 2020. At the same time Fuld was given increased responsibilities, Jorge Velandia was promoted to assistant general manager. The longest-tenured assistant general manager of the Phillies is Ned Rice, who was hired to fill that role under Matt Klentak in January of 2016. Rice — who was the interim general manager after Klentak was reassigned — reportedly received an extension through the 2023 season last winter.

Additionally, Howie Kendrick — who was briefly a Phillie during his playing career — joined the Phillies front office as a special assistant to the general manager back in November.


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