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Phillies New GM Matt Klentak

For weeks there have been rumors flying around of who will be the next General Manger of the Philadelphia Phillies. While the Phillies have had a few down years, Philadelphia is still a prominent landing spot. Knowing they couldn’t miss on this hire, the Phillies interviewed multiple candidates from former GM’s and Assistant GM’s to MLB front office personnel.

MacPhail had said he wanted to find a GM by the time the club had their organizational meetings, but knew that would be very ambitious. Well, he seems to be a man of action as the Phillies have hired Matt Klentak as the next General Manager of the Philadelphia Phillies. Klentak is no stranger to MacPhail as they have previous history.

Matt Klentak

MacPhail first hired Klentak in 2008 as Director of Baseball Operations for the Baltimore Orioles. From there Klentak jumped to the opposite coast assuming the role of Assistant GM for the Los Angeles Angels. Prior to his professional career Klentak attended Dartmouth where he earned a degree in Economics and played short stop.

Around baseball and most major sports the term “boys club” is often thrown around. The “boys club” being the old men that have been running things and bring in young guys that agree with them to keep operations status quo. Upon the initial hiring of Klentak and learning of his previous history with MacPhail whispers of the “boys club” could be heard in the background. While MacPhail was just hired, the Phillies are notorious for looking out for their guys and keeping their own around. Fear of status quo started creeping in and that is not a place the Phillies can stay.

The Phillies held a press conference on Tuesday introducing their new GM and boy did he make an impression. Sitting between MacPhail and John Middleton, Phillies majority owner, Klentak looks like a young kid, being the youngest GM in Phillies history. However, once he started to speak it is clear he knew what he was talking about and qualified for the job. His youth and energy brought a refreshing change from the previous regime. Klentak believes the Phillies have some good young players at the major league level and some waiting to come up. There won’t be any drastic changes this year as management assesses current personnel and plans for the future. The Phillies hold the rights to the number 1 overall pick in the 2016 MLB draft, the first rule 5 pick and first waiver priority..

It is clear to see Klentak is excited about his new role and the potential the Phillies have going forward. He explained, “I would not have left Mike Trout in his prime to come here if I didn’t believe we could win, I promise you that.” Klentak is considered a very forwarding thinking man using both analytics and scouting to find the best possible players. While that is exciting he also makes tough sometimes unpopular decisions based on future planning. Imagine what the city would have been saying in Ruben didn’t bring back Utley, Rollins, Chooch and Victorino after the 2010 season.

As much as his youth seems like a bonus it does also bring up some concerns. The Phillies made this hire well before they ever thought they would. There were other candidates that certainly had more experience then Klentak and some the Phillies never got to interview simply because their teams are still playing. The Cardinals and Kansas City are certainly two teams that have perpetually and recently figured things out. It would not have hurt to wait until the World Series was over to interview a couple more people. The Phillies is the only GM spot left open and Klentak would have been available in a few weeks.

The Phillies have been down in recent years but it finally feels like they are prime to make a real change. There is only one contract remaining, Ryan Howard, that we have to get out from under. There are some young players proving they can make an impact and finally we have a General Manager that will use all available data including analytics to put together a winning team. Upper management is on board with the rebuild and with the first overall pick in the draft and some free agent signings the Phillies could be watchable in two years and competitive in three. After losing almost 100 games that might seem lofty, but it was made very clear to Klentak Philadelphians are hungry for a winner.

Klentak will start his job hitting the ground running at the organizational meetings. He has a lot of work ahead of him and the problems will not be solved overnight. He talks a good game and now needs to make the right moves to win over the Philadelphia fan based desperate for a team to cheer for again. Until the Phillies make their way back to October baseball as least we can say we have the number one mascot; Go Phantic!!

3 Comments

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