IIt has been almost a month since the Phillies announced Matt Klentak’s relegation from the role of general manager, and according to President Andy MacPhail, the club does not plan to appoint a permanent replacement at any time.
“Who would want to move up in the middle of a pandemic?” MacPhail said Friday in a Zoom conversation with journalists. “I could see this thing going further. Certainly until ’21, when you have a little more clarity in what it is we are facing.”
Ned Rice, Klentak’s former assistant, has the temporary GM code.
“Most of what lies ahead of us in the short and medium term is related to current personnel,” MacPhail said. “We can do it internally, and I’m very confident that Ned can get us through it.”
MacPhail and owner John Middleton have spoken candidly about the challenges of bringing candidates to Philadelphia and the meeting staff in the midst of the pandemic.
“Hell, our offices will not even be open until January, and that may be a little optimistic,” MacPhail said. “You want the next regime to do well. You want to put them in a position to succeed. In my opinion, if you brought someone in here right now with a limited capacity to influence positive change, it’s just the limit not fair. for them. ”
MacPhail said he would step aside before his contract expires next year if the owner wanted to bring in a “big fish” to manage the baseball side of things at the front office. He also stressed the importance of the organization hiring a president for baseball operations and wants to see owner John Middleton become more involved in the selection process.
“Our ownership must be fully invested,” MacPhail said. “I think John needs to be more practical early on, and I told him so. Because I’m not going to be here in a year, so it does not matter who I choose. They need to be invested in it.”
MacPhail expects the market for free agents to be slow and give Phillies some pillow if they were able to rent. He also made it clear that the club is not in a position to make much of a splash in the free agent market this season. Internally, the club is looking at a significant reduction in staff while potentially trimming and cutting some departments completely.
“This is not a fun time to be in baseball,” MacPhail said.
Middleton said earlier this month that the Phillies will have lost more than $ 100 million this year due to COVID-19. With uncertainty about what the 2021 season will look like, the Phillies may be forced to rely on cheap acquisitions in an effort to improve the list. The biggest hole may be behind the plate, as it is likely that the club will lose JT Realmuto in the market for free agents.
“We just could not find a common ground,” MacPhail said of the club’s previous efforts to sign Realmuto to a long-term deal.
Can it change?
“There are two things we have gone through,” MacPhail said. “The first is that I think he enjoyed the time here, and we want him back. So I think those two things give you some hope. In every offseason, there are an incredible number of variables – and you can only multiply it exponentially this offseason. But, as long as the player enjoyed the time here and the team has a legitimate interest in bringing him back, it is that opportunity. ”
For now, the Phillies seem to be in a holding pattern, and it looks like the club has some internal decision-making processes that need to happen before they make any serious rosters.
“I did not expect to be here in year five and still be below 0.500,” MacPhail said. “It’s a serious disappointment for me. I do not know why we play as we do at the end of September for the last three years, but I thought our team was relatively well positioned to go to the post season. It did not.”