Phillies Expected to Name Matt Klentak as New GM

Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe was the first to report that the Phillies are expected to name Matt Klentak as their new general manager.‘s Todd Zolecki confirmed the report.

Athletics assistant GM Dan Kantrovitz and Rays VP of baseball operations Chaim Bloom were reportedly the two other finalists for the position, per Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly. Kim Ng, who worked with president Andy MacPhail in the commissioner’s office, was not among the finalists.

And so the Phillies’ biggest hurdle of the off-season has been cleared. Having already removed the interim tag from Pete Mackanin‘s title as manager, added Rick Kranitz as pitching coach and John McLaren as the catching coach, installed Mac Phail as the successor to Pat Gillick, and now hired a GM, the Phillies can begin their off-season in earnest.

Klentak has a bachelor’s degree in economics from Dartmouth College, an Ivy league school. He worked with the Colorado Rockies in 2003, then spent the next four years in MLB’s labor relations department and worked with MacPhail on the 2006 collective bargaining agreement. MacPhail hired Klentak as the director of baseball operations with the Orioles in ’08 and he stayed there until after the 2011 season, when he joined the Angels as the assistant to GM Jerry DiPoto. When DiPoto resigned earlier this year, Klentak interviewed for the vacant position but the Angels ultimately picked Billy Eppler.’s Alden Gonzalez describes Klentak as “analytically inclined” and a “great communicator”. The Phillies join the growing trend in major league teams hiring Sabermetrically-oriented Ivy league graduates to fill front office positions.

During his introductory press conference earlier this season, MacPhail repeatedly hammered on the use of analytics, something that had been previously foreign territory to the Phillies. He mentioned that the team was working on an internal database to be unveiled privately in September. Adding Klentak, with whom MacPhail already has experience and already has a working knowledge of stats, is therefore rather fitting.

Once the World Series is over and a handful more players hit free agency, the Phillies will have around 15 open spots on the 40-man roster. Most of those will be taken by players within the system, but the Phillies will be in the hunt for some free agents, plus they have the first pick in the Rule 5 draft. Don’t expect a huge splash — although getting in the running for Jason Heyward is an interesting idea — but adding some cheap pitching depth is far and away the Phillies main goal for setting up the 2016 roster. MacPhail and Klentak will be in charge of picking first in the draft this summer, which will hopefully be one of the final coats of paint on the rebuilt Phillies.

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  1. Francisco (FC)

    October 24, 2015 03:13 PM

    I keep getting the impression that Kim Ng is interviewed for these positions just so MLB teams can say they interviewed a woman and a minority without seriously considering her as a candidate. How else to explain the many different interviews over the years not resulting in a hire?
    At this point she either should have landed a job by now or her qualifications and interest found lacking enough to not warrant an interview at all. Instead she keeps getting calls.

    • Bernie

      October 24, 2015 03:20 PM

      Yeah & Dave Roberts seems to be that guy for field managers. But in the end, the “Rooney Rule” does seem to be a positive thing – access is half the battle for these and most types of jobs where everything one does is not measure, timed, & weighed quantitatively.

    • Bill Baer

      October 24, 2015 03:21 PM

      Yeah, it’s pretty unfortunate. MLB needs to break up the white boys club, both in the front office and in the dugout. I believe Fredi Gonzalez is the only non-white manager after Lloyd McClendon was fired by the Mariners.

      • Bernie

        October 24, 2015 03:29 PM

        This is surprising considering the number of Teams owned, GM’d, and decision brokered by Jewish heritage owners/professionals.

      • thephillyphorum

        October 24, 2015 04:33 PM

        I hate this move. I’m not saying that Klentak is necessarily a bad choice or even that he will do a bad job. Kim Ng just seemed like an obvious choice (that resume was ridonkulous, and everyone from Joe Torre to Larry Bowa seems to think she’s exceptional.. and oh, oh, did you read the Jonah Keri interview in 2003.. Fresh and yet baseball to its very core).

        Oh and Bill, stop with the racial overtones (“white boys club”). Racism at its core is a form generalization (lumping an individual in with a group, rather than looking at that individual based on his or her merits), and while your racism is obviously not as horrifying as the KKK, it comes from the same place of ignorance and entitlement.

        Simply, white black hispanic korean male female homosexual heterosexual ect ect … We’re all in the same boat, dude. It’s not them or those people. It’s us. Find a way to be positive or shut the hell up.

        Still love ya, man. 🙂

      • Bill Baer

        October 24, 2015 04:37 PM


        You’re describing prejudice (which is still inaccurate with regards to what I wrote), not racism. Racism/sexism/etc. is power plus prejudice. White people in the U.S. cannot experience racism because they have structural power.

      • Nick

        October 24, 2015 08:09 PM

        The inclusion of more hispanic members of management would highly benefit the wave of incoming players from South America, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. Hopefully clubs continue to hire the best person available and look past race/sex. Kim may be a Rooney Rule type candidate, but she has held extremely high positions and there are only 32 GM positions in baseball. She should be proud of her efforts and could just be missing some component in the interviews that the other candidates are not lacking. A woman will break the mold at some point and Kim has helped blaze that trail.

        With that said, the blog has taken a highly progressive viewpoint as of late. Let’s get back to baseball and the upward trajectory of our Phillies.

      • Oran Kelley

        October 25, 2015 07:51 AM

        And for God’s sake can we stop equating recognizing racism and sexism exist with promoting racism and sexism? I don’t think there is a more brain-dead and/or disingenuous line of pseudo reasoning on the face of the earth. Invoking it should be cause for public shaming.

      • Phil Ease

        October 25, 2015 02:05 PM

        Bill, I understand that in your world view, racism does not exist without power, but you are making up that component of the definition and really should refer to the Oxford English Dictionary or Merriam-Webster for the correct meaning. Simply put, racism is prejudice or discrimination against members of other races based on one’s belief that his/her own race is superior. What is a shame about your definition is that it gives license to racism perpetrated by everyone who isn’t caucasian. Racism ought not be tolerated regardless of the color of a racist’s skin.

      • Phil Ease

        October 25, 2015 04:20 PM

        Appeal to authority isn’t an answer. How hateful would the world be that tolerates so much racism.

      • Oran Kelley

        October 25, 2015 05:53 PM

        “Racism” was redefined or hijacked, depending on your point-of-view, by sociology departments back in the 1990s or so . . . so it’s totally possible (and useless) to talk past each other on this. BUT, I would guess that you are both agreed that there’s a problem with how skewed the picture is in baseball hirings, historically? And that it would be kinda cool if a few execs had the . . . intestinal fortitude to start changing that picture? If so, everybody just can have their own reasonable definition of racism, realizing that others may think differently, and we’ll be all right.

      • Bill Baer

        October 25, 2015 06:09 PM

        If you think sociology departments “hijacked” the conversation, then there’s no way we can have a reasonable discussion about this.

    • Eddie

      October 24, 2015 04:30 PM

      “How else to explain the many different interviews over the years not resulting in a hire?”

      Bad timing. Ten years ago, she was the young analyst, brought in as a token interview and falling short against the kinds of “baseball lifers” teams traditionally have always named as GMs … now that the trend has changed and teams are looking for 30-something analytics types, she’s pushing 50 and isn’t the “fresh new mind” teams want.

      I’m not saying that’s an airtight explanation, but it’s not all that hard to come up with a narrative. After all, we’re talking about a sample size of five or six jobs, all of which probably had a dozen serious candidates. It’s not like it’s statistically improbable for someone to get passed up.

      Agree with Bernie that a “Rooney Rule” type thing would help, but at this point Kim Ng is AFAICT the only woman even plausibly interviewable.

    • Steve

      October 25, 2015 06:42 AM

      When the Phillies gave Sandberg a chance, despite being passed over numerous times by other clubs, everyone jumped to point out the red flags. Now the FO is criticized for passing on Ng. Is it just engrained in our subconscious to always assume the worst from the Phillies FO?
      I haven’t sat in on any interviews, or even spoken to Ng for that matter, but just because someone excells at their current occupation, doesn’t mean they will have the same success after a promotion. Again, this is not my opinion of Ng, but it is a possibility, and the Phillies certainly wouldn’t be the first organization to question her GM abilities.
      Maybe they learned their lesson from Sandberg and finally saw what the rest of the league saw. Maybe they did their due diligence, contacted some other teams that interviewed her in the past, and didn’t like what they heard. Maybe nothing was lacking in her skill set, but the Phillies felt they had a better fit with Klentak. Or…. maybe they didn’t hire her because she is a woman. None of us know, but lets at least give the new regime a chance to prove themselves before we become too critical.
      I hope teams aren’t afraid to hire Ng because of her gender. I hope she finds her ideal job in baseball. I hope the Phillies didn’t make a mistake letting her go elsewhere. More than anything though, I hope Klentak does a great job.

    • Oran Kelley

      October 25, 2015 07:47 AM

      My impression of Ng islrss that she’s window dressing–she looks like a legit candidate to me– but more that no one has the balls to hire her. Or maybe in this context I should say guts. 😉

      The first female GM and the team that hires her is in for way more scrutiny than is usual and way more flak than they’ll deserve. Everyone quails from the steep risk/reward profile. Not many steely-nerved, visionary gamblers in ownership these days, I guess.

      • Steve

        October 25, 2015 05:40 PM

        I disagree. Maybe the loudest minority would be overly critical of Ng, but i think the majorty of fans would at least be accepting, if not welcoming. Right now the fan base is ready for anyone not named Amaro. The bar is temporarily set so low for the next GM, no matter who got the job.

      • Oran Kelley

        October 25, 2015 05:55 PM

        Well Steve, if you’re right, we’ll both be happy. Just I’d also be surprised.

  2. phil

    October 25, 2015 08:37 AM

    Thanks Bill
    That is as an aware definition of racism as I have heard. Nice what one would uncover on a baseball thread. Thanks for stepping in and up.

  3. Romus

    October 25, 2015 09:43 AM

    Perhaps Ms Ng wants to, and prefers climbing the corporate ladder in NY.
    She lives in Manhattan, likes the lifestyle and maybe was doing Joe Torre and Rob Manfred a favor by throwing her hat into the ring of GMs. There were earlier interviews with the Mariners, Padres and Angels with non-selection results. She definitely worked at the club level in the past and was qualified. There are two other females in the GM arena …one with the Sox and the other with the Yankees….and they are happy with their situation …both I might add are attorneys, so they may be more leaning contract work vs baseball operational duties in their AGM roles.

  4. Tom

    October 25, 2015 02:59 PM

    I am skeptical that anyone commenting here has more information than MacPhail, the person actually doing the interviews. I have to give the benefit of the doubt that Ng didn’t get the job, not because she’s a woman, but because Klentak and others impressed more in an interview. As for Klentak, I am excited to see what he brings. I was a little bit in favor of the other leading candidates (figuring the mentorship of Beane or Friedman was preferred to DiPoto), but again, I don’t really know anything beyond that. The one thing I do like about Klentak, is that he’s got experience with a big market, big spending team, which will translate better than knowing how to work within the constraints of the A’s or Rays. Any way you slice it, it’s an exciting breath of fresh air and a new way of thinking for Philadelphia baseball, and we can all rejoice in that.

    • 100Bucks

      October 25, 2015 04:53 PM

      Great point about the big market, big spending experience. Analytics is critical but one cannot be beholden to it. A GM has to remember that there is no linear $/WAR in the real-world. Sometimes you have to overpay to fill a need and move your team from an also-ran team like the money ball A’s to become a team that wins championships.

    • Oran Kelley

      October 25, 2015 05:36 PM

      Well, here’s some information for you: The question wasn’t why didn’t she get this particular job, the question was why she’s gotten looked at for so many jobs and not hired. Considering her resume that *is* a curious thing. No aspersions were cast on MacPhail.

  5. KMG

    October 25, 2015 08:20 PM

    When the Phils hired MacPhail I wanted a younger GM, one with a background in analytics and no connection to the Reuben/Gillick/Ed Wade/Dallas Green vortex- a break from the past. I got what I wanted. Phils haves in the right direction since the all-star break- hope we can keep this going.

  6. sibs

    October 26, 2015 12:10 AM

    So about that Klentak hiring………………..

  7. Michael C Lorah

    October 26, 2015 10:52 AM

    Congrats to Mr. Klentak. I look forward to seeing where he takes the team.

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