Phillies Expected to Name Matt Klentak as New GM
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.
MLB.com’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.