Phillies Rumors: Four GM Candidates ‘Being Mentioned’


Are the Philadelphia Phillies close to picking a general manager?

This Saturday will mark one month since the Philadelphia Phillies — now-President Andy MacPhail, specifically — announced that Ruben Amaro Jr. would not return for his eighth season as a general manager, and would be dismissed immediately.

What’s gone on since then leads you to think that MacPhail will run a Sam Hinkie-esque front-office where little done inside the organization reaches the general public.

Former Miami Marlins’ executive is the only name to have surfaced publicly as an interviewed candidate, with Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reporting last weekend that the team had interviewed him for the position.

Beyond that, any “candidates” mentioned have been done so in a speculative form.

CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury put a little more traction behind four candidates in his off-season primer, suggesting that these names are among those that industry experts believe could end up landing the job.

"There’s no search committee. This is MacPhail’s baby all the way and he’s playing it close to the vest. He has an idea of what he wants — likely someone young, progressive-thinking and analytical — and is probably only considering a handful of people. Matt Klentak of the Angels front office, Kim Ng of the Commissioner’s office, Thad Levine of the Rangers front office and Ben Cherington, formerly Boston’s GM, are names being mentioned by plugged-in industry folks. There are probably a few others. MacPhail is known for his due diligence and creativity and would probably love to surprise everyone with someone he views as an off-the-radar star."

Some of those “few others” are probably J.J. Picollo of the Royals and John Barr of the Giants, both who are part of front-offices for teams that have become elite through developing great in-house talent and making savvy pickups to aid that home-grown talent.

Barr can interview (and start) any job today because the Giants aren’t in the playoffs. The same could be said for Klentak, who missed out on getting the Los Angeles Angels’ job the same way that the Angels missed out on the playoffs.

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If the Phillies decide to hire someone like Piccolo or Levine, either of the two could elect to join the Phillies right away despite their team being the playoffs, but that isn’t a normal (or very ethical) practice. More than likely, the two would remain in their current position until their team’s playoff run ends and then being their new job, the same way that now-former Yankees’ executive and new Angels’ general manager Billy Eppler would have if New York went on a deep playoff run..

Ng has experience in the Dodgers’ front-office and has been a finalist for numerous other jobs that probably went to less deserving candidates. She would be the first female general manager in the history of the four major American professional sports, which would be cool but also isn’t the reason to give someone a job. Much like voters could have to decide with Hillary Clinton in a year, a women should get a job based off of her merits, not that she would be the first to do so. None of that is to say Ng (or Clinton) is or isn’t deserving, but it’s just important to keep in mind.

Cherington is an interesting name because he signed some contracts (Hanley Ramierez, Pablo Sandoval and Rick Porcello, among others) that were probably fireable offenses. Unlike what the Phillies did, though, he backed himself up by not moving on from elite prospects like Mookie Betts and going out of his way to sign talented international players even if their immediate fit wasn’t obvious.

The Red Sox also did win a World Series under Cherington’s guidance in 2013, though that season was more of an outlier in Cherington’s four and a half years tenure as general manager.

As I have said and will continue to say, it’s important that the Phillies land a candidate that works well under MacPhail and allows the current front-office to continuing building this team through the farm system. It’s also important to keep in mind that whoever MacPhail hires may eventually replace the 62 year-old as the leader of the organization.

Next: Phillies Rumors: Larry Bowa to Nationals?

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