Oct 26, 2015; Philadelphia, PA, USA;
Philadelphia Phillies president Andy MacPhail introduces new general manager Matt Klentak during a press conference at Citizens Bank Park.
(Photo Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports)
3. UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT
The season began with aging Hall of Famer Pat Gillick as the club president, and Ruben Amaro Jr as the general manager. It was believed all along that Gillick was going to hand over the reigns to a new club president at some point during 2016, and that moment moved closer when Andy MacPhail was formally named the successor in late June.
On September 10th, in one of his first impact actions, MacPhail announced the firing of Amaro, who had been the GM since the aftermath of the 2008 World Series victory. As quoted by Philadelphia Inquirer staffers at that time: “I have a responsibility to the franchise, the fans, ownership to do what I think is best and get this thing back to where it was as quickly as I can and efficiently as I can. That was the basis for my decision.”
After taking a few months to settle into the organization, get comfortable with his surroundings in the front office, and evaluate the player and coaching personnel at the Major League and minors levels, MacPhail was clearly taking the club in a new direction.
“However we need to do it, we will add pitching, pitching, pitching. Because if you can pitch, you have a chance to win every night.” ~ Phillies new GM Matt Klentak
Assistant GM Scott Proefrock as named the interim general manager, and a search began for a new GM to help lead the team into the future. That search culminated with the hiring on October 26th of Matt Klentak to fill that GM role, and the new GM made it clear where his focus would be:
“If you can pitch, you have a chance. That will absolutely become an organizational focus for us. To add pitching at every turn. In trades, through waiver claims, in the draft, internationally, free agency. However we need to do it, we will add pitching, pitching, pitching. Because if you can pitch, you have a chance to win every night.”
Klentak went about adding veteran starters Jeremy Hellickson and Charlie Morton, and veteran relievers Ernesto Frieri, James Russell, Andrew Bailey, and Edward Mujica. He then dealt away closer Ken Giles and a prospect in a deal that brought back five more young arms, including a former first overall MLB Draft pick.
The change from Gillick-Amaro to MacPhail-Klentak certainly turns the page from the past, and places the Phillies organizational focus squarely on the future.
Next: 2015 Phillies Influential Moment #2: Trades Bigger in Texas