At least one person’s job is safe in the Phillies organization.
Phillies general manager Matt Klentak will remail with the Phillies as he begins the first year of a three-year contract extension, according to Matt Breen of the Inquirer.
A source told Breen that Klentak’s return “was never in question” despite owner John Middleton’s nearly half-billion-dollar investment into players last offseason.
Klentak was responsible for bringing in a lot of those new players to provide offense for a team that averaged about 4.18 runs per game last year. Klentak, with the help of Middleton, managed to reel in one of the biggest free agents in Philadelphia sports history last offseason in Bryce Harper.
The fourth-year GM also flipped Carlos Santana’s large contract and an underwhelming J.P. Crawford to Seattle for Jean Segura, who led the team in batting average and doubles, while placing second in hits, stolen bases, and triples.
The additions of Andrew McCutchen, J.T. Realmuto, Jay Bruce, and Corey Dickerson were also impactful for the Phillies, though they couldn’t outweigh the miscalculation of the pitching staff.
Philadelphia opted to ride the season out with several young pitchers who showed signs of life but never materialized into a consistent, middle of the rotation starter. He also passed on the opportunity to sign Dallas Keuchel midseason and was bullish on giving Patrick Corbin a six-year contract.
Klentak will now be tasked with making several franchise-altering decisions this offseason, including whether to pay a big-money pitcher and whether to keep the organization’s top prospects or flip them for another ace.
The futures of Cesar Hernandez, Maikel Franco, and Odubel Herrera will also be weighed this offseason. Hernandez led the Phillies in hits, but didn’t contribute on a consistent basis. Franco, once a lauded prospect in the organization, was demoted after hitting .235 through the trade deadline.
Herrera was suspended under Major League Baseball’s domestic violence policy, and his likeness was stripped across the franchise. Philadelphia still owes Herrera $20.5 million with two guaranteed years remaining on his deal plus a buyout to void two additional years.
With Klentak’s status apparently set in stone, all eyes will turn towards manager Gabe Kapler. Middleton is reportedly seeking opinions on his second year manager from both within and outside the organization, but a final decision isn’t expected until next week.
Klentak has stuck with Kapler throughout his tumultuous ride as the Phillies manager, but has never ruled anything out. Hitting coach John Mallee was ousted during the summer in favor of Charlie Manuel’s old-school approach and pitching coach Chris Young was removed from his role on Friday.
We’ll see how strongly Klentak goes to bat for his manager, but it appears the end is coming for Kapler.