Phillies: Takeaways from the postmortem press conference
What did we learn from the Phillies end of season press conference?
After an hour of Matt Klentak, Andy MacPhail, and John Middleton (mostly Middleton) answering questions from the Phillies media, we somewhat have an answer for the direction of the team and their thought process over the last couple of months.
MacPhail, who is rarely in the public spotlight, started the press conference saying the Phillies are turning the page and starting a new chapter in the organization. He and Middleton covered the organization’s thinking over the last couple of months when Middleton starting having questions regarding the direction of the team in the middle of the season and voiced those concerns in the summer.
A major reason Gabe Kapler is not the manager is the Phillies September collapses. Middleton had several meetings with Kapler at the end of the season, and it sounds like Kapler didn’t have an answer as to why those collapses happened or how he’d fix them.
Middleton said if he was confident those collapses wouldn’t happen again, Kapler might be back.
Middleton was sure to explain what his role as CEO of the team is, which is to make the big decisions. He wants people to know he’s not a middling owner like a Jerry Jones who is going to jump in on every move or be the owner who is sitting on an island somewhere during the season.
The public perception of Kapler was another big sticking point today. Middleton once again acknowledged that his customer’s opinions play a role in his decisions, which we’ve seen with the Harper/Machado decision. There was a slight rift when Klentak highlighted that the market didn’t accept Gabe or the organization’s direction in analytics, which he and MacPhail quickly brushed aside.
Howard Eskin came in like a wrecking ball when it came to Klentak and MacPhail. Middleton asked him to point out which part of the organization isn’t better than it was four years ago. Eskin pointed towards the farm system and draft, which MacPhail stood up for in highlighting the team’s selection of high school players and a lack of draft picks after signing free agents.
The final point we’ll highlight, though there were many more in this press conference, is the decision on the next manager. Middleton says he’s going to work with MacPhail and Klentak to develop a profile for the next manager and after that, he’s going to let Klentak run the show.
Klentak says they want “someone who can appreciate the organization we have and the culture that’s been developed.” Sounds like he wants the analytically driven person Kapler was.
Middleton did say that in his years in business he typically agrees with the people running the interviews when it comes to picking the person who is standing out above the rest.
A lot to take away, and we barely scratched the surface of some of the more deeper questions that will be picked apart at a later time. Make sure to follow TBOH on Twitter for the latest Phillies news throughout the offseason.