Phillies: 5 Andy MacPhail press conference takeaways
By Matt Rappa
4. Andy MacPhail will not return in 2022, and will perhaps depart even sooner.
MacPhail made things pretty clear that he does not plan to stay with the team once his contract expires following the 2021 season. In fact, he is even willing to step down sooner if it means helping the Phillies reel in a “big fish” as his replacement. This is notable, as two-time World Series champion Dave Dombrowski is reportedly interested in a leadership position in Philadelphia, only if he has complete autonomy.
MacPhail added that Phillies Managing Partner John Middleton “needs to be more hands-on, early on” in the hiring process for the new head of baseball operations. And, while the organization has started its search for a new leader and has identified candidates, MacPhail continued that he does not think it will be a quick process.
Coming off of his fifth year with the team, MacPhail said he did not expect the Phils to still be performing under the .500 mark; in 2020, they finished the year at 28-32. “That is a severe disappointment,” he said. “I do not know why we play [poorly near the end of seasons].”
MacPhail said that the Phillies should try to mirror the 2020 American League champion Tampa Bay Rays moving forward. “Tampa is unable to unlock hidden talent in players that have been around for a while that we haven’t been able to pick up on,’ MacPhail noted. “They’re seeing something we’re not and we’ve got to figure out what that is.”
5. The Phillies will likely stick with interim general manager Ned Rice
When Matt Klentak stepped down as general manager earlier this month, Ned Rice took over as interim general manager. MacPhail said Klentak knew that the Phillies not performing up to expectations in 2020, his fifth year on the job, made him “vulnerable.”
“They had a right to expect more this year. And Matt knew that,” MacPhail said. “Honestly, once [he] said it was time to win, he sort of teed himself up for an untenable situation based on how the team performed, particularly the last eight games.”
While they move on from Klentak, the Phils do not appear to be motivated to find his permanent replacement any time soon. The pandemic is playing a role in this thinking, as MacPhail said the search could take a long time. The Phillies have yet to conduct interviews for the vacancy but are continuing to identify candIdates.
Clearly, the current state of the Phillies is anything but certain. The same can be said with many other things right now during these unprecedented times.