Phillies could look to pair Theo Epstein, Jeff Kingston
By Matt Rappa
Theo Epstein and Jeff Kingston could soon reunite in the Phillies front office
As the famous Prince hit song states, the Philadelphia Phillies could soon be “partying like it’s 1999.”
The club’s 77-85 record that year was nothing to write home about, but the final year of the millennium marked when current rumored Phillies general manager target Jeff Kingston first met and worked under three-time World Series front office executive Theo Epstein — another name recently linked to the organization as a potential successor to former general manager Matt Klentak and/or current president Andy MacPhail.
While Kingston has recently worked in Major League Baseball as vice president and assistant general manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, he previously worked in a front office capacity for the Seattle Mariners, as well as the San Diego Padres. His 20-plus-year career began in 1999 as a Padres summer intern in their corporate development department, then-headed by Epstein.
Three years later, Epstein became the youngest general manager in MLB history; in 2016, he became just one of five executives to win championships with multiple organizations (Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs).
Even though Epstein recently resigned from the Cubs and plans to take this coming season off — after three decades dedicated to the game — when he does return, he looks to formulate an ownership group and help the league navigate its current and looming challenges.
Could there be a Phillies masterplan in the works that would allow Epstein to assume a hybrid ownership/president role and Kingston the general manager position? The possibility should be considered; the organization has reportedly reached out to Epstein to gauge his interest in taking the helm of their baseball operations department.
Epstein and Kingston reuniting all these years later would surely bring things full circle. Combined, the two have four World Series championships to their name — the most recent coming in 2020 with the Dodgers.
Perhaps Kingston could come on board for the 2021 season, and Epstein in 2022 once he returns from his year away from the game. MacPhail’s contract expires at the end of next season, which would be perfect timing for the latter scenario.
The two-time champion Phillies need a refresh, and there’s no doubt an Epstein-Kingston tandem would do just that.