Theo Epstein isn’t interested in Phillies president job

Former Chicago Cubs President of. baseball operations Theo Epstein (Jon Durr/USA TODAY Sports)
Former Chicago Cubs President of. baseball operations Theo Epstein (Jon Durr/USA TODAY Sports) /

Theo Epstein reportedly is not interested in joining the Phillies front office this offseason

The Philadelphia Phillies offseason continues on without a clear direction on the organization’s long-term future. For now, they are operating through the guidance of managing partner John Middleton, team president Andy MacPhail, and interim general manager Ned Rice.

At least MacPhail will be replaced following the 2021 season once his contract expires, but perhaps sooner if the right candidate is identified and hired. According to The Athletic’s Jayson Stark, that person will not be three-time World Series champion, Theo Epstein.

Stark reports that the Phillies have interviewed “at least three” external candidates for the team president position and have had “multiple meetings” this week. They are said to be looking for some combination of “vision” and “experience” in their candidates — “established current names” and “rising front-office stars,” as well as those who have “run successful front offices in the recent past.”

Among the candidates reportedly include former Miami Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill, as well as Los Angeles Dodgers senior vice president of baseball operations Josh Byrnes.

As for Epstein, who Phillies fans immediately drew their attention to once he announced that he will step away from the Chicago Cubs one season earlier than expected, he reportedly “isn’t interested in the job at this time” — despite Middleton reaching out to him to gauge his interest. Epstein will instead take a year off from Major League Baseball, as expected.

The key words are “at this time”; perhaps Epstein could have second thoughts about the Phillies president position next offseason, if it is still up for grabs.

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“Through a spokesperson, Middleton again declined comment,” Stark writes. “But as his search widens for candidates to head a revamped front office following the decision to ‘reassign’ GM Matt Klentak last month, other clubs now have a more clear sense of the Phillies’ plans.”

In addition to Hill and Byrnes, the Phillies reportedly are reaching out to several teams to ask for permission and discover potential other candidates interested in succeeding MacPhail.

“Based on those contacts, Stark continues, “it seems likely that they will speak with additional candidates in the next few days and could begin bringing back a smaller group for a second round as soon as next week.”

In the meantime, the Phillies are also juggling a search for their next permanent general manager. They already have assembled an “early list of candidates” to work under their next president, per Stark, who adds the Phillies prefer to name a new president before a new general manager.

The Phillies could also go the route of hiring neither right away; Middleton reportedly will not rush to make a hire “just to appease an impatient fan base,” says Stark.

It will be interesting to see how the search for a new president and general manager continues to unfold. For now, the Phillies will continue on with MacPhail and Rice, respectively.

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