Andy MacPhail Rumors

Phillies Hire Andy MacPhail As Pat Gillick’s Successor

5:15pm: Gillick tells ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick (links to Twitter) that Amaro will retain full authority at least through the end of the season. “Ruben is going to be the GM through the end of the season,” said Gillick. “He’s going to make any of the deals that we make. He still has that authority. That’s his job — to change personnel. That’s not going to change.”

1:38pm: The Phillies announced that they have hired MacPhail, who will serve as a special assistant to Gillick for the remainder of the season before assuming the role of president at the end of the year. The team’s official statement is as follows:

“The Phillies announced today the hiring of Andy MacPhail to succeed Pat Gillick as president of the club following Gillick’s retirement shortly after the season ends. As president, MacPhail will oversee the entire organization, both its business and baseball operations. For the remainder of the season, MacPhail will serve as a special assistant to Gillick, during which time he will work closely with Gillick and chief operating officer Michael Stiles to become acclimated with the club’s operations and its personnel.”

Phillies principal owner John Middleton praised MacPhail’s blend of traditional baseball acumen and his prowess with analytics in a statement issued with today’s press release:

“Andy brings an uncommon blend of old school experience and new age thinking. … In 1986, Andy was the youngest GM in the history of Major League Baseball when he served in that role for the Twins. The following year, he became the youngest GM to win a World Series title. When the Orioles hired him eight years ago, Andy became the first president of baseball operations in Major League Baseball. During his tenure in Baltimore, he greatly expanded the use of statistical analysis in player evaluations. That’s the new age thinking.”

10:16am: The Phillies have called a press conference at 2:30pm ET to “announce new Phillies leadership.” As MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki indicates, the presser will announce the widely expected hiring of Andy MacPhail to head the team’s baseball operations department (Twitter links). However, he adds that no new manager will be named this afternoon, and Ruben Amaro will remain in the GM’s chair, for now.

Last week, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported that MacPhail would be hired within the week to fill a role similar to that of interim president Pat Gillick. Reports of the club’s interest in MacPhail date back to mid-June, when CSNPhilly.com’s Jim Salisbury first broke the news.

By bringing MacPhail on board, the Phillies will hire an executive with experience in leading three franchises. MacPhail was the Twins’ GM during the team’s 1987 and 1991 World Series victories. He served as the Cubs’ president for more than a decade from the mid-90s into the mid-2000s, including the team’s 1998 and 2003 postseason berths. MacPhail moved from Chicago to Baltimore, where he served as president of baseball operations and helped lay the foundation for the perennial contender that is now in place in Baltimore. MacPhail acquired Adam Jones and Chris Tillman in a lopsided trade that sent Erik Bedard to Seattle, and he also acquired Chris Davis and Tommy Hunter from the Rangers in exchange for Koji Uehara. J.J. Hardy‘s presence in Baltimore is also MacPhail’s doing; he acquired the shortstop from the Twins (alongside the remaining money on Brendan Harris‘ contract) in exchange for relievers Jim Hoey and Brett Jacobson.

By coming on board with more than a month until the trade deadline, MacPhail will be in position to do some evaluation and weigh in on what is expected to be a franchise-altering month for the Phillies. Names like Aaron Harang, Jonathan Papelbon and Ben Revere could all find themselves traded within the month, but the most impactful expected move, is of course, a potential trade of Cole Hamels. The longtime Phillies ace is the type of elite arm that can command a package significant enough to single-handedly reshape the team’s future, and the veteran executive will now be in place to have some input on that critical trade.

Additionally, MacPhail will be able to evaluate internal matters, including Amaro’s position with the team and, potentially, the hiring of a new manager to oversee the club in the wake of Ryne Sandberg’s resignation.


Phillies Plan To Hire Andy MacPhail Soon

2:16pm: The Phillies plan to name MacPhail as their top baseball decision-maker within the next week or so, Heyman writes in a full column. MacPhail’s title is expected to be named as the new team president, or something similar to that title. Upon MacPhail’s hiring, Gillick would shift to a consulting role similar to the one he held before assuming presidential duties in the wake of former president David Montgomery’s health concerns.

1:54pm: The Phillies plan to appoint former Twins/Cubs/Orioles executive Andy MacPhail to a key spot within their front office in the near future, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (via Twitter). Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com first reported earlier this month that the Phils were eyeing MacPhail as a potential key decision-maker in their front office.

It’s not clear specifically what role MacPhail will fill, but 77-year-old team president Pat Gillick has stated in the past that he doesn’t envision remaining in the role for the long-term. (Gillick also recently told the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Bob Brookover that he expected the team to make a front office hire in the near future.) It seems unlikely that MacPhail would replace GM Ruben Amaro Jr. at this stage, though he could enter the organization in a fashion similar to that of Tony La Russa in Arizona last season. La Russa was named “Chief Baseball Officer” of the D-Backs last May and oversaw the front office throughout the summer, weighing in on baseball operations decisions before ultimately deciding to replace then-GM Kevin Towers in the offseason.

MacPhail has spent a significant amount of time heading baseball operations departments over his career as an executive. He served as the Twins’ GM during the team’s World Series victories in 1987 and 1991, and he spent nearly a decade as the president of the Cubs following that position. MacPhail left Chicago to become the Orioles’ president of baseball operations, where a number of moves that he made served as the foundation for the Orioles’ current contender.

MacPhail was heading Baltimore’s baseball ops department when the team traded Erik Bedard to Seattle in exchange for a package of prospects highlighted by franchise center fielder Adam Jones and right-hander Chris Tillman. He also acquired J.J. Hardy from the Twins in exchange for a pair of fungible minor league relievers and picked up Chris Davis and Tommy Hunter from the Rangers in exchange for Koji Uehara.


Heyman’s Latest: Phillies, C. Johnson, Sellers, Harang, Rays

In his weekly Inside Baseball column, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports begins by taking a look at a messy situation in Philadelphia. Heyman hears the same rumblings that were first reported by CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury — that Andy MacPhail could very well be in line for an executive role with the Phillies. The hiring of MacPhail would bring into question the status of both GM Ruben Amaro and manager Ryne Sandberg. While one exec notes that no one could have had much success with the hand Sandberg has been dealt, his calm demeanor hasn’t motivated the team much, and he may have lost the clubhouse at this point. Heyman notes that partial owner John Middleton, who is believed by some to be calling the shots in Philly, may have extra impetus to get a new decision-maker in the door so that a lame-duck GM (Amaro’s contract expires at season’s end) isn’t the primary decision-maker on what could be a franchise-altering Cole Hamels trade. Speaking of Hamels, Heyman notes that interested teams will want to see him pitch at least twice now that he had a start pushed back due to a hamstring strain, thinning the window of opportunity to trade him. As far as Jonathan Papelbon goes, the belief is that he’d approve any trade that sent him to a contending team, though the Cubs might be his preferred fit at this point if he had a say in the matter.

Some more highlights from Heyman’s latest (though there’s more in the column than we can cover here)…

  • The Braves have tried to trade Chris Johnson and even offered to substantially pay down the remaining money on his contract, but there’s been little interest. The Johnson deal was widely questioned from the start, and there’s still about $21MM owed to Johnson through the end of the 2017 season. Johnson’s a viable weapon against lefties, but he’s a sub-par hitter against right-handed pitchers and is not well-regarded from a defensive standpoint.
  • Rival teams are beginning to wonder if the Red Sox might sell some pieces this summer, with Mike Napoli, Clay Buchholz and Koji Uehara among the possible names listed by Heyman. Napoli isn’t hitting for average but has shown good power and a nice walk rate. Buchholz has improved after a rocky start and Uehara again has strong numbers in the ‘pen.
  • The White Sox are beginning to think about selling, Heyman hears, but they’re not quite ready to move their bigger pieces. Emilio Bonifacio might be the first name they make available, but eventually, Jeff Samardzija‘s name could be out there. Heyman writes that while Samardzija isn’t pitching well in 2015, his big arm is so tantalizing to scouts that there will still be interest in him.
  • The Reds aren’t expected to sell until after the All-Star Game and would be very open to shedding Brandon Phillips‘ contract, per Heyman, though I have a difficult time envisioning too many teams lining up to take on the remainder of that deal. Phillips is owed about $34.1MM through the end of the 2017 season and has seen his power more or less vanish. Heyman speculates that Everth Cabrera could be a fit in Cincinnati with Zack Cozart out for the year, and there’s some logic to that scenario, though they may first prefer to see what they have in Eugenio Suarez. The Mets aren’t interested in Cabrera, he adds later.
  • The Marlins aren’t selling yet, according to GM-turned-manager Dan Jennings. “We’re in it, we’re not jumping off the ship. No doubt about that,” Jennings told Heyman. If their attitude changes, Heyman thinks they’ll find interest in Martin Prado and Mike Dunn.
  • The Astros like Aaron Harang but are said to be aiming higher when looking at potential trade targets to bolster their rotation.
  • The Dodgers are on the hunt for a top-tier starting pitcher and a late-inning arm to help bridge the gap to Kenley Jansen. In other Dodgers-related news, Heyman hears that No. 35 pick Kyle Funkhouser is strongly considering returning to Louisville. Funkhouser was once looked at as a potential Top 10 pick, but he fell to a slot with a $1.756MM value. He’d have less leverage in 2016 as a senior sign, of course, but he could certainly improve his draft stock and his bonus with a big senior year.
  • Yankees chief international officer/executive vice president Felix Lopez is no longer listed on the team’s web site and some indicate that he’s been gone from the organization for three months, Heyman writes. Lopez was said to have angered Yoan Moncada‘s camp after calling to express displeasure with their decision to sign in Boston over New York. The team hasn’t made a statement on his departure.
  • The Rays are looking for first base help with James Loney on the disabled list, but Loney’s said to be returning around the All-Star break. Heyman speculates on the possibility of Ryan Howard ending up in Tampa Bay if the Phillies eat some or all of the contract, but I’d think there’d be something of a logjam there once Loney is activated in that scenario.


NL East Notes: Hamels, MacPhail, Mets, Fister

The Phillies announced today that a “mild” strain of his right hamstring will prevent Cole Hamels from making his scheduled start tomorrow. Right-hander Phillippe Aumont will be promoted from Triple-A to take Hamels’ place, which will necessitate a 40-man and 25-man roster move, per the team. That’s interesting in its own right, as the DFA of Dustin McGowan today should have opened a 40-man spot for Aumont, though perhaps the team has a different player in mind for that spot. (GM Ruben Amaro stated specifically yesterday that Aaron Nola would not join the team this weekend, ruling him out.) On a larger scale, any injury to Hamels is extra noteworthy as the trade deadline approaches. The Philadelphia ace will be among the most coveted trade chips on the market this July, if healthy. The ailment seems relatively minor at this time, but his health will be a situation to monitor in the coming days, as anything more serious could have serious ramifications.

Here’s more from the NL East…

  • If the Phillies are serious about adding Andy MacPhail as their new club president, the team needs to make the hire sooner rather than later, opines Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Brookover notes that acting president Pat Gillick was unavailable for comment yesterday when he tried to reach him and calls it “reasonable to believe” that Gillick was in the process of negotiating with MacPhail at the time. Brookover points out that both assistant GM Scott Proefrock and director of player development Joe Jordan worked for MacPhail in Baltimore, so he does have some connections within the current front office. An expedited hiring process would maximize the amount of time for MacPhail or any other new president to evaluate the organization, top to bottom.
  • Though a great deal of focus has been directed at the Mets‘ need to add another bat to the lineup, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News writes that the need to acquire a reliable setup man is perhaps just as important. Injuries to Vic Black and Rafael Montero have thinned out the team’s options, and Bobby Parnell‘s velocity is nowhere near its previous heights. Recent discussions about possibly moving Noah Syndergaard to the bullpen for 2015 ended with the conclusion that the promising rookie should remain in the rotation. Jenrry Mejia will soon return from his 80-game suspension, though even he is an imperfect option, because he’ll be ineligible for the postseason, should the Mets make it there. Martino notes that GM Sandy Alderson has been reluctant to trade for short-term upgrades in the past but wonders if the win-now nature of the current club makes someone like Tyler Clippard more realistic than he would have been in previous years.
  • Doug Fister will return to the Nationals‘ rotation today, writes Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post. While a healthy Fister should be a boon for the club, his return creates some questions in the rotation. Both Tanner Roark and Joe Ross have been in the rotation while Fister and Stephen Strasburg have been shelved, and it’s unclear which will be bumped to accommodate Fister. Skipper Matt Williams called those “good decisions” to have to make and said he couldn’t rule out Ross getting another turn, although Strasburg, too, is said to be nearing a return. A free agent at season’s end, Fister has extra incentive to rediscover his previous success. As Janes notes, his ground-ball rate is down nearly 10 percent from its career mark in 2015, and I’d add that his velocity has been a big concern as well. Fister has averaged just 86.1 mph on his heater this season, which is probably a factor in his rapidly declining strikeout rate (4.1 K/9).

Phillies Notes: MacPhail, Sandberg, Nola, Lee

The Phillies’ pursuit of longtime baseball exec Andy MacPhail for a position in their front office is “quite real,” a source tells Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. (CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury first reported Philadelphia’s interest in MacPhail.) Rosenthal writes that adding MacPhail could create an interesting scenario, as it would potentially put MacPhail, who served as the Cubs’ president when Ryne Sandberg was inducted into the Hall of Fame, in position to fire Sandberg as the Phillies’ manager. Rosenthal writes that many within the industry feel that Sandberg is overmatched, but he adds that if current president Pat Gillick were going to dismiss Sandberg, he’d probably have done so by now. As such, the decision may fall to Gillick’s successor, who could make the move himself or hire a new general manager to do so.

A few more notes on a Phillies team that seems destined for change on the roster, in the front office and in the dugout in the coming months…

  • GM Ruben Amaro Jr. told reporters, including MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, that he’s “fully supportive” of Sandberg and expects him to finish out the 2015 season as the team’s manager. Sandberg added that he’s not concerned about potentially being on the hot seat, telling reporters, “I worry about the game today and what has to be done today. That’s the focus and the mindset for me.”
  • The Phillies placed Jerome Williams on the disabled list and have yet to announce a starter for Sunday’s contest, but Salisbury writes that it won’t be top prospect Aaron Nola. The No. 7 pick in the 2014 draft, Nola is slated to make his Triple-A debut tomorrow evening and will continue on that schedule. “We have to do what’s right for Aaron Nola and his development and that’s not going to change,” Amaro said of Nola. “And he’s going to be in the big leagues at some point this year. I don’t think there’s any question about that, if he continues to progress the way he’s progressed so far.”
  • Within that piece, Salisbury also provides an update on the injured Cliff Lee. Following an exam on Tuesday of this week, it was recommended that Lee hold off from throwing for another three to four weeks. Amaro said that in about a month’s time, the team will have a clearer image of Lee’s future. The former Cy Young winner has been resting a small tear in his flexor tendon in an attempt to avoid a surgical repair that would come with a nine-month recovery timeline.

Phillies Interested In Executive Role For Andy MacPhail

The Phillies are eyeing longtime baseball executive Andy MacPhail as a potential new leader for the franchise, reports Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com. The specific role in which the Phillies are interested is yet unclear, but team president Pat Gillick has said in the past that he does not intend to hold his current role for a particularly lengthy term.

MacPhail would be more than qualified to serve as the club’s president, as his resume is extensive and impressive. The 63-year-old was the general manager of the Twins from 1985-94, during which time the team won its first two (and only) World Series titles, in 1987 and 1991. MacPhail left the Twins to become the president and CEO of the Cubs — a role he held until 2006.

After his Cubs career, MacPhail became president of baseball operations for the Orioles, helping to assemble much of the core that’s in place in Baltimore now. MacPhail was at the helm for the O’s when the team made the franchise-altering trade that sent Erik Bedard to Seattle in exchange for a package of talent headlined by Adam Jones and Chris Tillman. MacPhail was also still fronting Baltimore’s baseball ops department when he plucked both Tommy Hunter and Chris Davis from the Rangers in exchange for Koji Uehara. Additionally, he acquired J.J. Hardy from the Twins in exchange for a pair of minor league relievers, neither of whom made much of an impact in Minnesota.

Suffice it to say, MacPhail is a respected baseball mind with a good deal of experience when it comes to rebuilding franchises. As such, he makes for a logical target to help the Phillies in some capacity as they look to retool a franchise that has gone from a lasting power in the NL East to the bottom of the MLB cellar in recent years.

Salisbury notes that it’s not known whether the team would consider bringing on someone like MacPhail during the season. However, Salisbury also keenly notes that even if MacPhail were brought aboard in some form of consulting capacity during the season, that would give him plenty of time to evaluate both the front office and the field staff heading into what could be an offseason that is rife with organizational changes. Doing so would also allow a new hire to have some say in a potential landmark Cole Hamels trade, to say nothing of potential deals involving Jonathan Papelbon, Aaron Harang, Ben Revere, Ryan Howard and others.


AL East Notes: MacPhail, Cano, Rays, Blue Jays

Bobby Valentine has officially been dismissed, which means the Red Sox will embark on their second managerial search in as many years. GM Ben Cherington has said he hopes to conclude the search earlier this time. Here are some notes on Boston’s division rivals…

  • Former Orioles president Andy MacPhail told Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun that he's happy for the team’s fans, players and executives. He acknowledged that it "would have been a lot of fun" to be present for Baltimore's playoff run, but said he doesn't regret stepping down to spend time with his family. MacPhail said he's starting to think about working in baseball again and noted that, at 59 years old, he's "way too young" to do nothing. "I think there are a variety of things that would interest me," he told Connolly.
  • MacPhail noted that Dan Duquette has done an excellent job of finding starting pitching depth this year.
  • Executives suggest an extension for Robinson Cano could cost the Yankees $200MM, Yahoo’s Jeff Passan writes. The second baseman says he hasn’t “thought about anything," but the Yankees can’t allow him to hit free agency in Passan’s view. New York will exercise its $15MM option for Cano after the season, delaying his free agency until the end of the 2013 season.
  • Rays executive VP Andrew Friedman said he's "not going to be flippant" about Tampa Bay's impressive pitching depth this coming offseason, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports. Friedman also said he expects to talk with Larry Reynolds, the agent for B.J. Upton, even though the sides aren't expected to agree to a new contract.
  • Mike Axisa rounded up the latest Red Sox-related rumors earlier today. Here's one more note from Boston: the Blue Jays would want “a decent player” in a deal for manager John Farrell, Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald reports.

Orioles & Andy MacPhail Links: Saturday

Yesterday we learned that Andy MacPhail will step down as Orioles president of baseball operations when his contract expires on October 31st. The decision isn't a total surprise, but it will obviously have a big impact on the O's going forward. Let's round up some links on the move…

  • Dan Connolly and Peter Schmuck of The Baltimore Sun say that the team's hierarchy has begun to take shape following MacPhail's departure. The situation with Buck Showalter could be similar to when Davey Johnson was hired as manager in 1995, and Johnson helped lure Pat Gillick over to serve as GM.
  • MacPhail told Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com that he doesn't expect to offer any input on his replacement.
  • Dan Jennings of the Marlins and Tony Lacava of the Blue Jays are on the club's short list for GM, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter).
  • The Orioles have not yet asked permission to interview anyone, according to Dan Connolly of The Baltimore Sun (via Twitter), but that should change soon.
  • Both Connolly and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reiterate that Showalter will remain in the dugout and not take over as GM (all Twitter links). The team is putting together a list of GM candidates according to Rosenthal, and Connolly reports that Showalter will be instrumental in the decision.
  • MASNSports.com's Roch Kubatko speculates about some potential candidates to replace MacPhail. Here is MLBTR's list of the top 20 GM candidates.
  • Connolly grades MacPhail's tenure as a C-, mostly on the strength of his trades (acquiring Adam Jones, Luke Scott, J.J. Hardy, etc).
  • Steve Melewski of MASNSports.com says the first job for the new regime will be to correct the team's scouting and player development system, which has come up short in recent years.

AL East Links: Red Sox, MacPhail, Yankees

Two of the five AL East clubs made the playoffs, and both will begin their quest for the World Series later today. The Rays and Rangers play at 5pm ET, the Yankees and Tigers at 8:30pm ET. Let's round up some notes from the only division with four 81+ win teams in 2011…


Orioles Leadership Notes: Showalter, MacPhail

It appears likely that Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail will step aside after the season, so before long the Cubs won't be the only team considering GM candidates around the league. It's possible that the Orioles won't have to look far though…

  • Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun believes that the leading candidate to replace MacPhail is none other than current field manager Buck Showalter. Neither Showalter nor MacPhail will talk about the expected leadership change in Baltimore, but the club could announce that MacPhail is stepping down as soon as Thursday. 
  • Showalter hinted that the Orioles will make changes Thursday, according to Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun.
  • Showalter will not attempt to be the manager and GM at once, according to Connolly. He'll either pick his replacement or help owner Peter Angelos find someone for the GM's role. MacPhail could also have input in the search, according to Connolly, who points out that Angelos tends to hire experienced baseball men. 
  • Connolly doesn't expect the Orioles to hire anyone under 45 and can't see the club selecting a "whiz kid" to take over baseball operations.
  • MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli hears that John Hart, the former GM of the Indians and Rangers who has ties to Showalter, is not a likely candidate to succeed MacPhail.
  • MLBTR's GM candidates series introduced Matt Klentak of the Orioles. I also spoke to Thad Levine of the Rangers, who once rooted for the Orioles with Josh Byrnes, the current Padres exec and former D'Backs GM.