The Phillies made a move that many felt to be inevitable yesterday when they announced that Ruben Amaro Jr.’s contract would not be extended, and assistant GM Scott Proefrock would become interim GM immediately as the team began its search for a new full-time general manager. Plenty has already been written about the decision and what it means for the Phillies’ future, and here are some early reactions and aftereffects in the wake of the fifth front-office shakeup we’ve seen in about two months’ time…
- Amaro’s firing was “only a matter of time,” writes ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, but he did well to position his successor for a quick turnaround with recent trades of Cole Hamels, Jonathan Papelbon, Chase Utley and others. Crasnick lists former Angels GM Jerry Dipoto, former Cubs GM Jim Hendry and current Royals assistant GM J.J. Picollo as potential candidates, also noting that former Red Sox GM Ben Cherington isn’t likely to pursue any GM opening at present, thus removing him from consideration. President-to-be Andy MacPhail told Crasnick that he isn’t limiting himself to targeting a specific “type” of GM (e.g. a young, analytically savvy candidate or a more traditional, scouting-based GM). Said MacPhail to Crasnick: “Let’s look at a wide spectrum of candidates. You might be surprised.”
- MacPhail said at yesterday’s press conference (via MLB.com’s Paul Hagen) that while he will, of course, have a role in roster decisions and general baseball operations — “…let’s face it, I’m not here for my marketing acumen,” he joked — any GM he hires will have a good deal of power. “I’ve had GMs under me before,” said MacPhail. “If you talk to them, I think they feel like they had a fair amount of autonomy, which I think is important to them to be able to do their job. They can’t be in short pants running back to the president every time they have to make a decision. … They should keep me apprised, but that is a balance I’m going to have to strike.”
- MacPhail feels that it would be ideal to have a new GM in place by the time the Phillies hold their organizational meetings on Oct. 26, writes Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com, but he admitted that said timeline may be a bit “ambitious.” Hiring an outside-the-box thinker is key to the hire, whether he comes from an analytical background or scouting background, writes Salisbury, though if the selection is of the latter variety, MacPhail will look to add to his analytics department in other ways. Proefrock, who has worked for MacPhail in the past (with the Orioles) will receive some consideration for the full-time position, per Salisbury, but Angels assistant GM Matt Klentak could be the early favorite. Klentak, whose name has been mentioned in connection with the Phillies’ presumed GM vacancy in the past, was the Orioles’ director of baseball ops while MacPhail served as president. Also named by Salisbury are Dipoto, Picollo, Hendry, Yankees AGM Billy Eppler, Giants scouting director John Barr and Angels pro scouting director Hal Morris.
- Partial owner John Middleton offered his take at yesterday’s presser as well, Salisbury notes, stating that he wants MacPhail to find a young version of himself. “And I say that because, 30 years ago, a very young Andy MacPhail was a general manager, a newly minted general manger at that,” said Middleton. “This guy was sitting in an office in Minneapolis and he was playing with mathematical, statistical, analytical tools. And he was using them to try to figure out how he could make better evaluations and therefore better personnel decisions. Andy was constantly pushing himself to get better.” (Salisbury has a second piece with further, more in-depth quotes from the press conference for those interested.)
- Interim manager Pete Mackanin has a good chance at returning in 2016, sans the “interim” label, writes MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki. “I would encourage everybody not to make any assumptions about what’s happening today to have any domino impact on the manager,” said MacPhail. “…I know the tradition is that the GM picks his manager. I’ll just go full disclosure here, if that happens, and it takes you a while to find a GM and then he gets consumed the first month or two with a manager and coaching staff, look how much of the offseason we’ve lost. That’s a high price to pay.” MacPhail said the best way to measure a manager is by the energy, effort and enthusiasm he gets out of whatever talent is provided to him, and Mackanin has shined in that area thus far.
- MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro tweets that he expects to see Dan Jennings’ name connected to the Phillies’ GM opening if he does not return to his former post as Marlins general manager following the season.