OCT. 26: The Phillies have announced the hiring of Klentak as vice president and general manager, adding that, at 35 years of age, Klentak is the youngest GM in the club’s history.
“In Matt we found an executive with the keen ability to understand cutting-edge baseball analytics, coupled with superior scouting, player development and leadership skills,” said president Andy MacPhail in the press release that announced the move. “Additionally, his commitment and resolve to build the foundation for a championship-caliber team was evident every step of the way through the process. I trust Matt to lead the Phillies as we all rededicate ourselves to return championship baseball to Philadelphia.”
OCT. 24: The Phillies will name Angels assistant Matt Klentak as their next GM, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe tweets. Yesterday, it emerged that Klentak was a finalist for the job, along with Chaim Bloom of the Rays and Dan Kantrovitz of the Athletics. As MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki noted (via Twitter), all three candidates were in their 30s and had Ivy League and analytics backgrounds.
Klentak began working in the Rockies baseball operations department soon after graduating from Dartmouth with an economics degree. He then worked in labor relations for MLB for several seasons and helped shape the 2006 Collective Bargaining Agreement. He departed to become director of baseball operations for the Orioles, where he worked under current Phillies president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail. Following the 2011 season, he headed to the Angels, where he specialized in working with contracts, arbitration and roster issues. He was recently a candidate for the Angels GM position that went to Billy Eppler. (While with the Angels, Klentak was also one of the first-ever guests on the MLBTR Podcast, appearing one year ago today.)
“Matt brings so much to the table,” said then-Angels GM Jerry Dipoto. “Matt understands the inner workings of baseball from the field to the finance. He understands baseball from the staff in the clubhouse to the players on the field to how to communicate back and forth with a finance department and ownership.”
MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez writes (Twitter links) that Klentak did much of the Angels’ GM work once Dipoto resigned (even though Bill Stoneman was officially the Angels’ interim GM). Klentak is analytically oriented, but is regarded as a good communicator.
The Phillies’ 2015 season was, of course, a miserable one, but the situation Klentak is entering is in many ways rather favorable. Thanks to what appears to be a solid series of recent top draft picks and the strong trade of Cole Hamels to the Rangers, the Phillies have a very good collection of young talent headed by J.P. Crawford, Maikel Franco, Aaron Nola, Jake Thompson, Nick Williams, Jorge Alfaro and Cornelius Randolph. The Phillies have also historically had relatively large payrolls, which could give Klentak the ability to add to that core once it matures.
Besides Klentak, Bloom and Kantrovitz, other interviewees for the Phillies’ position included former Marlins executive Larry Beinfest, MLB vice president of baseball operations Kim Ng, Indians vice president of player personnel Ross Atkins, Cardinals director of player personnel Matt Slater, Royals assistant GM J.J. Picollo and former Cubs GM Jim Hendry. Klentak’s departure is the second significant one for Eppler and the Angels’ front office this week — the Mariners just hired Klentak’s fellow Angels assistant Scott Servais to be their manager.