Jan. 27: Though Klentak’s formal title is special assistant to president of baseball operations David Stearns and general manager Matt Arnold, he’ll actually be assuming oversight of the team’s international scouting department, tweets MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy. That responsibility had formerly fallen under the purview of vice president of player personnel Mike Groopman, but he was hired away by the Red Sox as an assistant general manager back in November.
Furthermore, Stearns indicated to reporters that Klentak’s role with the club is expected to eventually increase (Twitter link via Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel). “As he becomes more familiar with our processes, we look forward to his contributions in other areas as well,” Stearns said of Klentak.
Jan. 23: The Brewers have hired Matt Klentak for a special assistant role, according to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal and Matt Gelb (Twitter link). Since stepping down as the Phillies’ general manager in October 2020, Klentak had still been working in Philadelphia’s front office as a strategy and development officer, and Rosenthal notes that Klentak will depart a year before his contract with the Phils was up.
While known best for his time in Philadelphia, Klentak has close to 20 years of baseball experience, including stints with the Rockies, the Orioles, MLB’s Labor Relations Department, and four years as an assistant GM with the Angels. Klentak moved from Los Angeles to Philadelphia after being hired as the Phillies’ GM in October 2015.
Klentak took over a Phillies team in the midst of a rebuild, but the Phils never posted a winning record over Klentak’s five seasons in charge, even after turning the course and signing several bigger-name veterans heading into the 2018 campaign. An 81-81 record in 2019 was the best the Phillies could manage under Klentak, as while the club acquired Bryce Harper, J.T. Realmuto, Andrew McCutchen, Jean Segura, and many other prominent players, the Phils still couldn’t crack the .500 mark.
Not all of Klentak’s big acquisitions worked out, of course, and yet the ex-GM did better than most at landing premium veteran talents for the roster. The bigger issue seemed to be a lack of help from within, as beyond Aaron Nola and Rhys Hoskins, the Phillies had trouble developing in-house prospects to provide extra (and cheaper) production alongside the pricier names like Harper. After the club went 28-32 in 2020, Klentak stepped down as GM, though the Phillies just reassigned him rather than let him go from the organization altogether.
Klentak will now provide Brewers president of baseball operations David Stearns and GM Matt Arnold with another experienced voice within Milwaukee’s front office. It isn’t yet known what Klentak’s specific duties will be with the Brewers, as “special assistant” responsibilities tend to vary based on the team’s needs and the talents of the individual in the job. Klentak is the latest familiar name to join the Brewers as a special assistant, as the team also has Doug Melvin, Carlos Villanueva, Dick Groch, Quinton McCracken, and Nick Davis working under that title in various departments.