Key Questions Surrounding Matt Klentak’s Future with the Phillies
Joe Girardi plans to stay in Philadelphia over the next week or two to assist in building an offseason plan for the Phillies. Monday should have been the perfect day to announce the firing of Matt Klentak given the fact that Major League Baseball discourages organizational announcements during the postseason.
Yesterday, the Los Angeles Angels announced the firing of their GM, Billy Eppler, after he failed to produce a winning team for five consecutive seasons. The Phillies have failed to do the same.
The postseason begins today and will run over the next 30 days. The Phillies need to rebuild their bullpen, sign key free agents in Didi Gregorius and JT Realmuto, and figure out what to do with 2nd base and centerfield.
The Million Dollar Question: Who is going to execute that plan?
The answer, as much as we want it to be, might not be so obvious. Almost a year ago to date, Phillies general manager Matt Klentak stated the following: “No questions, it’s time to win now.” upon firing previous manager Gabe Kapler.
The 2020 Phillies, despite a club-record payroll and a generous eight-team postseason field, did not do that. They finished four games under .500 and have not had a winning season in Klentak’s five years.
This year, the club finished with a 28-32 record, included a 1-7 finish and the Phillies missed the postseason yet again. The bullpen was the worst it’s been in 90 years. Any moves made to bolster the bullpen at the trade deadline backfired.
Klentak has two years left on his contract. With COVID-19 crippling revenue numbers for Major League Baseball the Phillies are expected to lose over $100 million dollars in revenue.
Are the Phillies really going to eat 2 years of Klentak’s contract and sign a new GM?
Will they do so while in parallel to re-signing Realmuto and Gregorius?
There is a growing chance that Phillies front-office will consider the loss in revenue when attempting to search for a potentially new General Manager as well as re-signing key Phillies’ players such as Realmuto and Didi Gregorius.
For a GM that has underperformed his entire tenure in Philadelphia, COVID-19 might have saved his job, while at the same time, sent Didi and JT packing their bags.
How the Phillies handle JT Realmuto and Didi Gregroius could ultimately keep Klentak here for the remainder of his GM contract. Although I disagree, if he is able to re-sign both players, it could be enough reason for the Phillies front office to keep him around and allow him to focus on rebuilding the bullpen during the offseason.
Regardless, it would appear as if the answer will not come immediately.
Bryce Harper said it best on Sunday when asked about Klentak’s future with the Phillies. “I’m not an owner,” Harper said. “I’m glad I don’t have to make those decisions.”
Mandatory Credit: NBC Sports Philadelphia