Why Dan Kantrovitz should be the next Phillies General Manager
The Matt Klentak era of Phillies baseball officially sputtered to its inevitable pathetic conclusion on Saturday, after the former general manager resigned and news surfaced that he would subsequently be reassigned within the organization.
Klentak’s ‘resignation’ was well deserved after the team with the 5th highest payroll in Major League Baseball suffered its annual September collapse and missed the playoffs for the ninth straight season.
When Klentak was hired as the Phillies GM in 2015 after spending the previous four seasons as the Assistant GM of the Angels, many people including myself had questions about the lack of success in his past.
It was immediately clear that Klentak was hired predominately because he was a favorite and protege of current team president Andy MacPhail, whom he worked closely with while presiding over a number of shitty Baltimore Orioles teams. MacPhail sold the fanbase on Klentak’s mix of direct baseball knowledge and as someone who could harness the use of analytics to effectively build a World Series Winner.
But other than working for the team that drafted Mike Trout it was unclear what specifically Klentak brought to the table in terms of on-field success. Even the Angels agreed when they passed over him to hire another first time GM in Billy Eppler. Eppler who was himself was fired this weekend failed to reach the playoffs in his 5 seasons with the Angels.
I understand it’s easy to look back on a decision five years after the fact when you already have the results. But the Phillies would be making a huge mistake in bringing in another GM simply because he is a familiar face who has a positive working relationship with others in the organization.
That kind of safe team-friendly decision is what has caused the Phils to miss the playoffs every year since 2011. Instead the team should focus on someone with a proven track record of success like current Vice President of Scouting for the Chicago Cubs; Dan Kantrovitz
Just last off-season Kantrovitz, 41 was tapped by Theo Epstein as the next Chicago Cubs VP of Scouting. Before that he was a finalist for the Phillies opening in 2015 and previously found success working in the front office for two of the most well regarded organizations in baseball.
- St. Louis Cardinals Director of Scouting 2012-2014
- Oakland A’s Assistant GM 2014-2019
It’s rare that an executive who reaches the Assistant GM position takes a step back to run a scouting department. Hiring Kantrovtiz, who’s passion lies in unearthing and developing young talent would fill an enormous hole for the Phillies who have failed to routinely find success in the draft.
Kantrovitz, who holds degrees from Harvard and Brown has been on the cutting edge of baseball’s increased use of advanced analytics
I know, I know! I can already hear the Philadelphia fan base groaning from their leather recliners while having flashbacks to Gabe Kapler switching pitchers four times in the 6th inning because the numbers suggested he do so.
But in Kantrovitz the Phillies would be getting a young successful talent evaluator who has the ability to blend traditional scouting with analytics. Just look at his quote when pressed on the topic after taking the Cubs job last year.
“There’s no substitute for a pure, unadulterated scouting opinion on a player, a scout’s feel, a scout’s instinct, That’s nothing you can simulate with a computer.”
I would much prefer him to the current front runner for the job JJ Picollo. Picollo who currently serves as Assistant GM for the Royals, is naturally seen as a good fit for the job because he is a native of Cherry Hill, NJ and here it comes…..has a close working relationship with the current front office and former Phillies Assistant GM Mike Arbuckle.
Sure, Piccolo found success in Kansas City while overseeing their scouting and player development department. But the Royals are a mess who since making two consecutive trips to the fall classic have been uncompetitive and currently sport a lackluster farm system.
It would be such the typical losing Phillies move for John Middleton to take consul in a fired former front office member. It almost makes me cringe just thinking about the two talking up Piccolo while sharing a couple of Black & Mild’s.
”It’s perfect” Middleton would chuckle nodding to Arbuckle and MacPhail as he took the first drag of his traditional cigarrillo. “He wouldn’t even have to move. He already has a home here”
Instead the Phillies should save themselves another ten years of sub .500 baseball and hire their next general manager in Dan Kantrovitz.