Before the beginning of this Major League Baseball season, the Philadelphia Phillies silently extended contracts for General Manager Matt Klentak and Team President Andy MacPhail. MacPhail signed an extension back in 2017 that runs through 2021, which went unannounced. In March, Klentak signed his extension that runs through 2022, which was kept quiet. The Phillies find themselves underachieving currently with the lineup they have but have the talking heads signed for another two and three years.
The timeframe when Matt Klentak had his contract extended makes sense. Bryce Harper just touched down in Philadelphia and Andrew McCutchen was signed. JT Realmuto and Jean Segura were traded for and acquired by the Philadelphia Phillies. Good moves were made! Being aggressive about the lineup was important as Philadelphia has improved this season, but the wins aren’t rolling out as the front office, players, and fanbase expected. There are different variables to that result, but electing not to put any real money to the bullpen or the starting rotation is haunting.
Most of the Philadelphia Phillies bullpen went down with their injuries, which left the Phillies handcuffed while trying to bail out the starting rotation. David Robertson was the bullpen relief pitcher that Philadelphia signed this past offseason. He signed a two year deal with the Phillies and only has pitched about six innings of baseball in 2019. Philadelphia’s bullpen has an ERA of 4.97 and because of that, they are among the most unreliable when put in the scenario to bail out the starting pitchers. Aaron Nola is the only arm in the starting rotation keeping the Phillies in the game. Zach Eflin has shown potential with complete games, but he wouldn’t be a second in rotation on most teams. Jake Arrieta may have one of the worst contracts in Philadelphia currently, while Vince Velasquez and Jerad Eickhoff both have an ERA over 5.
It seems to me that Matt Klentak’s extension came at the time when everyone in Philadelphia had hope as high as the victory music in Citizens Bank Park. The Philadelphia Phillies put their priorities and eggs into the basket of surrounding themselves with bats. At the moment, we couldn’t blame them. Everyone was neck-deep in Bryce Harper pandamonium. However, as a fellow fan, it has been blatantly obvious that the Phillies needed pitching for years now. Since that hasn’t been addressed, it’s hard to justify why Andy MacPhail’s contract was extended.
This partnership of Andy MacPhail and Matt Klentak is one that I wouldn’t have ultimately extended. At least not both of them. Klentak, alongside John Middleton, lines up at the right frame of time where he gets away with a contract extension. However, nothing of worth shows for MacPhail to deserve the extension through 2021. MacPhail seems checked out this season, but as ugly as the team has looked at times this season, they still maintain a winning record. The comment of “if we don’t, we don’t” from MacPhail about the Philadelphia Phillies playoff chances is not the leadership required.
I was in section 111, row 15, seat 4 for the Philadelphia Phillies rally against the Los Angeles Dodgers on July 16th, 2019. It was a great night and the true fans braved the rain. Many Dodgers fans packed Citizens Bank Park. Bryce Harper gave the hit to drive in two runs and steal the win. There was a lot of good from the players who fought for that win, but a 6-1 lead was surrendered. One person had a sign in the crowd, pleading to get Joe Girardi to become the manager now. As it stands, we are stuck with Andy MacPhail and Matt Klentak. After 2021, I don’t see MacPhail keeping a job with the Phillies. Philadelphia is a work in progress still, but progress needs to be made. Currently, with these silent extensions, the Phillies are treading in deep water.
Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports