How will a change in leadership impact a crucial Phillies offseason?

MLB: AUG 25 Phillies at Nationals
WASHINGTON, DC – AUGUST 25: Philadelphia Phillies catcher/DH J.T. Realmuto (10) finishes a swing as he watches a hit during the Philadelphia Phillies vs. Washington Nationals MLB game at Nationals Park on August 25, 2020 in Washington, D.C.. (Photo by Randy Litzinger/Icon Sportswire)

In a shocking turn of events, ex-Phillies general manager Matt Klentak has decided to resign from his position. The franchise took to social media to formally announce the puzzling decision:

Although Klentak’s overdue departure is worthy of excitement, both for the sake of the Phillies’ future and my overall mental health and well-being, I feel like the relief met with his resignation is buried by the surprising condition that he will remain within the organization.

I don’t believe myself to be in the minority when I say that I am flat out perplexed by his retention. After doing such an abysmal job as the Phillies lead guy, what does the front office hope to gain from retaining Klentak? What skill does he boast that they need more of?

Under his watch, the Phillies have doled out money in droves, aiming to buy their way into contention to no avail. In 2019, the Phillies carried the tenth-highest payroll in the league. Last season, their payroll increased once again and the team catapulted to the fifth-highest figure(!).

Despite Klentak’s heavy-spending, the Phillies posted a severely underwhelming 109-113 record during that span and failed to reach the postseason either year. Frankly, a poor return on investments was a theme that was far too common during the Klentak era.

Since being appointed general manager in 2015, Klentak has had very little success in the free-agent arena. Aside from signing Bryce Harper- which was basically just Klentak handing Harper a blank check and crossing his fingers- the polarizing ex-general manager left much to be desired.

And, again, the Phillies ​were​ spending the money, as their inflated payroll attests. Klentak, who has seemingly been in over his head from day one, simply never made the proper moves to spur a championship or even playoff run.

Offseason after offseason, the Phillies seemed to do the bare minimum in free agency, oftentimes disbursing money to veterans who were well past their primes (i.e Jake Arrieta and Andrew McCutchen. Last offseason, the final for Klentak as the Phillies general manager, was probably the worst one yet. Following a $403M outpour of free-agent spending in 2019, the Phillies handed out just TWO major-league contracts last winter. Two!

The Klentak-led front office’s complete unwillingness to pay up for premier talent was not only uncharacteristic of a big-market team but was the direct cause of the trainwreck that was the 2020 Phillies season.

As if he were allergic to free-agency, Klentak sat on his hands for an entire offseason, handicapping the Phillies in the process. While division rivals were retooling and preparing for a competitive season, Klentak failed to properly assess and address a single need on the Phils.

As a result, the struggling Phillies spiraled to the bottom of the standings as the Braves and Marlins(!!) punched their ticket to the postseason. Hired to usher in a championship era in Philadelphia, Klentak has instead made the team a laughing stock amongst their peers.

Now, after stepping down from his position, the Phillies will have to appoint someone to clean up the mess he left behind. In the meantime, Ned Rice, who has served as the Phillies assistant GM for the last several years, has been deemed the interim general manager until a successor is found.

The next candidate will certainly have their work cut out for them, though, as whoever steps in will no doubt be tasked with finalizing a J.T Realmuto extension and retooling the worst bullpen in league history- which is a lot easier said than done.

Regardless of replacement, though, the Phillies are far better off without Klentak running the show and I am very interested to see what candidates arise in the coming weeks.

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