It’s been over one month since Matt Klentak stepped down as the Philadelphia Phillies’ general manager, yet the club has yet to find a replacement as free agency opened this week and a pivotal offseason gets underway.
The delay has seen the Phillies’ monopoly over the GM search evaporate, as other teams have or are about to enter the fray of searching for promising and high-potential front-office talent.
Such a dangerous game could lead to the Phillies getting burned in the long run considering just how important this offseason is for them.
While the big story remains the potential retention of All-Star catcher JT Realmuto, the Phillies look as though they’re letting Didi Gregorius walk after not sending a qualifying offer his way. That will put the team in the thick of the shortstop market, as well, even if it’s for a temporary placeholder before Bryson Stott can make the jump to the majors.
Those are just more objectives to add to an offseason to-do list that is also headlined by finding some much-needed pitching help. The starting rotation needs dependable depth behind Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler while the bullpen was one of the worst units in MLB history, sporting an ERA over 7.00 in 2020.
It’s clear that there is plenty of work that needs to be done to make the Phillies a legitimate contender in what is expected to be a loaded NL East division. But how desirable is taking the role in Philadelphia compared to other GM openings — and potential vacancies — this offseason?
We rank them here:
1) New York Mets (potentially)
The Mets have a new owner in Steve Cohen and with it, an influx of cash that comes with the $14.6 billionaire’s arrival. He is by far the richest owner in Major League Baseball and is expected to use some of that wealth to make the Mets a well-rounded force in the National League.
It remains to be seen if the team will move on from GM Brodie Van Wagenen, but the general consensus is that new team president Sandy Alderson could shake up the front office when Cohen’s deal is officially closed.
Potential GM’s could see the Mets as a gold mine with an already talented core with the funds to improve the team quickly within a market that has a majority of its teams shedding salaries.
2) Philadelphia Phillies
Despite their laundry list of needs and the impending departure of JT Realmuto, the Philleis are still very much an appealing destination.
The pieces are already there in Bryce Harper, Rhys Hoskins, and Aaron Nola to create a promising core and this is still a large-enough club to spend cash and find the right deals to improve quickly — even if Realmuto opts not to return.
But there is also young talent in the likes of Spencer Howard, Alec Bohm, and Stott to offer a bright look at the future.
3) Cincinnati Reds (potentially)
President of baseball operations Dick Williams stepped down in October, leaving GM Nick Krall to overtake those duties.
That could open the door for Cincinnati to look for a new GM where they would oversee a team that made plenty of noise in the National League in 2020. While there is a good chance that they will lose soon-to-be NL Cy Young Award winner Trevor Bauer to free agency, this is a team that’s saturated with talent ranging from Nick Castellanos to Eugenio Suarez, to Luis Castillo, to Mike Moustakas.
4) Miami Marlins
Michael Hill was shown the door after the Marlins made the postseason for the first time since 2003. A shrewd move, but Derek Jeter is looking to create consistent contention from a franchise that has made the playoffs just three times in its existence.
A young roster has a deep farm system, but the Marlins are still minnows in the NL East and a small payroll won’t make a GM’s job any easier.
5) Los Angeles Angels
On paper, the Angels should be a desirable location. After all, they have the greatest baseball player on the planet in Mike Trout along with an All-Star in Anthony Rendon.
But Arte Moreno is an overbearing owner that constantly sticks his nose in the GM’s business and the pressure to finally meet expectations and win will be overwhelming.