JJ Picollo a strong contender for Phillies GM role

General view of the sunset over Citizens Bank Park during the fifth inning of a game between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Miami Marlins.
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

With the Philadelphia Phillies searching for a general manager, a familiar name continues to crop up as a potential fit for the position.

MLB Network’s JP Morosi reported on Sunday that the Phillies are “again” considering JJ Picollo for the GM role.

Picollo, who has worked as the Kansas City Royals’ vice president and assistant general manager of player personnel since 2015 — the year they won the World Series. The 49-year-old has been with the Royals since 2006 where he worked closely with player development throughout.

While the Royals are a small-market team who have been one of the worst in baseball in recent years, they made consecutive World Series appearances in 2014 and 2015 on the shoulders of players Picollo identified and worked with, including Alex Gordon, Mike Moustakas, Salvador Perez, Eric Hosmer, and Lorenzo Cain.

Picollo began his MLB career with the Atlanta Braves in 1999 as the Assistant Director of Player Development before being promoted to Director of Minor League Operations in 2005 where he would stay for one year before joining Kansas City.

Following the Royals World Series triumph over the Mets five years ago, Picollo was a candidate for the Phillies’ vacant general-manager job, which was filled by Klentak.

While the former Phillies GM brought in impressive players, his regime couldn’t develop a suitable supporting cast — a large reason why Philadelphia hasn’t seen the postseason since 2011.

Now in another GM search, Phillies owner John Middleton looks as though player development is at the very top of his list, as he referenced to earlier this month.

“I think the problem the Phillies have had for a hundred years is they don’t evaluate talent well,” Middleton said.  “It’s the acquisition and development of talent that is critical, so I’ll be looking for people who can do that and have proven that they can do that. That’s where my target is.”

That certainly would seem to make Picollo a favorite for the job just over two weeks after Klentak stepped down from the position.

 

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