The Phillies don’t seem too concerned in getting their front office in order any time soon. And that’s a dangerous game to be playing.
It’s been a month since Matt Klentak stepped down as Phillies general manager and since then, the franchise has done nothing to find a new one.
Names have made their way through the rumor mill — most notably Kansas City Royals assistant JJ Picollo — but the clock is ticking, and teams around Major League Baseball are getting ready to reload.
That means the Phillies’ almost-one-month window of monopoly over the executive market is about to disappear.
MLB Network’s Ken Rosenthal reported that the Los Angeles Angels have added Picollo — along with two other members of the Royals front office — on their list of potential GM targets.
There is also the New York Mets, who are looming as a bona fide big-time player on all markets after Major League Baseball owners and the New York City mayor gave their blessings on Friday for $14.6 billionaire Steve Cohen to take over the club.
It is expected that former agent turned general manager Brodie Van Wagenen will be shown the door, though no clear front-runner for a replacement has been identified as of yet.
In an attempt to explain why the Phillies have been so silent for the past month, team president Andy MacPhail blamed the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Who’s going to want to uproot in the middle of a pandemic?” he asked.
It appears no one told him of the moves made across the street at Wells Fargo Center where the Philadelphia 76ers recently hired Daryl Morey as their new president. That’s after they secured Doc Rivers as their head coach.
Seems like plenty of uprooting going on there with little issue.
If the Phillies continue to wait, the more their chances grow of losing out on their preferred general-managing choices. That’s obvious.
But what is such a head-scratcher is that the organization has begun to completely dismantle the bullpen — which is only fair because this was one of the worst units in baseball history during the 2020 season.
Free agency, though, has already started with big-name relievers testing the waters.
There is also the massive elephant in the room that is the future of JT Realmuto — the All-Star catcher that will also hit free agency. While he is one of the best position players available on the market, a potentially big payday could scare the Phillies away.
That could only put a strain on the relationship between the club and superstar outfielder Bryce Harper, who has been a boisterous proponent of the team retaining Realmuto.
Without a general manager, the Phillies and their front office are lacking solidarity and the one true vision that will turn this team from an expensive pretender to a legitimate contender. And it also leaves the team in limbo for far longer than they should be with such a pivotal 2021 season approaching.