The Philadelphia Phillies have awarded assistant general manager Ned Rice with a two-year extension, according to a report by the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Matt Breen on Thursday.
Rice spent two months this offseason performing as the Phillies’ interim general manager after Matt Klentak stepped down from the position in early October and was re-assigned to a new role within the organization.
The 36-year-old has been a protegee of sorts under Klentak. They worked together with the Baltimore Orioles under current Phillies president Andy MacPhail. When Klentak was hired as the Phillies’ general manager before the 2016 season, he brought Rice with him.
He was considered Klentak’s right-hand man over the previous five seasons, though the Phillies were unable to piece together a team that could end a playoff drought that has now spanned nine years.
While Klentak was reassigned, Rice performed under the tag of interim until Sam Fuld was promoted to general manager in December upon the arrival of Dave Dombrowski as team president. He made just three transactions as interim GM — all waiver claims — and they are no longer with the organization.
Now, Rice is one of four assistant general managers working under Fuld in a new-look front office that exceeded initial expectations that once forecasted a grim offseason.
After it was reported that the Phillies lost $145 million during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, it was believed that they did not have the funds to re-sign their top free agents in catcher JT Realmuto and Didi Gregorius. Rumors also swirled that they were taking trade calls on Zack Wheeler, whom they signed to a five-year, $118 million just one year ago.
But the arrival of Dombrowski and the eventual promotion of Fuld saw the Phillies go in a new direction — going from cost-cutting to roster preserving.
They were able to retain Realmuto with a five-year, $115.5 million deal before securing Gregorius to a two-year, $28 million pact. Philadelphia also addressed its league-worst bullpen from last season, most notably signing Archie Bradley.