PHILADELPHIA — Matt Klentak’s inability to lead the Philadelphia Phillies into the postseason or possibly a single winning season cost him his job as general manager.
Klentak stepped down following a third consecutive September collapse left the group from the postseason for the ninth consecutive period. The 40-year old will probably be reassigned to a different position in the business, and Ned Rice will serve as interim general manager until the Phillies employ someone else to conduct baseball operations.
“We’ve made progress, but we haven’t made enough progress fast enough,” Phillies managing spouse John Middleton said.
Klentak has been hired in October 2015 by group president Andy MacPhail after serving as assistant general manager for its Los Angeles Angels for four seasons. The Phillies have been 326-382 in five seasons under Klentak.
Beyond that, the company has fought to develop talent from the minors leagues. The Phillies had the worst bullpen ERA in the majors that year, and it did not enhance after Klentak obtained four veterans from trades. Each of these relievers pitched badly after their birth.
“I think the problem the Phillies have had for 100 years is they don’t evaluate talent,” Middleton stated, mentioning two phases of successful participant growth round the World Series championship teams in 1980 and 2008. “That’s a problem that’s haunted us. It was the No. 1 mandate I gave Andy and Matt when they came in and we’re better than we were, but we aren’t nearly good enough.”
Klentak’s largest move was enrolling Bryce Harper into some $330 million, 13-year agreement, although Middleton played a significant part in that. Klentak also obtained catcher J.T. Realmuto in the Miami Marlins, trading off top pitching prospect Sixto Sanchez for him.
But Klentak failed to signal Realmuto into a contract extension, and he’s set to be a free agent following the World Series.
Middleton stated he accepted coping Sanchez according to being advised by his baseball individuals the group could contribute Realmuto the expansion. But Middleton also stated he does not hold it against Klentak he neglected to re-sign Realmuto.
Middleton added signing Realmuto remains a priority, however, monetary problems related to COVID-19 are a variable.
“Can you tell me what the governor and the mayor of Philadelphia are going to allow us to have next year in the way of fans, because if you do, you know something that I don’t,” Middleton said. “I have no idea what we’re going to be allowed. And obviously, that’s going to determine revenues, and revenues determines what you can do and what you can’t do.”
Klentak inherited Pete Mackanin as boss and made a change following the 2017 season, hiring Gabe Kapler. The Phillies went 161-163 below Kapler earlier Middleton overruled Klentak and MacPhail and fired Kapler previous year. First-year supervisor Joe Girardi has been 28-32 this year.
The Phillies went 1-7 in their final eight matches. They would have made the postseason with just two wins from these eight matches.
“While I am disappointed that we failed to reach our ultimate goal, I am nevertheless very proud of the progress that this organization made over the last five years and of the people who worked so hard to make it happen,” Klentak said. “I am grateful for all of the support that I received along the way from Phillies ownership, friends and colleagues, and our loyal Phillies fans.”