The team described the move as a mutual decision.
Phillies announce Matt Klentak has stepped down as General Manager. pic.twitter.com/YanLLDkhUP— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) October 3, 2020
Klentak was hired by the team following the 2015 season. Ned Rice will serve as a the team’s interim general manager until the team finds a permanent replacement.
Phillies failed to make playoffs in 2020
The move comes days after the Phillies failed to make it into the postseason. Despite having star players like Bryce Harper, J.T. Realmuto and Aaron Nola, the team went just 28-32. The Phillies had a chance to rally and make the playoffs as the season came to a close, but they lost their final three games to the Tampa Bay Rays and were eliminated.
Following the regular season, Harper was asked whether Klentak should return as the team’s general manager. Harper avoided the question, saying he was thankful he doesn’t have to make that decision.
Bryce Harper was asked if GM Matt Klentak should return in 2021. "I mean, I'm not an owner," Harper said. "I'm glad I don't have to make those decisions."— Matt Gelb (@MattGelb) September 27, 2020
Harper has openly lobbied for the team — and Klentak — to sign Realmuto the entire season. The two sides were not able to come to an agreement during the season. Realmuto, 29, is set to be a free agent once the offseason begins. He’s expected to receive a sizable contract.
Phillies didn’t make playoffs with Matt Klentak
While Klentak’s tenure was filled with some exciting moves, the Phillies failed to make the playoffs with Klentak at the helm. The team came close multiple times, but collapsed in September. Under Klentak, the Phillies never finished higher than third place in the National League East.
That wasn’t necessarily due to lack of trying. Klentak signed Harper to a massive 13-year, $330 million contract, traded for Realmuto and brought in Zack Wheeler and Jake Arrieta on significant deals.
While those moves helped, the Phillies failed to plug other holes on the roster. The team’s bullpen ranked dead last in ERA in 2020, and has been an issue for years. On top of that, the team’s starting pitching depth hasn’t been particularly strong, and the Carlos Santana signing was a complete disaster.
Phillies and Angels looking for new general managers
Despite those issues, the Phillies should be an exciting destination for prospective general managers. The team’s core of Alex Bohm, Harper, Rhys Hoskins, Nola, Jean Segura and Wheeler is enticing. And it helps that the team has shown a willingness to spend money in the past. With the right additions, it’s not hard to see the Phillies as a contender in 2021.
The team will have competition from the Los Angeles Angels, however. The Angels are the only other team currently looking for a new GM, and the ability to manage a roster that features Shohei Ohtani, Anthony Rendon and Mike Trout might make the Angels a more tantalizing landing spot for candidates.
It will be up to Phillies’ brass to not only determine the right person to lead the team back to the postseason, but to convince that person the Phillies are the most desirable destination on the market.
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