Andy MacPhail is set up for success in Philadelphia.
On Jun. 26, the Phillies officially announced a major move that had been rumored for weeks. Andy MacPhail was hired as a special assistant to Pat Gillick and will take control of the franchise as the team’s president following the conclusion of the 2015 season. After that day’s press conference, it is clear MacPhail is the correct choice to lead the Phillies forward.
Throughout his press conference, MacPhail showed leadership and savvy. He and team owner John Middleton clearly articulated their combined vision forward for the Phillies. MacPhail recognized that he is not a leader in the sabermetric field, but emphasized the need to hire people who understand the importance of advanced analysis and statistics. The Phillies also announced they will have their own proprietary database, nicknamed PHIL, ready by the end of September. The Phillies under MacPhail seem poised to embrace advanced analytics into their decision-making process.
MacPhail has also entered the Phillies situation with an open mind. He will come into the organization and observe for three months. He isn’t coming in with a blow torch to dismantle everything at an absolutely crucial time for the Phillies. With the trade deadline less than a month away, it would be absolutely foolish to go into the trade deadline without a GM. Ruben Amaro Jr., who has laid some serious groundwork for trades, will have authority to conduct trades, but those trades will be signed off by both Gillick and MacPhail.
Perhaps the most important news out of the press conference announcing new leadership is that John Middleton has publicly pledged Andy MacPhail any resource he needs in order to return the Phillies to contention. This could speed up the Phillies’ rebuilding process. Signing a young outfielder like Jason Heyward or Justin Upton in free agency this upcoming off-season is now definitely on the table. Returning to contention in 2017 is now entirely possible and most likely the goal for the Phillies franchise.
Most importantly for Andy MacPhail is he takes over a Phillies team that has quietly been building a solid farm system the past three years. JP Crawford, Aaron Nola, Roman Quinn, Zach Eflin and Jesse Biddle should all join Maikel Franco in Philadelphia by the end of the 2016 season. The next core is close to emerging.
The most difficult tasks for MacPhail will be hiring a new GM and new manager. While the Phillies have publicly supported Amaro, it seems likely that MacPhail will want to bring in someone new as GM. There are plenty of candidates throughout the league and MacPhail should be able to get his top candidate. The Phillies GM job should be very attractive with the young talent they are collecting and amount of money they will have to spend.
Hiring a manager is also crucial. It will have to be someone who is skilled in player development, as the previously mentioned players will be breaking into the majors in the near future. Candidates such as Bud Black and Ron Gardenhire will likely be at the top of the list of candidates, but it is unknown if they are willing to endure a year or two of rebuilding.
Ultimately, Andy MacPhail should be successful during his tenure in Philadelphia. He has two World Series Championships on his resume and has helped build three franchises into playoff contenders. MacPhail is a well respected executive who will hire the right employees to work with him. For Phillies fans, MacPhail represents a real hope for a bright future.
Edited by Emily Berman.
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