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Re: Phillies
« Reply #4545 on: November 17, 2020, 09:33:12 AM »

Oh, the Mets and Phillies are aiming high. Mets president Sandy Alderson said he wants to hire the, “most accomplished baseball person we can find.” New owner Steve Cohen added, “I’m not crazy about people learning on my dime.” And the Phillies, according to a source, are seeking the front-office equivalent of manager Joe Girardi, a proven winner and preferably a World Series champion.

The Giants had the same lofty goals when they began searching for a new president of baseball operations two years ago, intending to hire their own Theo Epstein or Andrew Friedman, a “No. 1.” When that type of executive was not available, they turned to Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi, who had been the No. 2 under Friedman.

The average fan probably assumes an accomplished small-market executive would jump at the chance to join the Mets or Phillies, but often that is not the case. So, while each team harbors visions of hiring both a president of baseball operations and GM, it’s possible both will end up needing to adjust their plans.

“It’s not easy if you’re going to hire from a different team, because leaders of baseball operations are very important positions that don’t tend to turn over that often,” Giants CEO Larry Baer said. “These leaders build cultures inside their own organizations. It’s an onerous task going out and finding the right person.”

A number of factors enter into the equation. Many of today’s executives have young children, making them reluctant to relocate. As Baer said, many place significant value on workplace culture and loyalty. And even those execs eager to advance their careers are not always free to depart, not when their owners can deny permission for them to interview with other clubs if they are under contract.

“A lot of ownership groups right now – and this has changed over the past decade, maybe over the past five or eight years – are looking at executives as competitive advantages or disadvantages,” one current executive says. “They’re treating us a little bit differently now. In some ways that’s good because it has meant escalating salaries for all of us. In some ways it’s a challenge because it limits movement.”

The Mets and Phillies are looking at some of the same candidates for their front-office openings. But while both are high-revenue clubs that play in the NL East, the perceptions of each franchise within the industry are markedly different.

The Mets, now that Cohen and Alderson are in control, are viewed as a behemoth about to awaken. The Phillies, who finally seem ready to actively pursue replacements for fired GM Matt Klentak and outgoing team president Andy MacPhail, are seen as less appealing.

Consider the perspective of one executive who has interviewed for GM openings in recent years.

“The Mets job is the jewel job right now. I don’t think of the Phillies job in the same way,” the executive said. “One thing I think everyone understands is that in New York, you can depend on Sandy to let you do the job right. It’s a big job, and it’s a unique market. I look at Philadelphia as a great market, but it’s not a great job right now.”

The exec reasoned that the Phillies are past the phase of their rebuild where they bottomed out and had five consecutive top 10 picks from 2014 to ’18. Yet they now have gone nine seasons since their last postseason appearance. Third baseman Alec Bohm is their only surefire star on the rise. And their roster is top-heavy, leaving minimal payroll flexibility.

“They have some good players,” the exec said. “But I don’t know that they’re that far ahead of where they were when they started (their rebuild).”

The Mets’ major-league roster is deeper and more talented, particularly with the Phillies facing the potential losses of catcher J.T. Realmuto and shortstop Didi Gregorius in free agency. The Mets’ farm system, while hardly among the game’s best, ranks ahead of the Phils’. Then there is Cohen, who caught the attention of the entire industry with the passion and commitment he displayed at his introductory news conference. And, oh did we mention, Cohen’s net worth is $14.6 billion?

Yet, for all the Mets’ advantages, the pool of available executives might not be deep enough for them to hire two top decision-makers to work under Alderson, at least not right away. One possibility is that they will land only a GM, leaving Alderson, who turns 73 on Sunday, to assume more responsibility on the baseball side until they can round out their front office.

So, what names are likely to surface as these two teams go through the interview process? The following list of candidates is intended to be comprehensive, but with this caveat: In a game that often is full of surprising hires, such as the White Sox’s naming of Tony La Russa as manager, or even the Marlins’ selection of Kim Ng as GM, it is not necessarily complete.

Theo Epstein, president of baseball operations, Cubs
“The obvious name,” for both the Mets and Phillies, one executive says, mostly because Epstein has signaled he will not be with the Cubs beyond the end of the 2021 season. Those familiar with Epstein’s thinking, however, say he will not leave for another team this offseason, and might not want to join another club in a similar role after his contract expires. The Mets are not going to wait for him, and the Phillies would not be assured of landing him even if they effectively punted ’21 while leaving their top job open.

The more likely path for Epstein might be to form an ownership group with like-minded people and/or longtime associates, then attempt to purchase a club. Epstein, who turns 47 on Dec. 29, could serve that team as a CEO, similar to Mark Shapiro with the Blue Jays, while staying largely out of the day-to-day grind. Such an opportunity would not be available immediately, but after working 19 consecutive seasons in the Red Sox’s and Cubs’ pressure cookers, Epstein might welcome a break.

Chris Antonetti, president, Indians
On the surface, the idea of Antonetti leaving for New York or Philadelphia makes sense.

Antonetti, 45, might be tired of trying to do more with less in Cleveland. The budget-minded Indians could lop off his salary and replace him with general manager Mike Chernoff, who is so highly regarded in the industry that he, too, is a logical candidate for the Mets and Phillies.

Yet, numerous baseball people who have spoken to Antonetti believe he has little interest in leaving the Indians, his employer since 1999. It’s not that Antonetti fears the challenge of a larger market; his peers say he is as competitive as any executive. Those same peers, though, say he also is paid well, enjoys considerable latitude from ownership and relishes his relationships in the organization. Uprooting his family for the day-to-day intensity of a high-profile, east-coast franchise is not necessarily a trade he wants to make.

Mike Chernoff, general manager, Indians
Imagine talk-show hosts for WFAN Radio in New York ripping Chernoff for a poor trade when his father, Mark, is a senior vice-president for Entercom who oversees the station. It could happen if Mike, a native of Livingston, N.J., and graduate of Princeton, returned home to work for the Mets. And the Phillies would be nearly as appealing for him geographically.

Those in the game who know Chernoff, however, say that like Antonetti, he does not necessarily value his career path over other considerations – family, lifestyle, the Indians’ workplace environment. Could the Mets, in particular, make him an offer he couldn’t refuse? Of course. But for Chernoff, it would not be a slam-dunk decision.

Michael Hill, former president of baseball operations, Marlins
The Angels interviewed Hill for GM before hiring Perry Minasian. The Mets made him their first known interview for president of baseball operations. The Phillies plan to interview him for that position as well, sources say.

By hiring Ng, the Marlins made Hill, 49, the answer to a trivia question: Who is the executive who preceded the first woman to lead a major-league team’s baseball operations? But before Hill’s uncomfortable departure, which resulted in part from his refusal to accept a significant pay cut, he had emerged as a candidate for Executive of the Year, steering the team through its outbreak of COVID-19 and helping it reach the postseason for the first time since 2003.

The hiring of Ng was a major step forward for a league that has talked openly about wanting to increase the number of minorities in front offices. Hill’s current unemployment, however, leaves White Sox executive vice-president Ken Williams as the only Black executive with decision-making power in baseball operations. Three other non-whites – Ng, Zaidi and Tigers GM Al Avila – hold the same types of positions.

Erik Neander, general manager, Rays
Neander, 37, would be at the top of both the Mets’ and Phillies’ lists, if only he was available. The Angels inquired about him for their GM opening, but the Rays responded by saying they would not permit him to interview. They do not want to lose their top executive and Neander does not wish to leave the organization.

Why would the Rays treat Neander differently than Andrew Friedman, who left for the Dodgers; Chaim Bloom, who left for the Red Sox; and James Click, who left for the Astros? For one thing, Neander is under contract; Friedman, in contrast, was at the end of the deal. Bloom and Click, meanwhile, left for clear promotions.

David Stearns, president of baseball operations, Brewers
Stearns, a New York City native who grew up a Mets fan and once worked for the club as an intern, would appear a natural fit for his hometown team. The Brewers, though, view Stearns the same way the Rays view Neander, and according to sources will not allow him to leave for another club.

Owner Mark Attanasio’s stance is consistent with the approach he took in 2018, when he denied Stearns permission to interview with the Giants. Since then, Attanasio has promoted Stearns from GM to president of baseball operations and signed him to an extension with multiple years remaining.

The Brewers, thin at the major-league level and sitting on the worst farm system in the majors, according to Baseball America, appear headed for a downturn. Assistant GM Matt Arnold would be a ready-made replacement for Stearns, just as Chernoff would be for Antonetti in Cleveland. But the Brewers have made three straight postseason appearances for the first time in club history, albeit with a 29-31 record in an expanded field this season. Attanasio has no interest in losing the architect of the franchise’s revival.

Mark Shapiro, president/CEO, Blue Jays
One rival exec views Shapiro as precisely the type of process-oriented leader who might appeal to the Mets, but don’t count on such a move happening. Working under Alderson would be a step down for Shapiro, who enjoys rare autonomy under the Rogers Communication ownership, and even represents the team at owners’ meetings.

Shapiro, 53, relishes his opportunity to impact the game from a global perspective, an opportunity virtually no other team can offer. His original five-year contract expired at the end of the 2020 season, but evidently he agreed to an extension of unknown length. The Jays are on the rise, and Shapiro wants to see the job through.

Brian Sabean, executive vice-president, Giants
Sabean, 64, holds a fancy title, but none of the power he enjoyed while constructing the Giants’ World Series champions in 2010, ’12 and ’14. Zaidi became the team’s head of baseball operations after the 2018 season, and the buzz around the industry is that Sabean again is itching for a decision-making role.

The Mets under Alderson almost certainly would prefer a candidate with a stronger background in analytics. The Phillies, after their failures under Klentak, might lean more toward a greater balance between scouting and data. Like every team, they still would use analytics, but probably weigh them differently than more data-driven clubs.

If the Phillies hired Sabean, they also could bring aboard his former assistant (and former Dodgers GM) Ned Colletti. Before breaking into baseball, Colletti, was – egads! – a sportswriter who covered hockey for the now-defunct Philadelphia Journal.

Former Cubs GM Jim Hendry, a special assistant with the Yankees, also might be a consideration for the Phillies, considering his relationship with MacPhail from their days together in Chicago. Former Diamondbacks and Padres GM Josh Byrnes, the Dodgers’ senior VP of baseball operations, isn’t motivated to leave but might be a fit, particularly with the Mets. Former Rockies GM Dan O’Dowd, now with MLB Network, is yet another experienced option. (Editor’s note: Ken Rosenthal and Jayson Stark also work for MLB Network.)

Dave Dombrowski, adviser, Music City Baseball
The Phillies want to win a World Series while Bryce Harper, 28, is in his prime. Few executives are more adept than Dombrowski at taking a team on the cusp of winning and expending the resources necessary to produce an instant contender. There’s just one problem: Dombrowski, 64, is not wavering from his commitment to the group that is trying to bring a team to Nashville, either through expansion or relocation.

Music City signed Dombrowski to a four-year contract, and earlier this month the longtime executive told The Athletic that he is not pursuing other opportunities. He reaffirmed that stance over the weekend, so forget about the Phillies hiring the man who built the 2003 Marlins and 2018 Red Sox into World Series champions.

Thad Levine, general manager, Twins
Levine, the No. 2 to Twins president of baseball operations Derek Falvey, is from northern Virginia and attended Haverford College just outside of Philadelphia. He is one of several possible candidates with ties to Philly. Royals assistant GM J.J. Picollo and Dodgers assistant GM Jeff Kingston both are from South Jersey. Kingston was a finalist for the Angels’ job. Picollo also interviewed with the Angels, as well as the Phillies in 2015.

Of the three, Levine would be the most logical fit as a president of baseball operations. The Twins expect the Phillies to request permission to interview him. The question is whether Levine, 49, would prefer to remain in a role he enjoys, one that allows him day-to-day engagement with players and other team personnel, as opposed to a president of baseball operations job that entails greater big-picture responsibilities.

David Forst, general manager, Athletics
Like Antonetti, Forst chose not to pursue the Angels’ opening. He is happy in his current job, and in line to be promoted if executive vice-president Billy Beane leaves the franchise – a distinct possibility under the proposed merger of Red Sox owner John Henry’s Fenway Sports Group with a company Beane co-chairs, RedBall Acquisition Corp.

Might Forst abandon his desire to stay in the Bay Area for the chance to reunite with Alderson, who was a senior advisor the past two seasons with the A’s? It’s not out of the question, but the best guess is that Forst will remain in Oakland.

Billy Owens, assistant GM, Athletics
Owens, who previously interviewed with the Giants for the job that went to Zaidi in 2018 and with the Phillies for the job that Klentak got in 2015, is perhaps the leading Black candidate outside of Hill, who was a top Marlins executive from 2007 to ’20.

“I’ll talk about Billy Owens anytime, anywhere,” Williams said. “When I think of the best evaluators in the game, the people that know the history of players, where they’ve been, where they currently are and where they’re headed, I don’t know of a time where his name hasn’t been in the forefront of my mind.”

Owens, 49, is more suited to be a GM than a president of baseball operations, and initially might need help on the administrative side. But many first-time GMs require veteran complements, in the same way that first-time managers require experienced bench coaches. Alderson, after spending the past two seasons with the Athletics, is familiar with Owens, whose ebullient personality likely would play well in New York.

While Owens is perhaps the most prominent minority candidate, he is not the only one. Pirates assistant GM Kevan Graves and Red Sox assistant GM Eddie Romero both are potential GM material, and Cardinals assistant GM Moises Rodriguez figures to be soon. Graves interviewed with the Pirates and Giants last offseason.

Jared Porter, Amiel Sawdaye, assistant GMs, Diamondbacks
No, they are not a package deal. They are separate candidates who happen to work for the same team. Both Porter and Sawdaye were finalists for the Angels, and both could fit in that role for the Mets or Phillies. Porter works more on the pro side with the Diamondbacks, Sawdaye more on the amateur side. But both fulfill wide-ranging responsibilities and are highly regarded within the industry.

Sawdaye previously interviewed for decision-making positions with the Giants and Blue Jays. Porter has declined other interview opportunities in the past.

Billy Eppler, former general manager, Angels
It’s probably too soon to anticipate the return of Eppler, who presided over five consecutive losing seasons before the Angels fired him on Sept. 27. But many in the industry attribute some of Eppler’s problems to the difficulty of working for owner Arte Moreno. He mostly traded well, rebuilt the Angels’ farm system and, in the biggest coup of his tenure, successfully wooed Shohei Ohtani.

Eppler, Brian Cashman’s former assistant GM with the Yankees, understands what it’s like to work in New York, making him potentially attractive to the Mets, particularly in a role secondary to Alderson. He also worked with Joe Girardi during his time with the Yankees, a part of his resumé that might increase his appeal to the Phillies.

It isn’t known exactly which of these names are on the lists the two teams have assembled, but we’ll be hearing many of them as the candidates begin to surface. Then comes the truly fascinating part: Seeing who the Mets and Phillies actually hire.
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PhillyPhreak54

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Re: Phillies
« Reply #4546 on: November 17, 2020, 10:30:15 AM »

Depressing.

Middleton is a fraud. All that chest thumping of spending money and wanting the trophy back and he's done jack shtein. The cherry on top is them bleating about the pandemic being why they're not hiring a GM. Get the farg outta here with that.
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MDS

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Re: Phillies
« Reply #4547 on: November 17, 2020, 11:12:14 AM »

he spent plenty of money. they had the 7th highest payroll in 2020. the issue is they spent it stupidly.

larger issue is they hired 2 buffoons to run the team who have now put them in an impossible spot to win - without middleton buying his way out of it. they drafted and developed talent incredibly poorly over the past 5-7 years. then they spent a bunch of money, locking themselves into old, decent players who are surrounded by nothing.

its the worst place for a team to be. mediocre with no place to go.
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Re: Phillies
« Reply #4548 on: November 17, 2020, 11:21:57 AM »

See also: Eagles, Sixers (although Morey is a ray of hope)
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Re: Phillies
« Reply #4549 on: November 17, 2020, 11:32:37 AM »

the eagles at least can turn it around, theoretically, in like 2 years because of the nature of the draft and how quickly young talent translates.

the phillies are hopelessly mediocre and its going to take *years* to influx the farm system with good players. they have god damn nothing down there.
to me they have 2 options
-pepper the team with 1-2 year FA deals thatll maybe keep them competitive but decrease cancer stick's bank account, while still giving them flexibility for the future
-blow it up. trade harper, wheeler, nola, eflin. you make the right trades, you can be very good and have salary space to spend in 2023.
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Zero hour, Michael. It's the end of the line. I'm the firstborn. I'm sick of playing second fiddle. I'm always third in line for everything. I'm tired of finishing fourth. Being the fifth wheel. There are six things I'm mad about, and I'm taking over.
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