If you include the good and acceptable decision-making with the questionable and poor acquisitions, does Phillies general manager Matt Klentak deserve harsh criticism for not living up to your expectations?
For the Philadelphia Phillies faithful, many point to bad signings, unpopular trades, unorthodox moves, and lack of immediate promotions from an empty farm system (third base?). Let that last one sink in! Basically, they expect only excellent and fast deals –who has that luck?– but ignore the obvious potholes of Klentak’s position.
"IN OTHER WORDS: “There is no black-and-white situation. It’s all part of life. Highs, lows, middles.” – Van Morrison"
Based on execs’ standard procedures, this article doesn’t rate a winner or loser in a swap or inking, but it determines if the player accomplished what the front office had added him for. However, many moves don’t require more than a season or two to evaluate, while others need more time to reach a conclusion.
When an experienced GM takes the helm, he must firstly become familiar with a new roster. Alex Anthopoulos took that approach when he joined the Atlanta Braves after leaving the Toronto Blue Jays. As for rookie Klentak, he dealt a young closer for five hurlers and signed two veteran starters for 2016.
The higher-up in 2017 had traded for two veteran arms: a starter and a setup man, whom he moved at the July deadline. Realistically, he acquired prospects for the reliever and the veteran who headed the pitching staff in ’16. Klentak, also, made the annual boatload of minor transactions in his second campaign.
In 2018, the GM was ready to ink free agents: a starter, a slugger and two setup men. And he had four youngsters among the everyday eight because he had swapped a regular for a Triple-A rotation piece. At the trading deadline, he replaced rookies at short and catching with veterans, but his strategy couldn’t prevent a decline.
Last winter, the Fightins made five deals: They picked up a .300 hitter, a top-tier fireman, an All-Star catcher, an outfielder, and three bullpen pieces and moved a slugger, a green infielder and a pen flamethower. Plus managing partner John S. Middleton negotiated a massive contract with Scott Boras for a slugging outfielder.
Unfortunately, the red pinstripes lost their entire relief corps to injury except for two healthy arms, and management could only add available relievers to plug those holes. As for the offseason before ’20, they had landed a top starter and a left-handed bat with power but disappointed their fan base nonetheless.