Phillies make Sam Fuld their new GM

Mar 23, 2018; Bradenton, FL, USA; Philadelphia Phillies Sam Fuld (5) against the Pittsburgh Pirates at LECOM Park. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 23, 2018; Bradenton, FL, USA; Philadelphia Phillies Sam Fuld (5) against the Pittsburgh Pirates at LECOM Park. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /

The Philadelphia Phillies have finally made a move, as they have hired former player Sam Fuld as their new GM

It took a couple of months, but the Philadelphia Phillies have finally filled in the blanks on their 2021 leadership team.

Phillies President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski on Tuesday announced the hiring of Sam Fuld as the club’s new general manager. Like Km Ng, hired as GM by the Miami Marlins earlier this off-season, Fuld is one of those perennial contenders who is finally getting a shot at a top management job.

Fuld, who is 39, is an internal hire, having been with the Phillies since 2017, first as the team’s player information coordinator and then its director of integrative baseball performance.

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It also puts him in a position to eventually succeed Dombrowski as president. Dombrowski has been a general manager or team president for four previous teams — Montreal, Florida, Detroit and Boston – dating back to the 1980s. But he was 64 years old when the Phillies named him their team president earlier this month.

Dombrowski himself raised that possibility in introducing Fuld. “I have a lot of energy and I look to do this for a while,” Dombrowski said. “I’m not, though, 44. I’m 64. And if I’m doing my job correctly, and we’re doing our job correctly, as Sam progresses, he will be the guy making those types of decisions, the final decisions.”

Fuld’s hiring is interesting in one particular sense; he is a former player. There was a time when being a former player was the prime pre-requisite for becoming a GM. As recently as 1991, seven former players ran major league teams.

But that pattern changed when the Boston Red Sox hired Theo Epstein – a Yale grad with no on-field baseball experience – in 2002, and it has only accelerated since then. Fuld, who played eight seasons with the Cubs, Rays, A’s, and Twins between 2007 and 2015, joins Seattle’s Jerry DiPoto and Texas’ Chris Young as the only former players to sit as a GM. And Young was just hired a few days ago. Billy Beane, another former player, is president of baseball ops in Oakland, although David Forst is the team’s general manager.

In fact, he combines the athletic and academic sides of baseball management in a way that perhaps no former GM has done. Fuld is a Stanford graduate whose focus since leaving the playing field has been on translating sports science to on-field performance.

“I’m really ecstatic to get to work under [Dombrowski] and work for him and in any way that I can make him better from my own experiences, whether that’s as a player or in ways that I’ve been exposed to some of the newer ideas and methodologies in this game,” Fuld said.

He also talked about the idea of helping the Phillies win a championship. “I want to have one (ring) myself,” he said. “I didn’t get an opportunity as a player to put one on. I played in the playoffs a few times, but I am really hungry, really thirsty for a championship. I know a lot of Phillies fans out there are, too.”

Coming up with the Cubs in 2007, Fuld was a career .227 hitter known for his hustle and defensive abilities. Offensively his best season came with the came in 2014. With the Athletics and Twins, he batted .239 in 40 games, driving in 36 runs.

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He joined the Phillies after being released by the Athletics at the end of the 2016 season.