Philadelphia Phillies general manager Matt Klentak has a job to do this season that can make or break his tenure with the team. On the one hand, he has a decent core roster to work with which can be upgraded into a championship caliber team. On the other hand, he has stiff competition for the top talent on this year’s free agent market, and despite wads of cash to throw at them, the Yankees, Red Sox, Cubs, Dodgers, and Astros have a lot of money and cap room too. The ace up his sleeve is ownership wants a contender now, which means he can wheel and deal as needed.
According to MLB Trade Rumors, Klentak sees significant changes to the roster this winter. Only a month ago, it looked like he was going to be able to pursue one or two big-name free agents, most likely Manny Machado and Bryce Harper, and call it a successful winter. Now that the Phillies have gone into a late-season free-fall, weaknesses on the roster have been exposed, and they don’t have the kind of homegrown talent to patch those holes on the farm to call-up and save them from going outside the organization.
Matt Klentak acknowledged the Phillies' "awful" freefall and vowed changes are coming, but Gabe Kapler won't be one of them.
— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) September 27, 2018
Klentak has been adamant that what the team needs goes beyond a simple fix, and that if the off-season isn’t approached in a logical and sensible way, a big signing, or even two, isn’t going to solve all of their problems, as told to NBC Sports.
“Significant changes are necessary. There’s a lot of things we can do and we’re going to address a lot of things. We all need to fight the narrative that it’s a simple fix. I think this was a good year for us to experiment, try new things, grow forward and we made progress. We didn’t make enough progress to make the playoffs and there was a time in midsummer when it looked like maybe we were and then we didn’t. But I think in order to take this organization where it needs to go we had to have a year like this, where we pushed the envelope.”
#Phillies have won 78 games this year but they have clear problems that have been exposed over the last 50 games, and GM Matt Klentak admits serious changes are afoot https://t.co/BAlOg2rPSF via @matt_breen
— Gary Potosky (@InqPotosky) September 27, 2018
While Klentak isn’t getting into all the details of what he sees as necessary to get more competitive, Phillies’ fans have a good idea what direction he is going in. Like any good GM, Klentak is not going to give away his wish list before heading to the winter meetings to wheel and deal. He has been open about trying to find new ways to use the talent he already has, which may include a few players trying new positions in the spring. Whatever it is that Klentak has in mind, he has the money and the blessing of ownership to try to make his vision for the Phillies a reality.