PHILS INSIDER

What Phillies ownership's silence could mean for GM Matt Klentak's future

PHILS INSIDER

The fate of Phillies general manager Matt Klentak continues to float uncomfortably in the air.

Is he staying?

Or is he going?

By nightfall Tuesday, the drama will have lasted 48 hours.

Now, some might say there is no drama at all, that Klentak is under contract for two more seasons, that that's the way it is until ownership says otherwise, that anything else is, well, fake news.

But Klentak's job security became a major issue 11 months ago when managing partner John Middleton stepped in and fired Gabe Kapler, the GM's hand-picked manager, and Klentak acknowledged the magnitude of the issue when he attached must-win importance to the 2020 season.

The Phillies finished that season on Sunday, four games under .500 and on the outside of an easily attainable eight-team National League playoff field.

If the Phillies had won just two of their final eight games, they would have made the playoffs and that might have been enough for ownership to decide that it was sticking with Klentak, despite the fact that he hadn't presided over a winning season in his five years on the job.

But the poor finish and lack of a postseason berth clearly turned up ownership's scrutiny of Klentak — not to mention the rage of Phillies fans.

If ownership was still fully committed to Klentak, it could have stopped all the speculation about his future with a quick statement Monday morning saying the GM was under contract and would remain in place.

 

But nearly 48 hours after the last game, ownership still has said nothing, and every hour that passes without it saying something could be interpreted as a lack of faith in Klentak and that will do him no favors in the public eye if he remains.

The situation has only become more complicated now that the postseason is underway. Major League Baseball discourages teams from making major announcements during its showcase event, but there are ways around it if Phillies ownership does decide to make a change.

And so the wait continues.

Just like last year when the methodical Middleton took 11 days to rule on Kapler's fate.

Klentak's fate isn't the only major item on Middleton's plate at the moment. He is on record as saying the Phillies will lose significantly more than $100 million this season and the organization is currently offering buyout packages to employees and layoffs are "inevitable," according to an email sent to employees on Tuesday.

Would the club be willing to let Klentak go, pay him for two years and add a new, high-salaried GM in these difficult economic times?

That's a question, among others, that the ownership group is likely pondering as it deliberates Klentak's future.