PHILLIES

Hill would be 'great' choice to lead Phils' baseball ops

PHILLIES

Michael Hill would be a “great” leader of baseball operations for the Phillies, according to a veteran baseball man who has previously worked under the former Miami Marlins president of baseball operations.

“Mike’s a high integrity, high character guy,” the baseball man said. “He runs great meetings, especially around the trade deadline. He’s very inclusive, very collaborative. 

“He wants to hear opinions. And he loves it when guys have different opinions. He wants to hear them all. You’re never put in your place if you have a different opinion.

“There’s so much information in the game these days that you really need a guy like that. That’s how you stimulate ideas and that’s where you make your best decisions.

“He’s worked in scouting and player development. He played. He was a GM. I think president of baseball operations is where he would fit best with a GM under him.”

On Monday, The Athletic reported that Hill was a candidate to become the Phillies leader of baseball operations. A baseball source later confirmed that report.

Hill, 49, became a free agent in mid-October when he and the Marlins parted ways.

Hill was the Marlins general manager from 2007 until he was promoted to president of baseball operations in 2013. His departure likely had more to do with the ownership change the Marlins went through three years ago than it did job performance. CEO and part owner Derek Jeter, who praised Hill's work, has become the executive face of the franchise and it’s likely he wanted to put his own stamp on baseball operations. Last week, Jeter hired Kim Ng as the team’s new general manager. She is the first woman to hold that position in any of the four major North American professional sports. Hill is a Harvard grad. He played two seasons in the Texas Rangers system before embarking on a career in the front office. 

 

During his time in Miami, Hill was charged with building teams and tearing them down for financial reasons. The club drafted and developed Giancarlo Stanton, J.T. Realmuto, Marcell Ozuna and Christian Yelich. Hill was forced to trade all four All-Stars as the Marlins entered a rebuild that led to them making the postseason in 2020, surging past the Phillies in the final weeks of the season on their way. The 2020 Marlins used 61 players, including 18 who made their big-league debut, to get through a season that started with a COVID-19 outbreak on their roster.

“If you can work under what Mike did in Miami, you can flourish anywhere,” said the baseball man who used to work for Hill.

Previously this offseason, Hill interviewed for the Los Angeles Angels GM position, which was filled with the hiring of Atlanta executive Perry Minasian. Hill has reportedly also interviewed with the New York Mets for their leader of baseball operations position.

Matt Klentak served as Phillies general manager for five non-winning seasons before being reassigned last month. Klentak’s former assistant, Ned Rice, has been serving as interim GM and reporting to president Andy MacPhail. Two weeks ago, MacPhail said the team had begun to identify candidates to lead baseball operations and he added that he would step aside if ownership came up with the right candidate.

Maybe that’s Hill.

Or maybe it’s someone else. Both MacPhail and owner John Middleton have previously said they were prepared to go into the 2021 season with Rice leading the show if the right candidate did not emerge.

Middleton last month was critical of the Phillies' player evaluation and development. He indicated that the new leader of baseball operations, be it a president or general manager, would have a background in both areas. That led to speculation that people like Jim Hendry, Brian Sabean, Bobby Heck and others would be on the list of candidates – and they all probably are. Middleton personally pushed for the Phillies to build an analytics department so he’s not about to ignore that area in looking for the right candidate.

“Mike’s right there with all that stuff,” the aforementioned baseball man said. “That’s easy stuff. The media has turned it into rocket science when it’s really not that hard to understand. Mike’s a communicator. He understands the game and the people in it.”

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