MIAMI – These things happen in baseball. A new group of organization leaders move in. They bring with them their ideas and philosophies. The old group of leaders move out. They bring their talents and skills to other organizations. It is baseball’s circle of life.
Joe Jordan is the latest example of how this all works.
Jordan, the Phillies’ director of player development since 2012, decided last week to leave the organization. He said his good-byes in Clearwater on Tuesday morning and began the drive home to Oklahoma.
Jordan, 56, has an extensive background in scouting and player development and will have no trouble continuing his career in baseball. He would not comment on his reasons for leaving the Phillies, but it is clear that there were philosophical differences between him and a front office that has changed extensively since general manager Matt Klentak’s arrival in the fall of 2015.
“I’ve had the best job in this organization for the last seven years,” Jordan said. “I can’t thank (former GM) Ruben Amaro Jr., and (former assistant GM) Benny Looper enough for bringing me in and giving me this opportunity. To be able to work with (former club president) David Montgomery and develop a friendship with him, and (Hall of Fame executive) Pat Gillick — they have been mentors to me.
“David taught me how to manage and treat people. Pat, everyone knows his resume. He validated a lot of what I believe. He is the ultimate people person. No one cares about people more than David and Pat and that’s how I tried to run my department.
“Dallas Green, he used to march in my office with a note pad after watching Reading for five days. He’d say, ‘This is what we need to get better at.’ I listened to him. He didn’t think I always did, but I did.
“And Charlie Manuel, the passion he has for this game, and recently getting to reconnect with Andy MacPhail …
“Those guys helped shape me.
“The last game I watched last week in Philly, I saw a bunch of players who came through our system and it struck me: They all have a story. The good times, the bad times, dealing with failure, the conversations in the office when they were sent down, dealing with injuries. I don’t take an ounce of credit for anything they did. They did all of it. We are there for the players. I’m very proud of what we’ve done, but the players did it.
“I recall Cesar Hernandez sitting in the office in spring training in 2013. I told him, ‘You’re going to be good major league-player.’ Cesar reminded me of that conversation two years ago.
“Those are the things I’m taking with me.”
“I had the greatest job, but last week I walked into Matt’s office and told him I didn’t think I was the guy to take this thing forward.”
The current Phillies team is dotted with players who developed in the system under Jordan and his staff. The group includes Hernandez, Rhys Hoskins, Aaron Nola, Maikel Franco, Roman Quinn, Scott Kingery, and Seranthony Dominguez. Jorge Alfaro, Nick Williams, Nick Pivetta, Zach Eflin, Victor Arano and others came in trades but spent time in the system.
Klentak would not comment on the specifics that led to Jordan’s decision.
“I recently had a conversation with Joe, during which he informed me that he plans to pursue other opportunities this fall,” Klentak said. “He was extremely professional and appreciative for the opportunity that he had with the Phillies.
“I have known Joe since 2008 when we first worked together in Baltimore. In that time, I have known him to be a hard worker, loyal colleague and good friend. I am grateful for his contributions to the Phillies and confident he will continue to do great things in the baseball industry in his next endeavor.”
Klentak said the team would hire someone to lead player development, but he offered no time frame. He said the team would consider internal and external candidates.