Would one more win have saved Matt Klentak's job?


There's much gloom and doom around the Phillies these days. A ninth straight season of no playoffs cost the general manager his job. The owner isn't happy with the team's drafting and player development record. The team's most respected player could be headed elsewhere in free agency.

The irony of it all is that October is here and the Phillies could still be playing.

No. Really.

They went into the final week of the season holding the seventh seed in the eight-team National League playoff scene and needed to win just two — two! — of their final eight games to make the postseason, where anything can happen in a best-of-three series.

The Phillies managed just one win in their final eight games and slid all the way to the 10th spot.

The door was even left open, quite generously, for them on the final day of the season when Milwaukee and San Francisco lost. All the Phils had to do was eke out a final-day win in Tampa Bay and they would have been in.

They ended up being shut out, 5-0.

Had the Phils won that game, they would have gotten into the postseason with a record of two games under .500.

By no stretch of the imagination is that good.

But would it have been good enough to buy Matt Klentak one more season as general manager?


Interesting question.

Owner John Middleton answered it Saturday.

"Not necessarily," Middleton said. "It clearly would have helped if we had made the postseason, but I think more than just kind of making it that way, if we had won our wild-card (playoff) round, that would be another helping matter.

"But, look, I think the reality is I've just been looking, over time, at what we're doing and the progress we've made and I've come to the conclusion that we've made progress but we haven't made progress fast enough. 

"And so I looked at kind of what we'd be doing a year or two from now and I said, you know what, I'm not sure I see that it's going to necessarily lead to the things I want to see so I made the decision to move on."

In five seasons on the job, Klentak produced no winning seasons. Overall, the Phillies have not had a winning season since 2011.

Klentak has two years left on his contract. He will assume a new role in the organization while his former assistant, Ned Rice, moves in as interim GM.

It's reasonable to wonder why the Phillies and Klentak did not simply part ways.

"At the end of the day, Matt is an incredibly hard worker," Middleton said. "He has great character. He can help us in different areas and I see no reason to not avail ourselves of people who can help us — in particular, when they have good character, which he does.

"I don't think anyone is thinking that this is a forever thing and he's going to be here for the next 20 years necessarily. But we don't need to solve the 20-year problem. We're just working on this offseason and next year's problems."