John Middleton’s involvement in the Phillies firing of hitting coach John Mallee in August has been well documented, including him being the one that talked Charlie Manuel into taking the job on an interim basis. It’s also thought that his hand was squarely on the rudder in deciding that pitching coach Chris Young wouldn’t survive and he was a committee of one in deciding the fate of Kapler. Through all this, the team’s president of baseball operations, Andy MacPhail and general manager Matt Klentak were turned into spectators.
Klentak offered his support for Kapler, but in the end, it did no good and Kapler is no longer the manager of the Phillies. That makes a portion of Middleton’s statement on the managerial change very interesting…
“With Matt [Klentak] leading the search for our next manager, I am confident that we will find the right person to lead us.”Statement from John Middleton
If you didn’t trust Klentak to make the decision on whether or not to bring Kapler back – and in fact, he and Middleton disagreed – why would you trust him to continue as your team’s general manager? And if he is kept on, why would you trust him to hire someone to manage the team, when that guy may wind up being there longer than Klentak?
Obviously, Middleton will give the final yay or nay on who is hired to manage the team. It’s also likely that he may even set parameters on the type of manager – experienced, inexperienced, wholly analytical, wholly old school – Klentak should be looking for.
It’s surprising that Middleton didn’t clean house and sweep out MacPhail and Klentak today. They have obviously been placed on a very short leash and may have had their roles reduced to something just above figurehead. It will be interesting to see how publicly Middleton flexes his muscle as the majority partner in charge of the team. His public actions through the past couple of months make it rather obvious that he is going to be involved, perhaps more than any Phillies owner in the past. Just how much and how publicly he will be involved will be interesting to see.