Phillies fans are ready for top-down change

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Phillies fans want Middleton (L) to make changes at the top, and that means MacPhail (R) must go

As someone who is constantly keeping his finger on the pulse of Philadelphia Phillies fans, one sentiment has become clear – they want change.

The fans want that change to come from the highest levels of management and down into the dugout.

Specifically, there is a large and growing segment of the Phillies fan base calling for the removal of club president Andy MacPhail, general manager Matt Klentak, and even manager Gabe Kapler.

Representative of this fan sentiment is Wally Potter. A lifelong Phillies fan from South Philadelphia, Wally posted the following to his Facebook account on Tuesday evening, reprinted here by permission:

Now that the Phillies have been ‘officially’ eliminated from playoffs, let’s review:

  1. When you don’t have good starting pitching and (have) a horrible bullpen, you don’t make the playoffs.
  2. When only a handful of players in your starting lineup (give it) their all every night…you don’t make the playoffs.
  3. When your manager is so over-matched and makes moves just because the numbers tell him to do so, rather than see how the game is really being played out, you don’t make the playoffs.
  4. When your GM knows you have starting pitching deficiencies, but won’t even consider bringing in a free agent like Dallas Keuchel, or address the glaring holes in the bullpen, yup, you guessed it, you don’t make the playoffs.

And finally, when…your farm system and talent evaluators have not done (expletive deleted) in decades…and you don’t overhaul it, you may not see the playoffs for another eight years. Rant over!!!!

Pretty strong emotions. And, from the opinions that I have read and heard from a broad cross-section of fans on the web, radio, and television, fairly representative of the general feelings of the wider Phillies fan base.

I agree with Wally and those fans in one aspect: the Phillies need change at the very top. It is time to move on from the failed leadership of club president Andy MacPhail.

Two months ago, I called for MacPhail’s removal in a piece in which I asked “How long can Andy MacPhail survive as Phillies organization again ranked poorly?” In that piece, I wrote the following:

The vast majority of MacPhail’s tenures with the Chicago Cubs, Baltimore Orioles, and now the Phillies stretching back nearly two and a half decades reveal very little in the way of winning. In fact, even in this current season, perhaps especially in the current season when so much was anticipated and expected of his club, MacPhail continues to do nothing more than tread water.

The Phillies have not only been unable to field a winner in Mac Phail’s tenure at the top of the baseball operations. In the opinion of every major talent evaluation service, they remain mired near the bottom of baseball’s minor league talent. Having presided over four drafts and four international signing periods, the responsibility for that failure to improve is directly on him.

I am continuing to examine the cases of both Klentak as general manager and Kapler as the manager, and will come out with a piece on my feelings as to their futures next week.

If the Phillies were to simply fire Kapler as some kind of organizational scapegoat for this disappointing 2019 season without making changes above him, then nothing is going to change for the club over the longer term.

It is time for the Philadelphia Phillies to turn the page on MacPhail. It is time to look around the game and find a bright, young mind, one with a track record of actual winning, to lead the organization into the next decade.

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