Report: Klentak Will Be Let Go “Early Next Week” if No Playoffs
The Phillies are on the verge of being eliminated from playoff contention. After Friday night's loss to the Tampa Bay Rays, the Phillies need a lot to go right if they are going to make the playoffs. Beside winning the last two games, the Phillies need the San Francisco Giants, the Milwaukee Brewers, and possibly also the St. Louis Cardinals to lose enough games to let them in. But sneaking into the playoffs might not be enough for Phillies general manager Matt Klentak to keep his job.
According to Jim Bowden of the Athletic, the Phillies are poised to make a change:
"If the Phillies don't make the playoffs, Klentak is expected to be let go early next week; if they do earn a postseason berth, the Phillies will probably need to get past the wild card series to save his job."
The road to the playoffs will be very tough, as will winning a playoff round.
Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Inqurier did a fine job Saturday explaining the scenarios necessary for the Phillies to make the playoffs. The Phillies can make the playoff if after the final two games. The best chance is if the Phillies win both games and either the Giants lose at least one.
MLB.com lays out the many tiebreaker scenarios that could affect the Phillies tying with other teams. It's important to note that the Phillies hold the tiebreaker over Gabe Kapler's Giants because they have a better in-division record. The same can be said for the Phillies and Milwaukee Brewers should the two teams end up tied and the Giants lose both games and fall behind them.
So suppose the Phillies do win both games and, the Giants and Brewers lose at least one and the Phillies are in the playoffs. Would that be enough to seal Klentak's fate? Chances are that the Phillies would be overmatched and exit the playoffs quickly.
That could be because the two best starters on the Phillies, Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler would both have to pitch Saturday and Sunday to help seal the division. That means the Phillies will have to turn to Zach Eflin for game one of the playoffs. That in itself is not terrible, as evidenced by how well Eflin has pitched of late. But then the Phillies are likely left resorting to a bullpen game and Vince Velasquez for the next two games in the playoffs, leaving the Phillies overmatched against a Los Angeles Dodgers team.
So can anything save Klentak's job now? That is unlikely.
2020 was year five of a rebuild overseen by Klentak. Despite likely exceeding the 2020 Competitive Balance Tax threshold and having five years to reboot the Phillies farm system, the Phillies have failed to sniff the playoffs to this point. Add in the high price in prospects paid for catcher J.T. Realmuto and high dollar amount paid for the outfielder Bryce Harper, the Phillies should have expected more by now.
And in a results-oriented business, the general manager tends to lose his job.