The Phillies made a major move this week when they announced that long-time president David Montgomery would not return to the position. The man tagged with the task is Pat Gillick, who served as interim president while Montgomery was on a health leave. While the move seems to bring some closure, there is more uncertainty in the Phillies organization than ever.
Gillick indicated to MLB.com's Todd Zolecki that his tenure with the club will likely be short:
I don’t think I’m a long, long-term replacement, but I’m certainly looking forward to the challenge. And I want to get this thing moving in the right direction. And I feel we are moving in the right direction. I just want it to continue.
To be frank, I’m not really focusing on how long I’m going to be here. I’m kind of focused on getting us back to where we were three or four years ago.
Just a week earlier Gillick said he did not see himself in that role a year from now. And he still might not be.
The Phillies are going to need another president in another year or so. When they do, they probably will follow suit with what a lot of organizations are doing: hire a president of baseball operations. These executives are glorified general managers, in many cases. Theo Epstein went from the Boston Red Sox to the Chicago Cubs in such a role, as former Tampa Bay Rays general manager Andrew Friedman moved to the Dodgers. The Phillies could look to a current successful general manager for this role.
There are plenty out there that are young and could be poised for a promotion. John Mozeliak of the St. Louis Cardinals might be someone that would make a good president of baseball operations. Mozeliak is just 46 years old and highly regarded as a baseball executive. Jon Daniels of the Texas Rangers and Walt Jocketty of the Cincinnati Reds. However, as we saw with the Toronto Blue Jays' negotiations with Baltimore Orioles and their current general manager Dan Duquette, it may not be easy.
That brings us to another situation: Ruben Amaro, Jr. Amaro has gotten a great deal of grief from Phillies fans. In a radio interview on Sportsradio WIP with Michael Barkann and Ike Reese, Salisbury said that Montgomery took responsibility for some of the Phillies contracts that crippled the team in recent days. If that is the case, Amaro deserves another chance to show that he has a place in the organization.
Amaro, however, has just one year remaining on his contract and sits as a lame duck. Amaro is not likely to be considered to be club president, but could earn an extension as general manager. In the current baseball climate, and likely on the Phillies right now, the general manager has less power than the president of baseball operations. If Amaro demonstrates himself to be useful to Gillick over the next year, he could earn an opportunity to be general manager.
However, a new club president could bring in someone who he personally is comfortable with for the position. That is more likely. But a lot of important baseball decisions have to be made between now and next season. Gillick will have the final say on those matters. Salisbury believes that Gillick overruled Amaro on Yasmany Tomas, or else the Phillies would have had him.
The next 12 months will be about Gillick and Amaro trying to maximize the amount of talent the Phillies can bring back in trades of veterans and allowing young organization talent to develop in the minor leagues. But soon thereafter will be many more changes. Without the very loyal Montgomery making the decisions, expect a very different organization in 2016.