It appears we're nearing the finish line in the Phils' search for a new general manager.
After bringing virtually every baseball executive in America in for an interview, reports say team president Andy MacPhail has winnowed his list to three.
Sources confirm 3 finalists for Phillies' GM job are Matt Klentak, Dan Kantrovitz and Chaim Bloom. Ivy Leaguers in 30s with analytics base.— Todd Zolecki (@ToddZolecki) October 23, 2015
Klentak is an assistant general manager with the Los Angeles Angeles, Kantrovitz has been with both the Cardinals and A's, and Bloom is the vice president of baseball operations for the Tampa Bay Rays. All three are in their 30s and attended Ivy League schools.
It appears as though one of the hotter names to make the rounds, Kim Ng, is not a candidate for the position any longer. It was reported she received an interview with the team within the last few weeks.
So who are these guys? Let's find out a bit more about them, courtesy of the Googleweb.
Matt Klentak - Assistant General Manager, Los Angeles Angels
Klentak has long been a front-runner for the job, having worked with MacPhail previously when both were with the Baltimore Orioles. He graduated from Dartmouth with a degree in economics and worked his way up from an internship with the Colorado Rockies to handling salary arbitration for the league office as his first paid gig in the Majors.
MacPhail hired him in 2008 as the Director of Baseball Operations for the O's, where he worked on contracts, the construction of the 40-man roster and arbitration cases. He was then hired by his current team, the Angels, as an assistant general manager under former GM Jerry Dipoto. He worked with Scott Servais to oversee a farm system that is still one of the worst in baseball, although years of expensive free agents have sapped the organization of many of their first round selections.
Klentak was interviewed for the Angels' general manager job when Dipoto was fired, but instead hired Billy Eppler to take over the reigns. He did an interview with MLB Trade Rumors back in 2011 when he was first hired by Los Angeles, although there is not a lot of detail to peruse.
Chaim Bloom - Vice President Baseball Operations, Tampa Bay Rays
Bloom has only been in his current position with the Rays for one year after receiving a promotion from director of baseball ops. He held that position for three years previously, elevated once former general manager Andrew Friedman left to take his current job with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Like Klentak, Bloom was in charge of numerous areas of baseball operations, including contract negotiation, arbitration and trade analysis, as well as managing the 40-man roster. According to his team bio, Bloom was also in charge of the team's international scouting efforts and assisted in making decisions on every level of the team's farm system.
His major focus has been on scouting, minor league player development and making roster decisions. Chaim is a hometown boy, a Philadelphia native, who graduated from Yale University with a degree in Latin. Bloom was recently interviewed by the Milwaukee Brewers for their vacant general manager job.
Just 32 years old, he is also regarded as an expert on analytics, and fits the Phils' stated desire to have a young executive work underneath MacPhail.
Dan Kantrovitz - Assistant General Manager, Oakland A's
The final candidate, Kantrovitz, has been with Oakland for one season after Farhan Zaidi left the team to become the GM of the Dodgers under Friedman. The 37-year-old came from the St. Louis Cardinals (#HireAllTheCardinals) where he was the team's scouting director from 2012-2013, responsible for drafting a number of top Cardinals' prospects including Stephen Piscotty, Michael Wacha, and Marco Gonzalez.
Kantrovitz graduated from Brown University as an undergrad and with a master's degree in statistics from Harvard. So, one would assume the guy knows sabermetrics, huh? Prior to joining the Cardinals, he spent three years in Oakland as the team's director of international scouting.
Kantrovitz gave a lengthy interview with Fangraphs last year, in which he talked about the importance of the draft.
"We view the draft as a mechanism to save money. That may seem counter intuitive - it's a spending environment - but its arguably the best bang for your buck in any area of procurement. The more you spend on the draft, assuming it's a disciplined approach, the more our club might be able to save down the road in the free-agent market."
He also talked about how he uses data and analysis in player selection.
"‘Find a reliable metric; see what's worked in the past and use it as a guide going forward.' As a scouting director, I need to be disciplined to implement it and sell it to our department of scouts, who might not always agree with what we think the optimal decision is.
"Basically, we translate every piece of available information into runs. We have data from scouts, doctors, trainers, quantitative analysts, specialists in pitching mechanics - they all provide an expert opinion on a player. We bake all those opinions together and apply discount rates to enable us to compare players apple to apples in today's dollars. We basically end up with a present value for every player on our board."
Essentially, it's hard to tell the difference between these three guys. It appears as though all of them have the qualifications the Phils' front office is looking for. All are young, have Ivy League backgrounds and appear to have a similar mindset on how to build an organization.
The Phils hope to have a person in place before their organizational meetings begin next week. And with Game 1 of the World Series beginning on Tuesday, look for a decision and an announcement to be made on Monday, the day before the start of the Fall Classic.