Orioles director of major league administration Ned Rice laid his head on his pillow and gently entered the night's slumber. But instead of his normal dreamscape - white noise into which blinked supernatural gifts, lost loves, and meaningless nonsense all gradually erased from his memory before the sun completed its rise come morning - there appeared his former colleague, Andy MacPhail.
MacPhail's eyes pulsated with intense red light as he levitated in mid-air amid a field of nothingness. "Come," he communicated telepathically. "Join me."
Rice woke up nodding and the next day, agreed to join MacPhail's front office in Philadelphia along with other former Orioles cohorts like Matt Klentak, Joe Jordan, and Scott Proefrock.
MASN's Orioles beat writer Roch Kubatko writes that Rice will serve as an assistant general manager under the Klentak regime. Rice is another one of those guys who started as an intern with an organization and plowed through several jobs before reaching his current position. He's also 32, only a few years younger than 35-year-old Klentak, keeping the Phillies' youthful front office intact.
MacPhail became team president of the Orioles in 2007, when Rice was being promoted yet again, this time to the analytics department. His hiring seems to be yet another indication of the Phillies' modern new direction. According to a Baltimore Sun article from October 2014 - and John Stolnis and I were just talking about this on TGP Radio so it's extremely validating to see it here in real life - Rice, operating with Dan Duqette, emphasized a blending of old and new school stats and analytics instead of picking one or the other and stubbornly sticking to it regardless of the outcome.
Behind the scenes, Duquette's front office relies on a range of contributors, from old-school scouts who gauge talent by watching players compete to younger executives adept at the statistics-driven approach captured in "Moneyball," the best-selling book and motion picture.
"While the game's going on, behind the scenes, we're trying to make sure we're already ahead, we're OK for the next day," said Ned Rice, another young exec.
And MacPhail himself cited Rice as his personal steward into the realm of analytics after being hired by the Phillies.
"It has always been part of everywhere that I've been. It's obviously become more sophisticated over time. There is a lot of stuff I don't understand. I used to make poor Ned Rice in Baltimore come up and explain everything to me. I would say 'What about this nonsense?' And he would explain to me that I was old and dumb and needed to understand these things."
Anyone unconvinced that the Phillies were all in on the game's newer measuring sticks - and why would you be at this point, with the PHIL supercomputer already built - has to see further proof in MacPhail surrounding himself with the math wizards who helped him initially modernize his own understanding of player evaluation.