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Can the Phillies take advantage of a tumultuous NL East?

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On Episode 156 of The Felske Files, host John Stolnis talks with Yahoo!’s Jeff Passan about the front office turmoil with the Atlanta Braves and previews the MLB Division Series.

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MLB: General Managers Meetings Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Only one team from the National League East is currently playing in baseball’s October postseason tournament, the Washington Nationals. And, not coincidentally, they’re the only team in the division that doesn’t have a bunch of weird stuff going on in the front office right now.

The Phillies unexpectedly reassigned manager Pete Mackanin after two-plus seasons of mostly losing baseball, but did so after the skipper led the team through a second half in which the Phils finished just one game under .500. Just as the team was improving and getting better, general manager Matt Klentak decided it was time to find someone else as the team had “turned the corner.”

The Miami Marlins are under new ownership, with former Yankees great Derek Jeter now in charge of all the baseball and financial decisions. It’s a franchise that struggles to draw patrons and has trouble making ends meet, and based on his comments earlier this week, it appears Miami is going to trade their mega star, Giancarlo Stanton, he of the 59 home runs, because they cannot be competitive with one player soaking up $30 million a year over the next 10 seasons.

The New York Mets had perhaps the worst season of any team in baseball, even if their record wasn’t the worst overall. This was a playoff team that suffered numerous injures (many of which were mishandled by the front office) and handled the firing of manager Terry Collins about as poorly as a team could, with team ownership preventing the GM from removing Collins from his post. Their financial situation remains a bit of a mystery after the Bernie Madoff scandal, too.

But those situations pale in comparison to the incredible self-destruction seen inside the Atlanta Braves’ front office. General manager John Copollela was forced to resign this week amidst an investigation by Major League Baseball into alleged improprieties with international players.

The story, broken by Yahoo! Sports MLB writer Jeff Passan, details a toxic environment created by Copollela, a man so disliked within his own organization and around the league that multiple people ratted him out to MLB officials. On Episode 156 of The Felske Files, I talked with Passan about the investigation and the incredible discord taking place in Atlanta.

So can the Phillies, who have some of their own issues to sort out over the next couple months, take advantage of the issues lingering in the front offices of their division rivals? Certainly, despite the changes in the coaching staff coming, it appears as if there is more stability and/or harmoney in Philadephia than in many of the other cities in the NL East.

Also discussed on this week’s podcast, Andy MacPhail’s comments to reporters and the probability (not good) that the Phils are going to jump into the free agent pitching market, and my predictions for the 2017 MLB playoffs, including a World Series pick that is certain to be wrong!

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