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Zooming in on the Phillies’ front office

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John Middleton checks in with his chief lieutenants

New York Mets v Philadelphia Phillies
John Middleton makes sure to keep his finger on the pulse of the organization
Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

The Phillies’ power brokers recently held a Zoom meeting to discuss how the offseason was progressing. Once again, thanks to my super-secret source within the Phillies organization, I was able to get a transcript of the meeting.

Present on the call are John Middleton, Dave Dombrowski, Sam Fuld, Ned Rice, Andy MacPhail, and Joe Girardi.

Middleton: Thanks for joining us, everyone. I’d like to start out by saying I’m much happier with the way things are going than the last time we spoke.

Dombrowski: I told you we’d be in good shape. After all, that’s what happens when you hire competent people.

MacPhail: ...

Girardi: I know I’m feeling better. The last time, when you were all “I don’t know if J.T. or Didi are gonna be on the team next year,” I was thinking: Are these guys serious with this baloney? That Andrew Knapp, he’s a swell kid and all, but we ain’t making the playoffs if he’s catching over 100 games.

Middleton: And look at this report I got from our PR team! They said, “Fans have stopped responding to all our posts with expletives and ‘Sign JT.’” Instead, they’re actually praising us!

Dombrowski: You mean “Let’s re-sign Realmuto and Gregorius” has gone over better with the fans than “Let’s see what we could get for Zack Wheeler?” Who would have guessed?

MacPhail: ...

Middleton: Oh for goodness sake, Andy’s on mute again.

MacPhail: ....

Middleton: This happens every darn time. Andy! You have to unmute yourself!

MacPhail: ....

Girardi: Hey, Dave. I like what you’ve done, but I gotta know if you’re gonna send any more relievers my way. Because if I’m putting Hector Neris out there in the ninth inning again...I don’t know if that’s gonna work so well.

Philadelphia Phillies v Tampa Bay Rays
Joe Girardi would prefer other bullpen options over Hector Neris
Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

Dombrowski: Don’t worry, Joe. We’re deep in talks with Brandon Kintzler and a few other guys.

Middleton: Hold up a second. More moves? How much is this going to cost? You know I love spending money on the team, but I’m running out of low-level employees to lay off.

Fuld: Don’t worry, boss. I’m sending over a report that contains both a detailed statistical analysis of all the players we’re interested in pursuing, as well as a concise summary of the value/expense balance for each player.

Middleton: You’re doing what now?

Fuld: Giving you a long report if you feel like reading, a color-coded chart if you don’t.

Middleton: Oh, that sounds great! The last guy never did that. Speaking of... (He presses a red button on his desk. Seconds later, Matt Klentak comes running into frame holding an open can of Diet Coke.)

Klentak: Here’s your Diet Coke, sir! Oh, I see you’re having a meeting. I guess I wasn’t invited?

Middleton: Heh, no you weren’t.

Klentak: Now that I’m here, can I point out that you’ve spent a lot of money in recent weeks, but back in October, when I asked if we could spend more money, you told me that it was impossible, and that’s why I agreed to step down.

MLB: MAR 02 Spring Training - Bryce Harper Press Conference
Matt Klentak: Still employed
Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Dombrowski: Don’t take it personal, kid. After you win a couple of World Series, maybe the boss will listen to you too. Besides, if you hadn’t traded for J.T. Realmuto in the first place, I couldn’t have re-signed him! So maybe if we win the World Series, you can get a ring too. (Notices Middleton discreetly shaking his head no.) Or not. Either way, good job, buddy!

Girardi: Hey, Sammy. In that report you got, is there anything about getting another starting pitcher? Because it almost seems like you’re trying to stick me with Vinny Velasquez again, and I won’t lie to you, I ain’t too excited about dealing with Vinny Velasquez again.

Fuld: We recently signed Matt Moore.

Girardi: Matt Moore? I don’t know any Matt Moore.

Fuld: He pitched in Japan last year.

Girardi: Japan? That doesn’t sound too good. You sure he’s going to be better than Velasquez?

Fuld: I can give a detailed report going over his peripheral numbers and how they showed marked improvements over his last stint in the majors.

Klentak: (Leaning into the screen in front of Middleton): Actually, I have run several analyses that indicated Vince Velasquez is primed for a breakout season, and could end up being our second best pitcher this year based on-

Philadelphia Phillies v Tampa Bay Rays
No really, Vince Velasquez is TOTALLY primed for a breakout season
Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

Middleton: Matt, did you finish sorting all those papers that I asked you to take care of earlier?

Klentak: No, Mr. Middleton.

Middleton: Don’t you think you should get back to that?

Klentak: Yes, Mr. Middleton. (Sulks his way out of frame)

MacPhail: Can you hear me?

Middleton: Yes, Andy. We can hear you now.

MacPhail: CAN YOU HEAR ME?

Middleton: Yes, Andy! We can hear you!

MacPhail: Damn it, I’m still muted! Why the heck are we doing these stupid computer calls anyway? Middleton was able to jump the line and get us all vaccines months ago.

Middleton: Andy, you’re not muted...

MacPhail: Oh look, John’s saying something. Let me guess, he’s trying to use his big boy voice and ask, “Why isn’t my money buying championships? I’m so rich I should be able to get anything I want. Look at me, I’m Johnny Cigar Money and I have sooo much money.”

Dombrowski: I can’t believe you were reluctant to get rid of this guy.

MacPhail: And there’s Dave Dombrowski. He thinks he’s so special. Guess what, Dave? I won a World Series too. But I had the good sense to rest on my laurels, and not act like I still had something to prove.

Fuld: I think I can mute him again.

MacPhail: Oh, and there’s Sam Fuld....well, actually he’s pretty cool.

Fuld: Or maybe we should let him talk.

Rice: I think I’ve got it straightened out. He should be able to hear us now.

Middleton: Really? Ned? You actually did something?

Rice: Yes, I’ll go back to sitting quietly now.

Middleton: Very good. Andy, can you hear us?

MacPhail: What? Yes, yes, I can hear you. I was just trying to say I think everything’s going really well.

Milwaukee Brewers v Philadelphia Phillies
Andy MacPhail: Also still employed by the Phillies
Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Middleton: Andy, we could hear you the whole time.

MacPhail: ...Oh...In that case (points to Middleton) F*** you! (Points to Dombrowski) F*** you! (Points to Fuld) You’re cool. (Points to Girardi) F*** you! I’m out! (Leaves meeting)

Middleton: Okay then. Does anyone have anything else they’d like to discuss? No? Well, then, I’ll talk to you all next month. Go Phillies!