The Phillies formally introduced Andy MacPhail in a press conference today, and it was clear within the first five minutes that changes will be coming. Overall, there were two key revelations about MacPhail's hiring that are imperative to understand.
The organizational hierarchy
John Middleton announces Andy MacPhail will become president at the end of the season. Will assist Gillick until then pic.twitter.com/foWbXOSJML— Todd Zolecki (@ToddZolecki) June 29, 2015
The first is that MacPhail won't formally take control of the team until after the 2015 season ends, however that does not mean that he's going to be absent from the decision making process. This is his team going forward, and Ruben Amaro will likely need approval from MacPhail, as well as ownership before making any franchise altering moves.
Earlier today, Buster Olney reported that rival GM's were still unsure of how MacPhail's hiring would change trade talks, and had a collective ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ . While it seems obvious to assume that Amaro is nothing more than a lame-duck GM at this point, that is not the party line that the Phillies are putting forward.
After today's #Phillies news conference, I asked Pat Gillick what role Ruben Amaro Jr. will play in trade talks in July.— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) June 29, 2015
"Ruben is going to be the GM through the end of the season,'' Gillick said. "He's going to make any of the deals that we make.''— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) June 29, 2015
"He still has that authority,'' Gillick added. "That's his job -- to change personnel. That's not going to change.''— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) June 29, 2015
It's hard to believe that Amaro will still have unilateral authority to make trades, but for years now, Pat Gillick has remained faithful to his frequently mocked GM. This could be Gillick's final vote of confidence before MacPhail takes over, but this all seems like a smoke screen to avoid distractions moving forward.
If you think Ruben can do much more than get a soda without Gillick and MacPhail approving it, be less naive— ihateprospects (@ihateprospects) June 29, 2015
In recent memory, there's a prominent example of a team allowing a soon to be gone executive to remain in charge of the team, and it did not turn out well at all. During the 2006 season, the Royals decided to hire Atlanta's Assistant GM Dayton Moore, but because he had prepared for the draft as a member of the Braves, both parties agreed that he wouldn't take control of Kansas City until after the process was complete.
Instead of their future GM taking charge of what was at the time their most important draft in years (they had the number one overall pick), their already fired GM Allard Baird and his scouting team were allowed to make the major decisions. They took Luke Hochevar first overall, and wound up with a mediocre draft.
Gillick and MacPhail may publicly support Amaro, and the latter recently stated that he's made no decisions whatsoever on his current GM's future, but it's nearly impossible to take their statements at face value.
Sabermetrics is no longer a dirty word
The second takeaway is that sabermetrics are finally coming to Philadelphia. While Amaro has been in charge, they've been one of the few teams that were incredibly resistant to accepting the changing culture of statistics. But now that MacPhail has arrived, that's no longer the case.
Numbers, analytics, sabermetrics. John Middleton loves them. Andy MacPhail loves them. Look for more of that in the Phillies' future.— Todd Zolecki (@ToddZolecki) June 29, 2015
I'VE BEEN HERE FOR YEARS, ANDY. https://t.co/oKvnPmGCri— Analytics Plant (@AnalyticsPlant) June 29, 2015
Installing MacPhail as the future President of this team was already reason enough for Phillies fans to rejoice, and this is merely icing on the cake. No longer will pitchers be evaluated on wins, or hitters on home runs, but rather with much more comprehensive tools. Philadelphia has been in a tail spin for years now, but that appears to be changing quickly.