Ruben Amaro Jr. came into the Phillies GM office while the franchise was in somewhat of a euphoric state. The next GM won't have that opportunity. Instead, he - or she - will come in while the franchise is at near epic low levels. On the upside, the new GM will have the advantage of having a minor league system that is now among the ten best in baseball. That's something that Amaro didn't have when he took over the reins.
Andy MacPhail has been around baseball a long time, but is coming off of a three-year hiatus. You still have to believe that his list of contacts is good enough to shake a few strong GM candidates from, and to get input from other long-in-the-tooth baseball veterans who can give him some names that he should consider.
One of the first names that was mentioned when MacPhail came to town was that of Matt Klentak, who is an assistant GM with the Angels. Since then though, the Halos lost their GM, Jerry DiPoto, when he literally just packed up his office and left. Klentak has reportedly interviewed for the Angels job, but could still be a potential move for the Phillies, as the Angels begin interviewing candidates from outside the organization. Plus, his former boss is now an option. It stands to reason that DiPoto will be considered not just for the Phillies job, but for other jobs that are open around baseball.
Mike Hazen, an assistant with the Boston Red Sox, has the type of analytical knowledge that MacPhail hinted he would like to have. The Red Sox also have an opening for a GM and Hazen is a candidate there, which again, muddies the waters regarding whether the Phillies will even get a chance to interview him.
One name you could hear a lot of buzz about is J.J. Piccolo, an assistant with the Kansas City Royals. Piccolo has a terrific balance of scouting and analytic assessment that will prove to be intriguing to teams around baseball. The fact that the Royals have performed well on the field the past couple of seasons bodes well for Piccolo and the interest that other teams will show in at least interviewing him. By the way, a colleague of Piccolo's with the Royals may get a lot of buzz, but not likely in Philadelphia. That guy is Mike Arbuckle, who left Philadelphia when Amaro was chosen as the GM over him and he landed on his feet with the Royals and has been overseeing their drafts, which have helped the team to develop into a winner.
Former Cubs GM Jim Hendry is a potential candidate for the job and knows MacPhail well. Hendry combines experience with a GM to go with his knowledge of analytics and a connection to MacPhail.
It's possible that a candidate will emerge from within the organization. Scott Proefrock takes over the job on an interim basis, with no guarantees that he'll be on any list of potential candidates. Charlie Kerfeld, who served as a special advisor to Amaro is well respected, but not likely GM material, at least at this point. Farm director Joe Jordan is also well respected, but also isn't seen as a strong candidate. While it's very possible that Proefrock or others could get an interview, it's unlikely that any internal candidate will come through the process strong enough to shake off their connections to the prior regime, which is something MacPhail may well want to do.
Keep in mind, that both Proefrock and Jordan have experience with MacPhail from their time together in Baltimore.
It will be interesting to see which way the Phillies go and who will be interested in the job. Actually, the position may be the most sought after of the ones that are open, or even likely to become open. There's a strong farm system, most of the albatross style contracts are being paid down and there is a boat load of money coming from Comcast in the new TV deal. The downside to the job is that the new GM may wind up being more of an assistant GM depending on how much power MacPhail is going to wield in his role as president. It remains to be seen whether he will be the guy doing most of the wheeling and dealing, or whether he'll allow his GM to have a good chunk of autonomy to make deals and sign free agents.