Will Reported Extension Protect Matt Klentak If Phillies Underachieve?

Phillies GM Matt Klentak this past spring signed a contract extension through 2022, according to The Athletic

It followed an offseason in which Klentak acquired J.T. Realmuto from the Marlins, Jean Segura from the Mariners and Bryce Harper, Andrew McCutchen and David Robertson in free agency. At Harper's introductory press conference, Phillies managing partner John Middleton went through the historic nature of Klentak's offseason. 

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"I mean, seriously, Branch Rickey never had this kind of offseason. Pat Gillick never had this kind of offseason," Middleton said. "I'm not telling you [Klentak] had the greatest single offseason in the history of baseball, but you know what? If you make that statement, people might quibble with it but they can't really argue with it too hard. Because nobody's ever done what this kid did."

Middleton was referring to Klentak's adding three position players who were All-Stars the prior season.

The Phillies, at 49-46, have underachieved. Fans have called for the heads of Klentak, manager Gabe Kapler and team president Andy MacPhail. MacPhail's deal reportedly runs through 2021. 

If the Phillies disappoint in the second half, miss the playoffs and/or have a slow start next season, these contract extensions do not grant any of them immunity. They will be judged by the team's performance because they are responsible for it. A three-year extension won't save any of them if it comes to that point. We see managers, coaches and GMs let go all the time with years remaining on their deals.

The assumption here is that all three men will finish out the 2019 season and maintain their jobs into 2020. The Phillies, even if they miss the playoffs, could say that their key players underperformed, they dealt with as many crucial injuries as any team in baseball and that they want to give this core another shot.

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