The Philadelphia Phillies put the finishing touches on the front office Tuesday.
Now, it’s time to make some player moves.
Dave Dombrowski, the Phillies president of baseball operations, announced Tuesday that front office executive Sam Fuld has been promoted to general manager.
Fuld, a former Major League outfielder, has evolved into one of baseball’s bright young minds. Earlier this offseason, he was a finalist for the Boston Red Sox manager’s job. Dombrowski, who the Phillies hired on Dec. 11, will have final say in all baseball decisions.
On a Zoom call, Fuld said his hiring was overwhelming.
“It’s something that I thought about back to my playing days,” he said. “I thought maybe someday down the road this would be something that really satisfied me and challenged me. I didn’t think it would happen this quick. When Dave called me, I was ecstatic.”
Dombrowski and Fuld have never met in person. The job interviews were conducted via Zoom because of COVID-19.
Fuld, 39, played parts of eight seasons (2007-2015) for four teams — the Chicago Cubs, Tampa Bay Rays, Oakland A’s and Minnesota Twins.
“Sam, I hate to say this, is much younger than I am,” Dombrowski, 64, said. “I think he’s a good complement to myself and the organization. I am by no means adverse to any sort of analytical approach, but I think Sam is much more intelligent in those areas than I am.”
Fuld has been in the Phillies’ organization since 2017. He spent his first two seasons as a player information coordinator, which involved delivering analytical information to the coaching staff and helping the staff use that information. Fuld was most recently the director of integrative baseball performance in which he oversaw athletic training, strength and conditioning and nutrition.
The Phillies have not made the postseason or had a winning record since 2011.
“I’ve witnessed a lot of positive progression with the organization the past few years,” Fuld said. “Anytime you go through a transition, which we have over the past few years, there are challenges, there are bumps on the road that are inevitable. I’m excited about continuing to integrate our departments. There’s so much information out there. The really good organizations are able to take that information, synthesize it, digest it and create really good ways of evaluating players and developing players.”
The Phillies also announced two other front office changes Tuesday. Jorge Velandia, a former special assistant to the general manager, has been promoted to assistant general manager. Terry Ryan, who was with the Phillies as a special assignment scout, has been promoted to special assistant to the general manager.
Ryan was the general manager of the Minnesota Twins was 1994-2007 and 2012-16. Dombrowski said he did not interview candidates from outside of the organization for any the positions announced Tuesday. Dombrowski said Andy MacPhail would remain as the team president in charge of the team’s business side.
What most fans want to know is have the Phillies made any progress on resigning catcher J.T. Realmuto and fixing a historically bad bullpen that had a 7.02 ERA.
Dombrowski said he spoke with Realmuto’s agent Jeff Barry on Monday.
“It was really not a negotiation. It was a welcome to the Phillies organization,” Dombrowski said. “I’ve known Jeff Barry for a long time. We said we would stay in contact. I expressed to him how much I would we would like to have J.T. on board, and that’s really where it ended.”
As for other moves or trades, Dombrowski said there was nothing imminent. The Phillies are just as likely to try to fill some of their needs with players from within the organization as they are to sign free agents or make deals.
“We’ll fill as many holes as we possibly can,” Dombrowski said. “We’re not just one player away. We’re not looking to empty our farm system for a specific player at this time.”