The Philadelphia Phillies have announced the hiring of Dave Dombrowski as their new president of baseball operations. Matt Klentak stepped down after five years as the Phillies general manager following the 2020 season, and the franchise has yet to fill that vacancy. Phillies owner John Middleton approached Dombrowski about the job after two candidates withdrew their names from consideration, Jayson Stark of The Athletic reported Thursday. The Phillies made the announcement official on Friday afternoon.
Dombrowski, 64, has been one of the most successful executives in MLB during his career. The Red Sox fired Dombrowski in 2019 after five years of running baseball ops, which resulted in the 2018 World Series championship. He previously served as the general manager of the Montreal Expos (1987-1991), Florida Marlins (1993-2001) and the Detroit Tigers (2002-2015). Dombrowski also has a World Series ring with the Marlins and a pair of American League pennants with the Tigers.
Earlier this offseason, Dombrowski seemed unlikely to return to a MLB front office in 2021. Dombrowski said that he recently moved to Nashville, Tennessee with the goal of helping the city acquire a MLB franchise.
"I'm staying in Nashville," Dombrowski told The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal. "I gave the (Nashville group) a commitment when I moved here that as we continue to pursue a new team — expansion, relocation or if it goes nowhere — that I would stay here with them."
Apparently, that's no longer the case since it appears that Middleton was able to convince Dombrowski to consider the job. It took three separate attempts, however, as Stark added to his report on Thursday.
"This is a great day for the Philadelphia Phillies," said Middleton in a statement Friday. "David Dombrowski is one of the most accomplished executives this great game has ever seen, and we are thrilled to welcome him to Philadelphia. Between David and Joe Girardi, we now have two of the best people in place to set us on the path back to where we want to be, and that is the postseason and contending for world championships."
In terms of the Phillies 2020-21 offseason to-do list, the club has one significant free agent to re-sign in catcher J.T. Realmuto and a bullpen that's in desperate need of improvement.
However, despite what the Dombrowski hiring signals to the public -- a willingness for Philadelphia to spend this winter -- the Phillies seem likely to cut payroll this winter and let Realmuto walk in free agency, Stark notes. Furthermore, according to The Athletic's Matt Gelb, the Phillies have yet to receive a budget number from ownership for the upcoming season.
Dombrowski is known to be aggressive when it comes to making win-now signings, so the reports of the payroll shrinking certainly clash with his approach. It's unclear whether the club, under Dombrowski, will invest in improvements. As a whole, the Phillies farm system ranks in the bottom half but there are some recent first-round picks at the top of their farm.
The Phillies have been awfully quiet this winter after the NL East club finished the 2020 regular season 28-32 and in third place, missing the postseason for the ninth consecutive season.