Andy MacPhail looks back on Phillies' roller coaster season

Kapler, analytics, free agency: team president examines the season

Ed Benkin
October 02, 2018 - 9:14 pm
Andy MacPhail

© Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — It has been a roller coaster ride for Phillies fans this season.  

The same up-and-down journey was felt by the powers that be in the front office.

After watching the team crash and burn over the final month and a half of the season, the Phillies are now on the outside looking in with the playoffs underway.  

It appeared earlier in the season that the Phillies might be part of the post-season party, but a late-season slide ended any hopes of a Red October.  

Team President Andy MacPhail reflected on the wild 2018 campaign, acknowledging that it brought the definition of peaks and valleys to another level.

"It's one of the things that is going to confront this organization this off-season," said MacPhail. "The defense wasn't what it needs to be and we have to do a better job in our division, but we are the most inconsistent team I have ever been associated with."

MacPhail faced a wide variety of questions during a press conference Tuesday, which featured everything from the manager's approach to the use of analytics.  

When it came to the subject of Gabe Kapler, MacPhail still had plenty of praise for the Phillies' skipper, but did offer some advice to the always-optimistic Kapler going forward.

"I watched this happen to Dusty Baker," MacPhail said. "If you are overly positive, then you lose credibility with the fans after a while. You have to find a way to craft a message that's not critical of your players or negative, but acknowledges that there are some areas — like the rest of us — we need to make some improvements."

Analytics have become a touchy topic with baseball fans. Some believe the change to analytics with teams has made the game worse and that managerial instincts would be a better option.  

While MacPhail said the use of analytics is part of the Phillies approach, it is not the only approach used by the ball club.

"We have a much bigger analytics department than we did three years ago," noted MacPhail. "But we went from zero to what is now about industry standard. There are a lot of clubs that we're trying to catch up to on analytics, but it's science and it's art. The science is the information that's available to you today, but the art is how you transmit it to the player."

MacPhail was a bit more cautious when it came to looking ahead. Rumors of the Phillies looking to make a big splash in free agency may or may not be true. MacPhail insists the Phillies will spend wisely in the off-season and will have the power to use whatever financial resources are available.

"We have flexibility," MacPhail added. "At the same time, it's not so overwhelming that we don't have to manage it. I anticipate we're always going to be active. This ownership group has demonstrated it's not afraid to have a payroll in the top five."