CLEARWATER, Fla. — On the second day of spring training, Phillies general manager Matt Klentak doubled down on comments he made back in October when he said it was time for the team to win.
“It’s time to take another step forward and produce a winning season and play baseball in October,” Klentak said at a Thursday news conference at Camp Clearwater.
Klentak is on the hot seat as he begins his fifth season on the job. The club has yet to have a winning season under his watch, though winning wasn’t expected early in his tenure as the team navigated a rebuild. The arrival of Carlos Santana on a three-year, $60 million contract and Jake Arrieta on a three-year, $75 million contract before the 2018 season ramped up the stakes but the Phillies finished a game under .500 in 2018 and .500 last year.
There’s no doubt that the Phillies were hurt by injuries last season, particularly on the pitching staff and atop the batting order, where the leadoff spot was a sinkhole after Andrew McCutchen went down, but these mitigating factors did not stop ownership from stepping in and ordering the firing of Klentak’s handpicked manager, Gabe Kapler, and anything less than a…