PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Andy MacPhail is the new man in charge of the Philadelphia Phillies.
The veteran baseball executive joined the Phillies on Monday with plans to take over as team president after this season. He'll eventually replace Pat Gillick, who helped choose his successor. MacPhail will serve as a special assistant to Gillick for the rest of this season, then take over all business and baseball operations.
"I'm going to take advantage of the next three months to learn everything I can," MacPhail said.
The 62-year-old MacPhail won two World Series as general manager of the Minnesota Twins in 1987 and 1991 and later served as president of the Chicago Cubs and Baltimore Orioles.
"Andy brings an uncommon blend of old-school experience and new-age thinking," said John Middleton, one of the Phillies' owners. "Old school because he has been building winning teams for over three decades. ... During his tenure in Baltimore, he greatly expanded the use of statistical analysis in player evaluations. That's the new-age thinking."
The Phillies have the worst record in the majors and front-office changes have been expected. Ryne Sandberg resigned as manager last week and general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. is in the final season of his contract.
MacPhail is tasked with rebuilding a team that dominated the NL East from 2007-11, winning five straight division titles, two pennants and the 2008 World Series. The Phillies are coming off consecutive 73-win seasons and are on pace to lose 105 games.
"This organization has a terrific reputation doing things first class," MacPhail said. "I'm confident we're going to be able to get back. It's just a question of when and how efficient we can be to make it happen sooner rather than later."
Gillick stepped down as general manager after the 2008 season and served as an adviser before replacing David Montgomery as president in August 2014. The 77-year-old Hall of Fame executive is likely to remain in the front office in some role.
MacPhail was Minnesota's GM from 1985-94. He was the Cubs president from 1994-2006 and helped them to two postseason appearances. He was Baltimore's president of baseball operations from 2007-11 and helped pave the way for the Orioles to return to the postseason in 2012.
He chose to leave the game for a few years to spend time with family and travel around the world.
"I'm better for it," MacPhail said. "It's been an eye-opener. It was a great experience. You have to go do the things you want to do because you don't know the future. I'm happy I did it."
MacPhail inherits an organization that's in disarray. He has to decide whether he wants to retain Amaro or hire a new GM and has to select a new manager to replace interim skipper Pete Mackanin.
"It's way premature to talk about personnel decisions." MacPhail said.
MacPhail also has a big challenge in moving high-priced former stars Ryan Howard and Chase Utley and finding the right deal in potential trades for ace Cole Hamels and closer Jonathan Papelbon.
"He's an information-gatherer and that's very important because any information is critical to making the right decisions," Gillick said of MacPhail.
Middleton's presence at the news conference was a first. The team's ownership group had avoided the spotlight for years, but Middleton is emerging as the vocal leader.
"There's been an evolution within the franchise over the last several years," Middleton said. "The ownership group has shrunk. The Bucks and my family have a larger position and with that comes a responsibly that's very different than 25 years ago and you have to step up. Andy will have complete decision-making authority and we're involved at an earlier stage than we have been in the past."