2:34PM: The Phillies have announced Fuld’s promotion. Also, Jorge Velandia was promoted to assistant general manager from special assistant to the GM (as reported earlier today by Jim Salisbury) and former Twins GM Terry Ryan will move into the special assistant role from his past position as a Phillies special assignment scout.
12:59PM: The Phillies are set to promote Sam Fuld to the role of general manager, according to NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Jim Salisbury (Twitter link). Fuld has been working for the team for the last three seasons as the director of integrative baseball performance.
Much like Philadelphia’s recent hire of Dave Dombrowski as the president of baseball operations, the news comes as something of a surprise, as there wasn’t any indication that Fuld was under consideration for the GM role. However, after months of uncertainty about the front office after former GM Matt Klentak was reassigned, the Phillies’ baseball ops pyramid is now led by the one-two punch of a veteran executive in Dombrowski and a younger, first-time general manager in Fuld.
It was only back in 2017 that Fuld retired from a playing career that saw him play in 598 Major League games from 2007-15 with the Cubs, Rays, Athletics, and Twins. Fuld moved from the diamond to the Phillies’ front office, operating (as he explained to Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Inquirer in 2018) in a role that allowed him to transmit and teach analytical data provided by the front office to the Phillies’ players. “I can appreciate what it’s like to step in the box and understand that some of the things that we may be asking them to do are really, really hard,” Fuld told Breen. “I think that’s been an issue in the past I’ve seen. Players are told to do something from someone that doesn’t quite have playing experience at a high level and it can be frustrating when you’re told to do something that is really, really difficult. It’s taken for granted sometimes. Hopefully I can relate.”
The skillset of being able to blend recent playing experience with new-age analytical data made Fuld a sought-after managerial candidate in recent years, though he turned down most interview requests before finally sitting down with the Red Sox about their managerial vacancy this past fall. Fuld was known to be a finalist for the position the Sox re-hired former skipper Alex Cora.
Rather than turn to managing, the 39-year-old Fuld will now take a new path as a GM. He joins the Rangers’ Chris Young and the Mariners’ Jerry Dipoto as current general managers who also played in the majors (Oakland executive VP of baseball operations Billy Beane also has MLB experience.) Young’s recent hiring in Texas might be the most obvious comp, as both Fuld and Young are recently retired players working under seasoned presidents of baseball operations — Dombrowski in Philadelpha and Jon Daniels in Texas — who will have the final say on personnel moves.