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By Connor Thomas

 

There’s been a section of the Philadelphia Phillies fan base that has been clamoring for it for years now: “Go poach somebody from the front office of one of the more successful teams in baseball!” Well, it appears that Dave Dombrowski has received the message that had fallen on deaf ears in the past. Yesterday the Phillies announced that they are hiring 27 year old Anirudh Kilambi, who was the Assistant Director of Research and Development for the Tampa Bay Rays, to be their Assistant General Manager. A couple things stand out about the hire at face value, the first probably being the team that Kilambi hails from. The Rays have been the absolute pinnacle of minor league success over the past few seasons, dominating every level from rookie ball up to AAA. They’ve drafted well, developed well, signed well, and did all of that while dealing with one of the smallest payrolls in baseball. Tampa Bay is the modern day edition of the “Moneyball” Oakland Athletics, and the Phillies might have just brought Jonah Hill into town. If you want to rebuild a farm system that has been ailing for say… a DECADE, there’s no better organization to model yourself after than the Rays. That part of the signing seems to be a perfect move.

The next thing that stands out when you look at Kilambi is his age. At only 27, he is clearly going to be one of the younger voices in the Phillies’ front office as they attempt to create a winning farm system. Often youth can be seen as a detriment, but the plus side is that Dave Dombrowski has enough experience in baseball for the both of them. Working with Dombrowski, who is a tenured President of Baseball Operations who has been around the block numerous times, is an awesome opportunity for Kilambi, and could lead to front office continuity for the Phils in the future. Could you ever imagine Matt Klentak having an apprentice that he teaches how to run baseball operations? Yeah, me neither. Luckily for Philadelphia fans, Dombrowski knows the way things are supposed to operate, and now Kilambi should be able to infuse that with the new-age process that the Rays have used to become one of baseball’s stalwarts.

It could, of course, take a while to see the fruits of this move become ripe enough to pick from the minors and actually play at the Major League level, but hey, a rebuild of a system has to start somewhere. After years of recycling talent from organizations that have not proven an ability to create a successful farm system, the Phillies have finally decided to go to a winning team and take one of their bright up and comers to pull their organization out of the dark ages. Hopefully, that will be exactly what Anirudh Kilambi does in his time in Philly.