PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies president Andy MacPhail is keeping quiet about his search for the Phillies' next general manager, but he is making progress.
MacPhail has said it would be ambitious to hire somebody before the Phillies' organizational meetings, which begin next Monday, but the idea that an announcement could come next week should not be dismissed. Sources have told MLB.com that the Phillies have interviewed the following candidates: Angels assistant general manager Matt Klentak, Royals assistant general manager J.J. Picollo, Cardinals director of player personnel Matt Slater and former Marlins general manager Larry Beinfest. CBSSports.com reported Indians vice president of player personnel Ross Atkins also has interviewed. FOXSports.com reported Tuesday that MacPhail will interview A's assistant GM Dan Kantrovitz a second time for the job. Others are in the second-round mix.
It is likely MacPhail has interviewed others.
MLB.com identified Klentak in June as a favorite to replace former general manager Ruben Amaro Jr., when reports first surfaced about MacPhail's arrival. MacPhail hired Klentak as director of baseball operations in Baltimore in March 2008, making him one of the youngest executives in baseball. Klentak worked with MacPhail in scouting, player development, contract negotiations and the construction of the 40-man roster. Klentak also handled much of the Angels' heavy lifting when Jerry Dipoto resigned as Angels GM on July 1.
Klentak, 34, graduated from Dartmouth with an economics degree in 2002.
There have been reports Picollo is the front runner, although an ESPN.com report Monday disputed that. Picollo has played a role in the Royals' resurgence as one of the top teams in the American League, despite working with a small-market payroll. The Royals won the AL pennant in 2014, and entering Monday, they need two more victories in this year's AL Championship Series to play in their second consecutive World Series.
Picollo also grew up in Cherry Hill, N.J., which means he has more than cursory knowledge of the Philadelphia area, its fans and media.
Despite reports, sources have said that MLB vice president of baseball operations Kim Ng and former Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington are not among MacPhail's top list of candidates.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.