Phillies making organizational upgrades

President Andy MacPhail leading efforts to modernize operations

Phillies making organizational upgrades

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The Phillies have been making changes to Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia and to Spectrum Field in Clearwater, but on Monday, Phillies president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail outlined other changes happening inside the organization and expanded on the philosophies behind them.

Understandably, most of the focus is on baseball, but there are business operations to consider as well.

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"We have to be good at everything," MacPhail said.

So they look at everything. Since the 2016 season ended, the Phillies have hired a mental-skills coach. They opened a state-of-the-art facility in the Dominican Republic. They continued to add to the analytics department. They plan to expand their nutritional program for the Minor Leagues-- particularly the programs here in Clearwater -- and in the Gulf Coast League as well as extended spring training.

"We are trying to improve the environment, we're trying to make resources available to our players that enhances the chances of them being as good as they can be," MacPhail said. "I talked to players before our first full workout. One of the messages that I tried to convey is that any organization worth its salt knows that its job is to make you as good as you can be. We want you to reach all of the goals that you possibly can. The closer you come to reaching all of your goals, the closer the organization is going to come to reaching its goals. That's why the environment has been improved.

MacPhail on successful offseason

"One of the things I asked the players was, look, if you came from another organization and they offered something that we don't, that you found helpful to your career, tell us. Tell us, so we can look at it. That's the whole idea."

The Phillies are keeping their eyes and ears open as well.

"We try to pay attention to what others are doing and copy good ideas," MacPhail said. "We try to go step by step and try to ascertain what would make the biggest impact now, before we delve into some other things. Tampa Bay just announced they're having their [workout] times pushed back because they want players to sleep in. You have performance coaches. You have sleep scientists now. We're always looking to see what other clubs are doing and maybe try to prioritize."

On the business side, Phillies executive vice president and chief operating officer Mike Stiles is retiring at the end of June. MacPhail has been working on his replacement since late last summer.

"We are looking at business restructuring, but we know the target date is July 1," MacPhail said.

Is it likely to be an internal or an external hire?

"We're still looking at that as a 'TBD'," MacPhail said. "We're taking a fresh look at everything."

Phillies Spring Training report

MacPhail said the Phillies have expanded their business analytics and social media departments. They are making enhancements to video, at both the ballpark and with their broadcasts. That includes upgraded video boards with PhanaVision graphics, and a pitch tracker for television broadcasts.

"They're tired of me saying this, but the first thing I did in my office is remove the bookshelves and put in a huge TV, so when we have meetings we could be talking about the budget, the roster, Major League payroll, but it's right there," MacPhail said. "Whatever is on their iPad they can pop onto the screen. I'm trying to get that to permeate the organization through different departments. We just need to be a little more current."

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.