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November 08, 2016

Phillies bolster front office with series of new hires

PHOENIX – The Phillies announced a series of new hires and promotions within their baseball operations department on Tuesday morning, including the addition of a long-time, well-respected National League front office veteran.

Brian Minniti, who spent the previous seven seasons with the Arizona Diamondbacks and Washington Nationals, was hired as a special assistant to the general manager. Minniti, 36, spent the last two years in Arizona, working in a variety of roles in the front office, including rules compliance, transactions, budgeting, statistical analysis, and contract negotiations.

The Pennsylvania native and University of Pittsburgh graduate (he received a bachelor of science degree with a double major in Mathematics and Statistics) will report directly to general manager Matt Klentak. As will Jorge Velandia, who was also announced as a new special assistant to the GM; Velandia previously worked as a player personnel special assistant within the Phillies baseball operations staff.

"I’ve known Brian for a long time, he’s a tremendous worker and a great baseball guy," Klentak said at Tuesday's General Managers Meetings at the Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia. "I think we’re really fortunate that our ownership is allowing us to continue to build our group, in the hopes of making better decisions as we move forward. ... This is not just about Brian. I saw considerable value in what Jorge Velandia has brought to us, the perspective that he brings into the decision-making. We’re going to elevate his role in the coming year. We’ve added scouts, we continue to roll out our analytics group. There are some additions hires that we hope to make later in the year. all of these hires in total are designated to improve our decision making as we move forward."

Among the other hires:

 • The Phillies added Geoff Miller as a mental skills coach. Miller worked in a similar role for the Atlanta Braves, and also worked for the Pirates and Nationals, too. Four years ago, he wrote a book called, “Intangibles: Big-League Stories and Strategies for Winning the Mental Game-In Baseball and in Life.” 

 Klentak worked with Miller for a period in Anaheim with the Angels. He said Miller will split his time between both the major and minor leagues. 

"At the beginning of spring training he’ll be in big league camp exclusively, because there won’t be a lot of minor league players started yet," Klentak said. "As we get into later stages of camp, he’ll probably shuttle back and forth. During the season he will be relocating to Philadelphia, which will make it a lot easier for him to access our players up and down the system, including the big leagues. Geoff was hired (before Tuesday) and he was working with (scouting director) Johnny (Almaraz) and attending draft meetings, he’s been involved in a lot of the amateur stuff. He’s already been with us for a couple of months."

 • Natan Weinberger was hired as an analyst in the team’s growing baseball research and development department. Weinberger’s varied background includes working a developer with Google’s Android device and as a researcher in the medical field.

 • Former third baseman Charlie Hayes, who spent four seasons with the Phillies between 1989-95, joined the organization as a coach for the Gulf Coast League Phillies.

 Also in the minor league ranks, Dusty Wathan was officially promoted from the manager at Double-A Reading to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Greg Legg, who previously managed at Class A Clearwater, takes over at the manager at Reading, while Shawn Williams was promoted from the manager at Low-A Lakewood to the same role at Clearwater. Marty Malloy, the subject of a book 10 years ago about the life of a minor league ballplayer, will manage at Lakewood in 2016.

 • In bolstering their international operation, the Phillies hired Greg McMillin to serve as the coordinator for international scouting and Rafael Alvarez as an international scout. They will work under international scouting director (and 2015 Dallas Green Award winner) Sal Agostinelli.

 • In the amateur scouting department, the Phillies hired four new scouts, including Greg Schilz (formerly of the Pirates). He was named national scouting coordinator. Will Brunson, Justin Morganstern, and Justin Munson will work as area sources under amateur scouting director Johnny Almaraz.

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