Phils owner Middleton: Rebuild is 'on track'

Philadelphia should be among highest payrolls in MLB again in coming years

Phils owner Middleton: Rebuild is 'on track'

NEW YORK -- Phillies managing partner John Middleton always has something interesting to say whenever he speaks publicly about his team.

Thursday morning proved no different.

Middleton spent an hour speaking with radio host Angelo Cataldi on 94 WIP. Here are some of the highlights:

On the timetable of the rebuild
Middleton said he likes where the Phillies stand.

"We're on schedule," he said. "We're on track."

But how much longer will it take? Middleton said in a meeting last summer that Phillies general manager Matt Klentak looked at the successful rebuilds of the Cubs, Pirates, Royals, Astros, Mets and Orioles. Klentak found the shortest amount of time -- the span from a losing season to a postseason berth -- was four years. The longest was seven to eight.

"That kind of gives you the bracket -- four to seven years," Middleton said. "We really didn't start our rebuild until after the 2014 season. … We're in Year 3, and I think we're on track. I'd like to think we're on the shorter end of that spectrum -- four or five years -- rather than the longer end of six, seven years."

On acquiring talent
The Phillies could begin making major financial commitments to players outside the organization as early as this offseason -- possibly even earlier, if the right trade presents itself.

"Whatever we can't develop internally -- and nobody develops everything internally, you have to be able to trade and sign free agents," Middleton said. "And we have the money to do it. We had the No. 2, 3, 4 payroll for years. We're going to be there again. We're going to be aggressive when it's appropriate to be aggressive."

On his managing style
Is Middleton a hands-on owner?

"Yeah, I am hands-on," he said.

But Middleton said he will not be micromanaging and assembling the 40-man and 25-man rosters.

"What I'm not going to do is go to them and say, 'I insist that you sign this player,' or 'I insist that you trade for this player,'" Middleton said. "I may make suggestions."

On becoming a majority owner
Middleton owns 48 percent of the team. He said he has no interest in acquiring a majority share, because of his close relationship with the Buck family, which owns a sizable share of the team.

"We couldn't be doing what we're doing without their complete support," Middleton said. "Why would you upset the apple cart? There's no reason to. I'm real happy with where we are."

On his vision
"To me, 100 years from now, when people ask, 'What are the greatest teams in the history of baseball?' I want one of our Phillies teams to be in that conversation," he said.

Galvis' gaffe
Freddy Galvis failed to run hard on an infield popup in the eighth inning Tuesday in a 10-inning victory over the Mets at Citi Field. Mets third baseman Jose Reyes dropped the ball and Galvis should have reached second base, but he only reached first. Because Galvis did not hustle, he did not score on a subsequent ground-rule double, leaving the game tied and putting victory in jeopardy.

Galvis reaches on dropped ball

After the game, Phillies manager Pete Mackanin supported Galvis, who is one of the team's smartest and hardest-working players. Middleton said he emailed team president Andy MacPhail and Klentak and asked about it.

"Although I agree with Pete, I think we're going to just have to wait and see what happens," Middleton said. "One time is one thing. Two times is different. Three times is different still. … But I'm perfectly OK with where Pete came out with that."

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