PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- 94WIP's Howard Eskin is reporting big changes are on the horizon for the Phillies organization. According to Eskin, the Phillies are in the process of beginning a huge turnover in the front office that will lead to an ownership change taking the decision making power away from Owner David Montgomery.
Eskin joined 94WIP's Josh Innes on Thursday night to discuss the report.
Montgomery has been away from the team recovering from cancer surgery. According to Eskin, the organization feels that Montgomery's loyalty has led to the Phillies hanging on to too many aging players that are holding the franchise back and hurting the minor league system.
"David is an extremely loyal person," Eskin said. "In sports, that's a problem, especially with players." As President of the team, Montgomery had final say on the team's major decisions including the signing of aging players like Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Carlos Ruiz.
The absence of Montgomery is also something that Eskin is reporting has to do more with this move and less with Montgomery needing to be away to recover.
"He was in work almost everyday from May when he had the surgery," Eskin said of Montgomery. "So all of a sudden now he's going to take a leave of absence, which at the time everybody thought alright let him kind of step aside and take care of what he's got to take care of, but then I found out they pushed him out."
Eskin is also reporting that minority owner John Middleton is attempting to become the majority owner of the team and will then take a more hands off approach than Montgomery to allow baseball minds to make the baseball decisions. A vote of the ownership group is needed to allow that change of power to happen, but with Montgomery out of the picture, the path for Middleton becomes clearer. According to Eskin, Middleton currently owns 48% of the team and is close to getting the approval he needs to take over the controlling majority.
Eskin added that he believes the organization will begin the rebuild this offseason and will make it a priority to move Howard and Cole Hamels. According to Eskin the team will eat the majority of Howard's deal in any move to trade him and they feel that trading Hamels will allow them to replenish the farm system.
"He will spend whatever it takes," Eskin said of Middleton. That will be a necessary attitude in moving a contract like Howard's.
"I was told by another source that Ryan Howard will not be back. They will trade him and pay as much as they have to pay to move him."
In terms of Hamels, there are several teams including the Boston Red Sox and the Chicago Cubs that are interested in his services and that boast solid young trade chips that could entice the Phillies.
When asked about the future of General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr., Eskin added "I think he gets one more year."
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