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Phils focus on big picture at annual meetings

MLB.com @ToddZolecki

PHILADELPHIA -- Quietly, the Phillies held their organizational meetings last week in Clearwater, Fla.

The meetings typically happen shortly after the season so the club can map out the offseason. But because the Phillies have so many new faces in the front office and elsewhere -- most notably a new manager and coaching staff -- they pushed things to late January. It meant more discussions about organizational philosophies and goal-setting than free agency and roster construction.

PHILADELPHIA -- Quietly, the Phillies held their organizational meetings last week in Clearwater, Fla.

The meetings typically happen shortly after the season so the club can map out the offseason. But because the Phillies have so many new faces in the front office and elsewhere -- most notably a new manager and coaching staff -- they pushed things to late January. It meant more discussions about organizational philosophies and goal-setting than free agency and roster construction.

It also meant a cornhole tournament and scavenger hunt? Why, yes, it did.

"Real positive vibes at org meetings this past week," Charlie Manuel tweeted last week. "[Gabe] Kapler good communicator, seems excited about teaching, & put together a quality staff. FO upbeat w/solid plan. Enjoyed talking b'ball w/new personnel & old friends. That heat I took for being a 74yo cornhole rookie tho ."

Tweet from @CMBaseball41: Real positive vibes at org meetings this past week. Kapler good communicator, seems excited about teaching, & put together a quality staff. FO upbeat w/solid plan. Enjoyed talking b���ball w/new personnel & old friends. That heat I took for being a 74yo cornhole rookie tho 😂

Phillies general manager Matt Klentak explained, "We thought it was really important to bring our entire group together to review organizational priorities, to set goals for the upcoming year and to allow our group to connect with each other."

So why not try something out of the box, like cornhole?

"They were really fun and really competitive," Klentak said. "It was ranging from ownership all the way through the department. It was pretty cool."

Of course, the Phillies are still discussing roster construction and if they might find help for the rotation before Opening Day. It remains unlikely that Jake Arrieta, Yu Darvish -- or even Alex Cobb or Lance Lynn -- will join the Phillies unless their asking prices drop unexpectedly and significantly. But the club still hopes to sign a veteran starter before pitchers and catchers hold their first workout on Feb. 14 at Carpenter Complex.

"The phone calls continue," Klentak said. "The desire to do something is there. We're still feeling it out."

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.

Philadelphia Phillies