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10/30/08 6:25 PM EST

Phillies president hopes Gillick stays

GM plans to step down Friday, could become consultant

PHILADELPHIA -- The nameplate on the general manager's office still reads "Pat Gillick," and Phillies team president Dave Montgomery has no immediate plans to have it removed.

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While Montgomery remains hopeful Gillick will reconsider his previously stated plan to step aside when his three-year contract expires Friday, he's not optimistic. The next best thing, then, could be Gillick remaining with the team on some level, possibly as a consultant.

"I absolutely see ways that he stays in some capacity," said Montgomery, whose busy Thursday included planning a parade for the World Series champions and accepting a congratulatory phone call from President George W. Bush.

"I can't be optimistic that he's changed his mind entirely about remaining as GM, but I can see an opportunity for him to continue as part of the club."

Though Gillick refuses to use the word "retire," all indications are that he will do so Friday. The man who fine-tuned a stout nucleus of players to get them a parade appears ready to walk away from a full-time job.

He said in the glow of Wednesday's on-field celebration that he's moving back to Seattle -- one of his previous general manager spots -- because his wife lives there and the distance apart has become too much.

"We will be disappointed if that's Pat's decision," Montgomery said. "But at the same time, he gave us three spectacular years. And I know we all learned a lot from him. The fact of the matter is that every move is important and that's exactly what Pat teaches you. It's not just the big moves, it's every move imaginable."

While Montgomery said the "door is wide open" for Gillick's return, a more likely scenario has him naming a successor before the annual General Managers Meetings, which start Monday.

Assistant general managers Mike Arbuckle and Ruben Amaro Jr. are each believed to be leading candidates.

Each would love the job, and Montgomery understands that one's hiring might cause the other to seek an opportunity with another organization.

"Obviously, if Pat is affirming his decision to retire, changes are going to be made, and I don't know what the fallout is from that," Montgomery said. "But Pat has been so inclusive that I think we have developed a deeper pipeline [of qualified people] than we ever had in baseball operations before."

Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.