All along, I've been saying that the crossroads that the Phillies are at is that they have to either a) pivot back to a rebuild now or b) go all out for two years to try to pry open a brief one or two year window of opportunity and then hope that it all comes together--a la 1993--either in 2021 or 2022 while the start over again with another rebuild can is kicked down the road a couple of years. It looks like they are choosing the former and paying the piper now, for better or for worse.
I tend to think that you are right that Rice may just be a placeholder whose job it is to clear out deadwood and clear cap space for the next guy. Basically, doing a good bit of teardown work. As for McPhail, he is being transitioned out and looking to bring in his own replacement more so that Klentak's and let this new guy (or gal, in the event of someone like Ng) who replaces him decide how the office of club president will work in terms of whether he/she is the brains of the operation (like Epstein with the Cubs, Friedman with the Dodgers, Bloom with the Red Sox) with the GM being an appendage of him/her or whether he/she is more hands-off like he was with the GM being the brains of the operation. Probably not a good idea to hire a new GM and foist him on the next club president. That's pretty much what they did to Klentak with Almaraz and, to a lesser extent, Jordan. The new guy/gal should have free reign to hire their own people and that probably should include Barber and Girardi. Perhaps Barber and Girardi will prove themselves keepers (and want to stay, see more below about Girardi) but the new brains of the operation should have the ability to keep or replace them.
One thing is certain, Harper is going to be an increasingly unhappy camper. He better get used to being pitched around a lot.
And, how much will Girardi want to stick around managing bad teams (although Mattingly stuck with the Marlins and appears to be coming out on the other side with an up and coming team to run). I don't think managing a rebuilding team was a part of the sales pitch to get him here (as was the case with Harper).
Just google Realmuto and Mets and there are a flurry of blogs and NY Post articles which pretty much telegraph that Cohen has every intention of making a big splash and stopping at nothing to get Realmuto to Queens. I would almost say it's fait accompli at this point. They'll sign him for six years $180 million.