It is time once again for a Phillies 97.3 ESPN Monday Mailbag.  We take your questions every Monday and then we talk about them during the Sports Bash with Mike Gill on Tuesday afternoons at 2:30 p.m.   If you are not in South Jersey, you can listen online at 973espn.com.

Is Herrera as good as traded if Roman Quinn shows anything?
~Eric

Do you see Phillies shopping Herrera in off-season for starting pitching help? Do you see Quinn as an everyday player (CF)?
~Phil

We had a couple similar questions here, so I will answer them in one shot.

Phillies manager Pete Mackanin indicated that he would give rookie center fielder Roman Quinnsignificant playing time in the final weeks of the 2016 season.   The questions about Herrera will likely be answered by how Quinn responds to the playing time that he is given.    If he hits, the Phillies will feel comfortable trading Herrera.

Herrera's play has really slowed since making the National League All-Star team.  Since the All-Star break, Herrera is hitting just .240 with a .308 on base percentage.  In April, Herrera posted a .462 on base percentage, giving the team hope that he could be their leadoff hitter.  However, he has been supplanted by Cesar Hernandez, who has a .396 on base percentage since the All-Star break.

Quinn is superior to Herrera in defense, speed, and base running ability.   If Quinn can show he can get on base, I think that the Phillies would be more than happy to trade Herrera.  While Herrera has a few flaws, there are still teams that would be interested in Herrera.

Whether the Phillies get back a pitcher or something else, that remains to be seen.  If Herrera is in a trade, the Phillies would likely try to get back whatever is the best possible return. Recent trade rumorshad the Phillies looking for upgrades on offense, so maybe they would even trade him for a different type of bat.

What will Pete Mackanin have to do to have a job in 2018?
~Josh

I think Mackanin's 2018 fate will actually be decided this offseason.  Mackanin was originally signed to a one-year extension that lasted just 2016, but the Phillies added 2017 and another option year.   The move was made because the Phillies brass is happy with what they see from Mackanin.  I think they remain happy.

Rather than let Mackanin enter the 2017 as a lame duck, I would not be surprised if they guarantee 2018 for Mackanin.  The move allows Mackanin to manage as if he was not close to being let go.  Generally, a team lets a manager go into their last contractual year only if that manager is on the hot seat.

Mackanin has the respect of his young players, and I think Mackanin responds well with their development.  While some managers may have yelled at players for fundamental errors, Mackanin decided to fine his players.  The fine was levied 50 cents for every player on the field, not something that would have created a real animosity toward their manager, but instead a move that makes aware of their mistakes and strive to correct them.

So, if Mackanin makes it to 2017, I think his 2018 will be guaranteed.  Whenever the Phillies are expected to win, Mackanin's role will change from rebuilding manager to manager expected to win.   Then, Mackanin will be evaluated for that role.  The job he has I think everyone thinks he is doing well.

With their anemic offense will they be dumb enough to bring back Ellis?
~George

Yes.

I think that the Phillies acquired Ellis hoping to keep him around.  I think the September audition for Jorge Alfaro will determine whether or not the Phillies consider a trade of catcher Cameron Rupp.   Should the Phillies determine that Alfaro can take control of the Phillies pitching staff, I think that they would want Ellis back in the fold to mentor Alfaro.

Of course, as a free agent, Ellis is under no obligation to return to the Phillies. When Ellis departed from the Los Angeles Dodgers, the highly-emotional parting of Clayton Kershaw and his personal catcher made the news.    If the Dodgers would take Ellis back, maybe he would like to return.

While the offense that Ellis brings to the table is not much, that is generally not what teams look for in a backup catcher.  Ellis is known as a stellar game manager and captain behind the plate.  Many feel these qualities will make Ellis a fantastic manager in the Major Leagues some day.  If the Phillies can keep him around they might want to.