Phillies Mailbag: Mackanin, Hoskins, Bench
We are back with a final week of the season Phillies mailbag! Each week we take your questions about the Phillies and talk about them on 97.3 ESPN and 973espn.com.
Given the latest words from Pete Mackanin, do you think he is going to return as Phillies manager next season?
This question is not an easy one to answer. Earlier this week, Phillies manager Pete Mackanin made some comments that indicated at least some degree of doubt that he would return to the Phillies in 2018. My biggest question related to your question is, if not Mackanin, then who?
Since I posted the piece on Monday, a few people have Tweeted that long-time organization manager Dusty Wathan could be the guy. However, I think the move comes only when the organization is ready to begin winning. If that is next season, I do not think a 44 year-old rookie manager is it, though I think Wathan is a good candidate for a major league coaching position.
I think the Phillies probably likely move forward with Mackanin in 2018 and wait to see who their ideal "next" manager is. Maybe, like with the Chicago Cubs and the sudden availability of Joe Maddon, they could consider a move. One such possibility is a Philadelphia native.
After signing a 10-year deal to manage the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, manager Mike Scioscia is heading into the final year of his deal in 2018. Scioscia, the second-highest paid manager in baseball at $5 million per year, probably will have a conversation about his future with the club this offseason.
Should the Angels and Scioscia decide they are no longer a fit together, then maybe he becomes available to the Phillies, perhaps with some compensation attached.
I like several managerial candidates available, in particular former Marlins manager Mike Redmond and Tigers first base coach Omar Vizquel. However, I think if there is a change this offseason, it will only be for a big name like Scioscia. The otherwise are in no hurry to make a move.
As with Maddon, the Cubs made the move when they were ready to get to the next level and win. I am not sure the 2018 Phillies are the 2016 Cubs just yet. Therefore, Mackanin could stay another year.
What do you think is leading to Rhys Hoskins slumping down the stretch here?
I think this is a classic case of a scouting report developing against a young talented player. Starting his big league career at a torrid pace, we knew Hoskins would not sustain the 96 home run pace he would have kept throughout a major league season. After Hoskins got off to a hot start, the league began making adjustments when they face Hoskins.
In the last seven days, Hoskins is just 2 for 23. That is a batting average of .087, certainly nothing to write home about. It does not tell the whole story of Hoskins during this time, thankfully.
Hoskins has still been working walks and picking up some runs batted in with sacrifices (he has four walks and four RBI in this span). So really, he continues to be productive, even though he is not hitting home runs and his batting average is slipping a bit. But the game is all about adjustments.
Hoskins came into the league and terrorized pitching. Pitchers took notice. Now it is time for Hoskins to adjust back. As we have seen many times in this game, the ultimate question surrounding a talented young player is whether or not he can adjust. It is now up to Hoskins to adjust.
Given his work ethic and determination, I would expect Hoskins to recover nicely. He may be in need of a day off, but I think he probably will play out this stretch before getting an offseason to relax.
Why haven't the Phillies been playing Hyun Soo Kim or Cameron Perkins?
Should this be an honest question, I think it has a very simple answer: Aaron Altherr, Odubel Herrera, Nick WIlliams, and Rhys Hoskins.
The Phillies finally have their starting outfield healthy and can play Altherr, Herrera, and Williams on most days. The Phillies have been starting Tommy Joseph at first base against left-handed hitters, which moves Hoskins to the outfield. On those days, either Herrera or Williams have gotten a day off. At times even Maikel Franco has gotten a look at first base so J.P. Crawford could play third base.
Additionally, neither player is part of the future of this Phillies team. In fact, I would venture to say that Kim never plays American professional baseball again after this season. After signing a two-year, $7 million deal with the Baltimore Orioles that expires after this season, I would expect Kim to return to Korea and be a million-dollar player there once again.
Perkins is a really nice guy, but I think he is a candidate to be outrighted to Triple-A after the season. He could stick around the Phillies organization at Triple-A and perhaps get the call if injuries mount to the point that they really need him. But, Perkins is probably the type of guy who gets a cup of coffee at the big league level and otherwise flourishes at Triple-A.
It was not long ago that the Phillies almost had to start both Kim and Perkins out of necessity with Herrera and Altherr on the disabled list. However, with five players to split time over three outfield positions and first base, they simply will not crack the lineup with the five the Phillies have around.