All is Quiet on the Phillies Manager Front
We are now in the middle of the American League and National League Championship Series. The Phillies have interviewed several candidates for manager already. However, the rumor mill is quiet around now. Does this mean the Phillies have their new manager and are set to make an announcement after the break?
The Candidates Who Interviewed
Juan Samuel. The Phillies interviewed former player and long-time coach Samuel for the position first. The Phillies interviewed Samuel before deciding to make Pete Mackanin interim manager back in 2015. If the Phillies are really looking for a new voice in the dugout, it would be hard to create too big a culture change with Samuel at the helm, who has worked as a Phillies coach seven seasons now.
Jorge Velandia. Velandia has been a Phillies employee for seven seasons, plus played his final professional career in the Phillies organization. The Venezuela native is very highly regarded and spent time in the front office with general manager Matt Klentak already.
Dusty Wathan. Wathan rose through the Phillies minor league system with many of the young Phillies, having managed some of them at as many as three levels. Wathan is highly-regarded by his players and the Phillies organization. However, a similiar question comes up as they did with Samuel: is Wathan really a new voice? I almost expect Wathan to be part of the major league coaching staff no matter what.
Mickey Callaway. The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that the Phillies were set to interiew Callaway.. So far this is the only external name that the Phillies have reportedly interviewed just yet as he was said to be interviewing "late this week". For months leading up to this offseason, Callaway has been regarded as a strong managerial candidate. The Phillies may face competition for Callaway.
Other Names not yet linked to interviews. So far the following have been linked to the Phillies in one way or another:Gary DiSarcina, Brad Ausmus, Tim Bogar, Mike Redmond and even Buck Showalter. Showalter is not expected to be a candidate, as he is under contract with the Orioles.
Who May Have the Edge?
When the Phillies relieved Mackanin of his duties, I said on the air on 973espn.com that the club could already know who they want. I really wonder if that would be one of their in-house candidates, Velandia. There is one major indicator something may have been in the works.
Velandia was a highly-respected general manager of the Tiburones de la Guaira in the Venezuelan league. This was an offseason position he held in addition to his work with the Phillies. Back in July, a report on their website announced that Velandia had resigned his position due to increasing responsibilities with the Philadelphia Phillies.
Certainly becoming a team's manager would increase his responsibilities. Velandia had to know something was coming down the pike. Could it be that he will be the next Phillies manager?