Phillies Manager Mackanin is Uncertain About 2018 Job Status
Phillies manager Pete Mackanin went from being an interim manager to a permanent one. This past May the Phillies extended Mackanin's contract through the 2018 season and added an option for the 2019 season. Despite having a contract for next season, could someone other than Mackanin manage the Phillies next season? Less than a week before Sunday's finale against the New York Mets, Mackanin seemed to express some doubt about his status next season.
In a Todd Zolecki piece on MLB.com, Mackanin said that he has not heard if he was indeed returning in 2018:
Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said Monday that he has not been told if he will return next season.
He hopes to hear soon.
"I'm signed through next year," Mackanin said, referring to the contract extension Phillies general manager Matt Klentak signed him to in May. "I assume I'll be here, but you never know. You never know what they're going to do."
Zolecki reports that the Phillies will have an organizational meeting on Saturday that will look at the roster and perhaps any coaching or managerial changes.
It is often a common courtesy to keep a manager from having to manage in a "lame duck" season in which the manager is not signed beyond. When a manager is managing in the last year of a deal, the manager's job status is often the target of questions from the media and fans. It makes sense that the Phillies would want to avoid such conversations with many young players rising to the Phillies down the stretch. With the season done, could the Phillies make a move now?
Mackanin's salary has never been reported publicly. Bruce Bochy of the San Francisco Giants is the highest-paid manager with a salary of $6 million, followed by Joe Maddon of the Cubs and Mike Scioscia of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, who each earn $5 million each annually. It would not be surprising if Mackanin's salary were one of the lower salaries in baseball and therefore one very easy for the Phillies to eat.
The Phillies organization is very high on Dusty Wathan, manager of Triple-A Lehigh Valley. It would not be surprising at all if the Phillies were to shake up the coaching staff some to include Wathan. But who might they subtract? Juan Samuel often is criticized for his coaching at third base, but the Dominican-born Samuel has been valuable as a baserunning coach, outfield instructor, and as a mentor to Latin players.
The New York Mets will be looking for a manager at season's end, according to some reports. The Phillies probably would not want Wathan to be scooped up by the Mets and have inside knowledge about their National League East rivals for years to come.
The Phillies could make a move if they felt that the next manager for the next era is available. That would mean that a manager would have to be available. There are no big names like Maddon on the market right now. Some managerial candidates who could grow into seasoned managers down the line that are available could include Mike Redmond, bench coach for the Rockies and former manager of the Miami Marlins, Lloyd McClendon, former Pirates manager and hitting coach for the Detroit Tigers, and recently-dismissed Detroit Tigers manager Brad Ausmus.
The Detroit Free Press suggested for the vacancy for the Tigers the aforementoined Redmond, McClendon, former Twins Manager Ron Gardenhire, former Washington Nationals and Cleveland Indians manager Manny Acta, and legendary shortstop Omar Vizquel, who has been coaching first base for the Tigers. The Venezuelan-born Vizquel would certainly be a match for the many Venezuelan-born Phillies players.
This is all pure speculation, for now. But it is very interesting that Mackanin would even publicly mention that he felt his job status was up in the air. Perhaps he senses a change. It sounds like if there is one, we will know about it beginning Saturday.