The Phillies announced today that Pete Mackanin will not return to manage the club in 2018. Rather, Mackanin has agreed to a contract extension to join the front office and serve as a special assistant to general manager Matt Klentak. Mackanin will finish out the current season as the Phillies’ skipper.
The news comes as somewhat of a surprise, as it was only May 11 that the Phillies gave Mackanin a vote of confidence by extending his managerial contract through the 2018 campaign (with a club option for the 2019 season). Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic tweets that a friend of Mackanin’s described him as “shocked” to receive the news that he won’t be returning to his post next season.
Beyond that, the Phillies’ play has improved substantially with the second-half arrivals of Rhys Hoskins, Nick Williams and Jorge Alfaro, among others. The Phillies entered the break with a record of 29-58 but have since played at a near-.500 clip. Overall, the Phillies played at a 172-237 pace under Mackanin, though he was tasked with overseeing a clearly rebuilding club that was never expected to win many games.
Mackanin, 66, spent parts of nine seasons as a Major League infielder, including two with the Phillies, and had a pair of half-season stints as a big league skipper prior to taking on that role with the Phillies. He’s served in various capacities over the life of his post-playing career, including spending time as a third base coach, a bench coach, a minor league manager and a Major League scout. The Phillies didn’t offer any specific details of what his new role will entail beyond the fact that he received a contract extension upon taking the position.
Given that, it seems clear that the Phillies still value Mackanin’s input and feel that his presence can be beneficial to the organization. However, Klentak and team president Andy MacPhail were not with the organization when Mackanin was named manager back in 2015, and they’ll now have the opportunity to bring in their own manager.
The Philadelphia vacancy creates two openings for new skippers around the league, as the Tigers have already announced that Brad Ausmus will not return as the manager in 2018. A third opening seems all but certain to emerge in the coming days, as multiple reports out of New York have indicated that Terry Collins is extremely unlikely to return as the Mets’ manager in 2018.
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