Rob Thomson is “interim” Phillies manager no more. The Phillies announced today that Thomson has been signed to a two-year extension covering the 2023-24 seasons, shedding his “interim” label and installing him as the team’s official manager.
Thomson, 59, opened the season as the bench coach to then-manager Joe Girardi but was promoted when the Phils fired Girardi on the heels of an ugly 22-29 start to their season. That early June dismissal came as owner John Middleton sought to shake up the clubhouse and breathe new life into that had spent more than half a billion dollars in free agents over the past several seasons. Despite having inked the likes of Bryce Harper, Zack Wheeler, J.T. Realmuto, Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber, however, the Phils looked to be on their way to an 11th consecutive postseason miss when Girardi was ousted.
The key phrase there is “looked to be on their way,” because in short order under Thomson, the Phillies not only found their stride and played back into contention — they posted one of MLB’s best records from June on, fought into the National League Wild Card round, and quickly ousted the NL Central-champion Cardinals in a two-game sweep on the road.
The Phillies went 65-46 under Thomson from the day he took the reins, and the pair of postseason wins — one a dramatic, ninth-inning comeback against a quality Cardinals bullpen — only furthered Thomson’s cause. Now after more than three decades of working in various front office and coaching capacities, Thomson will land his first long-term managerial post. He’s previously coached in the minors with the Tigers, held high-ranking player development positions in the Yankees organization, and accumulated more than two decades as a first base coach, third base coach and bench coach between the big leagues and the minors.
Even with the interim skippers being elevated both in Philadelphia and in Anaheim, there are five current managerial positions that are either vacant or occupied by an interim skipper throughout the league. The Rangers, Royals, White Sox, Blue Jays and Marlins will all need to name new managers, and it’s possible that postseason results could yet dictate another ousting or two.
Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reported the move was coming just minutes before the formal announcement (Twitter link).