In mid-2015, Philadelphia Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg resigned. The Phillies were in the midst of rebuilding, and appointed third base coach Pete Mackanin as interim manager. The Phillies then removed the interim label for the 2016 season, giving him a contract through 2017 with a team option for 2018. On Thursday, the Phillies extended Mackanin’s contract through 2018, with a team option for 2019.
Mackanin’s role as a steward for the rebuilding ball club has grown into the manager of the future. Even with a paltry record of 121-161, the Phillies believe that Mackanin could be the manager to lead them into contention. This follows complaints by Joaquin Benoit on how the bullpen was being run. Clearly, team president Andy MacPhail and GM Matt Klentak believe in their skipper. The move could come to relieve stress that this is a contract year, which in turn could help his performance. The Phillies have dropped 10 of 12, and do not fare well in one-run games.
The Phillies own lots of talent in the minors, including several Latin America pitchers. Baseball America ranks the Phillies farm system as one of the best in baseball currently. The position players in the minors have good glove work and excellent bats. The Phillies believe Mackanin can guide this young talent into a competing team. Between savvy drafting of college players and signings from Latin America, the Phillies look to continue to build from the bottom up.
Mackanin will have his work cut out for him turning the Phillies into a contender again, but both the general manager and the team president support him. Thus, Mackanin should be able to craft a tradition of winning in Philadelphia. The Phillies have not released the terms of the extension.