Mackanin will manage the season’s final three games versus the Mets this weekend. He signed a contract extension to serve as a special assistant to the general manager through 2018 and beyond which will allow him to remain and watch the potential progression of the roster he helped guide for the last 2 1/2 years. It is unclear if anybody from the current coaching staff will be retained.
Mackanin, then the bench coach, replaced Ryne Sandberg as manager in June 2015, when Sandberg suddenly quit mid-season. Under Mackanin, the Phillies went 172-237 (.421) while guiding a youth movement and (mostly) overpaid veterans. The Phillies are 64-95 (.403) this season, third-worst record in the Major Leagues, although they have been an entirely different team in the 2nd half of the season with the addition of future pieces like Rhys Hoskins and Nick Williams. They are 35-37 (.486) since the All-Star break and 21-18 (.538) since Aug. 18.
Asked recently if Mackanin would be the manager next season, Matt Klentak said, “When we signed him to the extension, the intention was to take the drama out of both this year and next year. Beyond that we’ll have to see, but I think when we signed Pete that was right in the beginning stages of our struggles. The fact that he and his staff were able to weather the storm and get us going on the right track was really important for us this season. Everything I’ve said about Pete at various times is still the case. He and I will get together either late in the year or right after the season is over and talk about the rest of the staff and how we move forward.”
This is a surprise to some who were encouraged by the improvements made under Mackanin when some talent was added to the lineup. It’s less of a surprise to those who believe that the Phils are ready for the next step which requires a leader, rather than a teacher. Ultimately, final judgement will be made after the new hire is made and we see what difference it makes in 2018.