Sports

Uram: Pete Mackanin Deserves Better from Phillies Management

Photo Courtesy of Boston.com

When Ryne Sandberg stepped down as Phillies manager in 2015, they were an absolute mess of an organization on its way to a last place finish in Major League Baseball. There was little upside for a franchise going through organizational changes in the front office with a long, lengthy rebuild ahead.

Pete Mackanin accepted the role as interim manager at age 63, eventually became full time skipper and deservedly received a contract extension before last season, one that was improved at the big league level despite a lineup lacking enough “professional” hitters, especially in the outfield. He’s a loyal soldier, who hasn’t ripped management despite its methodical process of rebuilding in a major market with a large payroll.

Even though it’s taking a long time, the Phils are on the incline. There are players already in the majors who could be key contributors such as Maikel Franco, Odubel Herrera and Tommy Joseph. In the bullpen, young arms like Hector Neris and Edubray Ramos should be around a long time. Jerad Eickhoff and Vince Velasquez could be more than solid and Aaron Nola, when healthy, showed glimpses of good stuff. Most importantly, the Phillies’ farm system has emerged as one of the best in baseball with prospects that could be cornerstone players or trade chips to bring in established big league talent.

But for some reason, Mackanin heads into another [hopefully the last] season of transition as a lame duck manager on the final year of his contract. What does this baseball lifer who patiently waited for his chance to manage have to prove to get at least another year? Why can’t he be guaranteed employment when this team is HOPEFULLY ready to compete next season?

Freddy Galvis, Cesar Hernandez and Cameron Rupp weren’t mentioned as players who I consider to be key contributors of the future because of top prospects behind them such as J.P. Crawford, Scott Kingery and Jorge Alfaro. Yet, Galvis, Hernandez and Rupp improved tremendously last year and are still getting better with Mackanin at the helm of that tutelage.

In fact, the manager often speaks about how even though the kids knocking on the door, he wants his current guys to stick around, essentially a good problem to have.

Let’s be realistic, that won’t happen. The kids are coming and will wear Phillies pinstripes one day, most likely next season if not at the end of this year.

Assuming the Phils finish .500 or just below in 2017, which is what most people expect, how fair is it to Mackanin if he isn’t renewed? Why should a new guy come in to reap the benefits of Mackanin’s managing and patience?

It would be colder then the awful weather we’re expected to get for Friday’s home opener.

Mackanin is a good manager as his decisions are rarely questionable, he’s honest and straightforward. His personality and style fits the city perfectly. He understands Philadelphia and that’s very important.

Yo, Andy MacPhail and Matt Klentak, don’t allow Mackanin to be an unnecessary story by July when the answer to the question is obvious, give him another extension.

Before I forget….

-According to the Oxford Dictionary, the definition of “sports science” is “the study of disciplines such as anatomy, physiology, biomechanics and psychology as they relate to sporting performance.” Brett Brown often preaches this term when speaking on behalf of the medical team in regards to he 76ers abundant injuries. Let me be blunt, the Sixers medical staff is terrible. Duh. But, these so called “experts” need to stop hiding behind the curtain and show their faces to explain why Joel Embiid, Jahlil Okafor, Robert Covington and Dario Saric all came down with noteworthy to significant injuries before the season ended. They need to explain when Embiid, Okafor and Covington’s issues are with knees. They need to explain why Ben Simmons foot didn’t fully heel when his return time was supposed to be in January. Sports science is bologna when it comes to this franchise. It doesn’t work. The medical staff needs to change.

-The Flyers have two home games this weekend to close their season, the third in five years without playoffs. This franchise has a loyal following that pays extraordinary prices for tickets. They draw good crowds and have for years. However, I’m calling for a boycott of Saturday and Sunday’s games. The fan base needs to let the front office, head coach and players know that no postseason is beyond unacceptable for the Philadelphia Flyers, a franchise that has had playoff games in over 80 percent of its 50 year existence. Would you be eating a lot of money by not showing this weekend? Yes. But, you ate money all season with an often flat and unwatchable product. That’s not OK. Send a message. Don’t show up.

-The Philadelphia Eagles have had a great offseason. They brought in two professional wide receivers, an offensive lineman with potential and two solid defensive linemen. The last step is the draft, the thing that scares me the most because Howie Roseman has final call on the pick. I will continue to beg that Roseman listen, listen, listen and listen again to Joe Douglas. It appears Roseman has so far and he needs to keep doing so, especially at the end of April.

 


Dave Uram is a weekly contributor to Philly Influencer. You can follow him on Twitter (@MrUram) and email him at david.uram@yahoo.com.

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