Pete Mackanin and the Phillies agreed to a new two-year deal Thursday morning. The deal includes a club option for 2019.
Mackanin and the Phillies agreed on a contract extension in March 2016 that included a club option for 2018.
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While I think Mackanin’s done well with the Phillies as the manager, I’m not over-the-top excited about the move. You never know who might become available during the season and off-season, but the Phillies clearly believe Mackanin is the right guy, for now, to help with the development of young kids that are currently on the team and that might come up in the near future.
According to Corey Seidman, the Phillies “like the way Mackanin communicates with his players. He’s also savvy with the media, which doesn’t hurt.”
I think if the Phillies like the communication with players, they’ll send up some of their young kids sooner than later. Maybe not this season, but I definitely think next season we’ll see some players graduate from the minors into the majors that many Phillies fans have been hoping for.
Mackanin took the reigns of the Phillies after Ryne Sandberg resigned in June 2015. He boasts a 121-161 record.
The biggest question mark surrounding the team right now is their bullpen. They’ve had a bad start to the season, and have, as a group, the 9th worst ERA in MLB this season (4.66). Joaquín Benoit gave up five runs and recorded only one out in Wednesday’s game against the Seattle Mariners, and he wasn’t shy about criticizing the way Mackanin’s used the bullpen this season after the game.
“I think it’s not just about us. I believe that if we have a set role, everybody will fall in place. Right now I think everybody is a different piece. Right now I believe that it would be better if everybody knows what the role is and when you’re going to contribute. One day I’m in the seventh, then I was the sixth, then the ninth, then the eighth. Right now I’m all over the place. It’s a little bit consistency. Not just the pitching staff but the people that run it, too. If I’m going to be set in one place, I don’t mind [which inning I pitch]. If that’s definitely the place I’m going to be, I don’t mind doing that every day. It’s consistency in one spot.”
I think Benoit’s overstating the consistency part of the bullpen, but that’s kind of the culture managers have cultivated. God forbid if Benoit wants to be the 8th inning guy and comes in during the 7th inning. In a way, that’s micromanaging and minimizing the impact the bullpen has. If opposing teams know exactly who you’re gonna throw out there in what innings, it gives them an advantage, especially in the National League. I’m not against pitchers being comfortable in their roles, but any pitcher in the bullpen should be comfortable pitching from the 6th inning on. It’s just how baseball should be.
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Of course, if the Phillies had found a closer by now, this might not be an issue. It seems like nobody in that bullpen can close a game, which has cost the Phillies at least a handful of wins this season.
Mackanin’s thoughts on the bullpen after Wednesday’s game:
“I still think it’s one of our strengths. The fact that I have been using relief pitchers in situations where I didn’t want to and then they become unavailable because they pitched two days in a row, that all adds into the equation. If you get your [starting] pitchers throwing six and seven innings, then it becomes a lot easier. Once we get the starters in gear, it’s all going to fall into place. Unfortunately all these things are piling up to where I can’t use them the way I’d like to use them right now. They’ve been asked to fill in certain roles that they’re not used to.”
“It works if you find a place for everybody. It works.”
You can follow Nick Piccone on Twitter (@nickpiccone) and e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Subscribe to his podcast on iTunes here and listen live on WildfireRadio.com every Friday at 6pm. Click here to read his pro wrestling articles on PhillyVoice. Follow Philly Influencer on Twitter (@PHL_Influencer), Facebook and Instagram.