The 2019 Phillies season has certainly fallen below expectations. Now that the Phillies are continuing to fall behind in the National League East and Wild Card races, changes have been made. Hitting coach John Mallee was fired on Tuesday and was replaced by former Phillies manager Charlie Manuel. Manuel is without a doubt a fan favorite as he managed the Phillies to two World Series and won one in 2008. This comes at a time where the disapproval of the Phillies organization is at it’s highest.
The noise has been hard to ignore. Fans have been outspoken about their lack of faith in the Phillies current manager, Gabe Kapler, that has been brewing since the start of his tenure in Philadelphia. Couple that with a team that had playoff aspirations, and a fan base that was excited for that to come to fruition, to then suddenly be left with a bad baseball team and things have only gotten worse for the Phillies.
For as much as Phillies fans dislike Kapler, the front office loves him just as much. Matt Klentak and co. hired Kapler and he has managed this team in their vision. He has done everything that the team has asked and it’s not just been noticed by the Phillies. In a report by Bob Nightengale, the San Francisco Giants would jump at the opportunity to hire Kapler if he were to be let go by the Phils. The Phillies do not want to move on from Kapler, but the displeasure from fans is hard to ignore. So what do the Phillies do?
Bringing in Manuel as the hitting coach for the rest of the 2019 season was met with overwhelming approval. This coming as fan frustrations were louder than ever. But why Manuel? Sure, the decision to fire Mallee was warranted due to the Phillies lack of hitting after the All-Star break, but bringing in Manuel doesn’t do much. The approach of Phillies hitters is not going to change in the final two months of the season. Knowing Manuel will not return as the Phillies hitting coach past the 2019 season is also a good indicator that Manuel will hardly make any significant changes. There is nothing that Manuel can do as the Phillies hitting coach to turn this season around. Nothing. However, there is one reason for this move.
Manuel’s return to the Phillies dugout was a move to shut everyone up. The Phillies are not going to the playoffs, but if the Phillies want the noise to quiet down, why not hire the franchises most beloved manager. It gives fans something to be happy about. This move has nothing to do with helping the Phillies to make the playoffs. If Klentak and the Phillies wanted to do that, they would’ve made a move at the trade deadline to fix their bad roster.
Now of course this could backfire if the Phillies were actually to secure a Wild Card spot. Then all credit will be given to Manuel and there will surely be a large contingent of fans that will want him to replace Kapler. Although this scenario is possible, it doesn’t matter. No matter what happens in the final two months of the season, it is likely that Kapler will be the Phillies manager heading into the 2020 season.
For the next two months, have fun with the return of a Phillies legend. Just to see Manuel around the clubhouse again is great for fans and players as well. There is, however, no reason to believe that Manuel will overhaul the Phillies hitting philosophy or overrule Kapler on any managerial decisions.
Let’s be honest about the return of Charlie Manuel to the Phillies dugout, it was done to get the noise to quiet down.