Phillies Extend Pete Mackanin Through 2016
News from the Phillies:
#Phillies have extended the contract of Pete Mackanin as manager through the 2016 season. The extension includes a club option for 2017.
— Phillies (@Phillies) September 22, 2015
This is not particularly surprising. The team played much better under Pete Mackanin‘s leadership than they did under Ryne Sandberg. Players responded to him better and seemed to enjoy playing for him.
The length of the contract is crucial as well. Mackanin has never been a full-time manager; all three times he’s managed, he’s taken over for a manager who was fired or quit (Lloyd McClendon and Jerry Narron previously). He’ll have a full year to prove his chops as a manager as opposed to a stopgap. The Phillies will hopefully be ready to compete in 2017. If the new front office likes the way he handles the team, then they’ll either pick up that option or extend him again. If Mackanin stumbles, then the Phillies are under no obligation to keep him around beyond next season.
Mackanin has shown some tactical issues, as explained here recently. His non-application of Ken Giles, both in general and specifically when a road game is tied late, could prove to be a detriment if and when he handles a competitive Phillies team. He’s a fan of bunting, and he’s shown deference to veteran players at the expense of the team in initially refusing to pinch-hit for Ryan Howard against left-handed relievers. To his credit, Mackanin changed his mind, which is reason for optimism on the other issues.
This is a solid move for the Phillies and it ticks one of their major off-season tasks off the list. Incoming president Andy MacPhail will still need to find a general manager, as well as a president of baseball operations if he so chooses. The coming months will bring a lot of intrigue around the Phillies.