Friday, the Philadelphia Phillies announced that manager Pete Mackanin won't return as manager in 2018. Earlier, we took a look at 10 potential candidates that could replace him. Two names that people have speculated about are Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter and Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia. Neither, in my estimation, are especially good fits.
If Showalter were ever to become available, the connections to the Orioles that the Phillies front-office has would certainly set them up to be a player for his services, right?
Well, not exactly.
Let's start with the obvious: if there is a need to pick between Showalter and general manager Dan Duquette, there's no reason to think that Orioles owner Peter Angelos wouldn't do whatever it takes to retain Showalter. Duquette, who became the team's general manager after MacPhail left the front-office, came relatively close to becoming the Blue Jays president/CEO during the 2014-15 offseason. The Orioles didn't balk at the idea of Duquette leaving to join a division rival, but instead didn't allow him to leave because they were unable to work out a trade with the Blue Jays that appeased them.
Prior to hiring Duquette, Angelos reportedly offered Showalter the chance to replace MacPhail, with Ken Rosenthal also suggesting at that time that Angelos did bring up the idea of Showalter remaining the manager and taking over the front-office in a 2015 Chip Kelly-type role.
There's also the fact that MacPhail and Showalter didn't coexist over a long period in Baltimore. MacPhail publicly was the person that decided to hire Showalter during the 2010 season, though there were reports at the time that suggested that he would have preferred to hire a different candidate. MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli noted when MacPhail decided to leave after the 2011 season that speculation that the two couldn't coexist was overblown, but MacPhail did choose to leave after his first full season of working with Showalter. He did so even as Angelos attempted to retain him.
It may not be as simple as the narrative of MacPhail deciding he couldn't work with Showalter. In his late-50s, he may have been burned out, especially since the Orioles hadn't yet returned to contention. He did cite wanting to spend more time with his family at the time, which makes sense since his father Lee passed away just over a year after he left the Orioles. Angelos also doesn't have a reputation around the league as being an owner who is easy to work with.
Still, the idea of MacPhail and Showalter having mutual interest in reuniting in Philadelphia seems unlikely given their brief history together.
I wouldn't call this impossible, but the feeling I get is there would be too many chiefs and not enough Indians, so to speak.
Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia has been another name some have speculated about, both because of his connections to Mike Trout and Klentak. This fit isn't as good as some might think.
First of all, this isn't the NBA, so you wouldn't hire a coach just in an attempt to lure a player to your team. Though I don't think it's especially likely, the Phillies could target someone like Arizona Diamondbacks bench coach Ron Gardenhire with the understanding that he has a successful track record as a manager and could make the Phillies an attractive destination for next offseason's free-agent class. But when people talk about Scioscia, they seem to be interested in him specifically because of his connection to Trout, and that's not a good enough reason to hire someone.
Secondly, when Klentak was the assistant general manager in Los Angeles, his superior, then-Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto, resigned and has since admitted to having a less than ideal relationship with Scioscia. Much of that reportedly had to do with Scioscia's reluctance to incorporate the advanced statistics that Dipoto was giving him. Klentak was hired at least in part because of his analytical background, so it's hard to imagine he walked out of Los Angeles thinking that Scioscia is someone he would be eager to hire if he ever got the chance.
Though the 58-year-old is from Upper Dabry, he's not a good fit for the Phillies.
- Jim Salisbury of Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia said this afternoon on Philly Sports Talk that the Phillies coaching staff has been told they are free-agents as of Monday. He did note that doesn't mean that some of the staff won't be retained, but he doesn't expect the same type of holdover that there has been in recent years. So that would seem to end any potential thought of Juan Samuel or Larry Bowa being candidates, not that there was much of a thought before. Matt Stairs has earned a chance to return.
- I do think of the 2008 Phillies, Carlos Ruiz has the best chance to be a future manager. With that said, we're not even sure that Ruiz won't still be trying to play in 2018, so right now, the timing isn't right.
- As mentioned at the top of this article, I broke down potential managerial candidates earlier this afternoon. Alex Cora or Dusty Wathan would be my pick.