After interviewing Juan Samuel, Dusty Wathan and Jorge Velandia last week, general manager Matt Klentak and the Philadelphia Phillies appear likely to move to the external portion of their managerial search this week. One candidate outside the organization appears to have become the early favorite to succeed Pete Mackanin.
Last Thursday, ESPN's Buster Olney reported that the Phillies were 'taking a close look' at Cleveland Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway, just a day after the Indians were eliminated from the playoffs. That same day, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports predicted that Callaway would be the next manager of the Phillies. And Paul Hoynes of The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that the Phillies would interview Callaway 'in the near future,' which presumably means sometime this week.
With that in mind, John Perrotto of FanRag Sports spoke to an anonymous person in the Indians organization, who thinks Callaway would be a great fit for the Phillies:
“I guarantee you Mickey will blow them away in his interview,” an Indians person said. “He’s smart, he’s personable and he knows how to relate to players. He’d be one heck of a manager for a young team like the Phillies.”
I wrote yesterday that Callaway's age, 42, will probably work in his favor in the managerial search. Perrotto spoke to an anonymous person inside the Phillies organization that agreed with that sentiment, noting that Klentak is only 37 himself.
Like Klentak, the 42-year-old has quite a bit of experience despite his young age. He joined Terry Francona's staff as the pitching coach in Cleveland in 2013, along with former MLB manager Brad Mills. So he's been part of a decorated staff, one that has led the Indians to the playoffs three times in five years, after taking over a team that won 68 games in 2012. In the time that he's been the team's pitching coach, both Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco have have become front-line pitchers, something he at least deserves some credit for.
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Additionally, his young age and the fact that he spent parts of five seasons in the MLB may help him to get the most out of a talented young team, as the anonymous person from the Indians organization noted. Though every team hopes to get a great tactical manager, there are very few managers who are as tactically strong in-game as Joe Maddon and Bruce Bochy. Obviously, in a managerial search, you hope to find someone who will be tactically strong, but it's extremely important in today's MLB to also find someone that is able to get the best out of each individual. Dave Roberts of the Los Angeles Dodgers is a great tactical manager, but perhaps has been more valuable to the Dodgers because of his ability to know when to push the right buttons with each player, such as Yasiel Puig.
In the next 10 days, the Phillies figure to interview a slew of candidates. Callaway, of course, will be one of those. He might be the last one standing after the search ends.