Will Dusty Wathan be on Gabe Kapler's staff in 2018? (Frank Klose/SportsTalkPhilly)
Less than a week ago, Dusty Wathan was competing with Gabe Kapler for the Philadelphia Phillies managerial vacancy. Come next April, the two may be coaching together in the Phillies dugout.
MLB.com's Todd Zolecki says that after finishing runner-up in the team's managerial search, Wathan will still serve some role in the organization next year as he remains under contract. He seems to think it could be on Kapler's staff at the major league level:
Wathan, 44, will be with the Phillies next season. He is under contract, meaning at the very least he will return as the Triple-A Lehigh Valley manager. The Phillies obviously like him, otherwise he would not have been one of three finalists for their managerial job. He could receive a contract extension at some point. There is a better-than-average chance he winds up on Gabe Kapler's coaching staff, although it is not a lock.
Still just 44, Wathan seems a good bet to be a manager eventually. Joining Kapler's staff would allow him to be promoted for the second consecutive season. After becoming the winningest manager in Double-A Reading history in 2016, Wathan took over as the manager for the Triple-A Lehigh Valley in 2017. As Zolecki pointed out, another promotion, this time to the major league level, would make him a more attractive managerial candidate around the league. It also keeps him very much in the picture should things not work out for Kapler.
If Kapler and the Phillies do choose to bring Wathan onto their major league staff, it's unclear what role he would fill. Though he theoretically could be the bench coach, Kapler may have someone else in mind for that role. Given Kapler's limited managerial experience, it may make sense for him to choose a bench coach with lengthy experience at the major league level. For as qualified as Wathan is, his brief stint on Pete Mackanin's staff in September was his lone major league coaching experience. If he's promoted to the major league staff, he's probably more likely to be the third base coach.