Phillies to interview Rob Thomson for bench coach vacancy

By Tim Kelly, Sports Talk Philly editor

Rob Thomson was the New York Yankees third base coach when they defeated the Philadelphia Phillies in the 2009 World Series. It appears very possible that one of those two teams will employ Thomson in 2018. 

According to Sweeny Murti of WFAN, the Phillies plan to interview Thomson for their vacant bench coach role: 

Since 2008, Thomson has been on the Yankees coaching staff, working under now former manager Joe Girardi. During four of his 10 seasons on the Yankees staff, Thomson has served as the team's bench coach. The other six were spent as the third base coach. 

As Murti noted, the Yankees are still considering at least five managerial candidates, one of whom is Thomson. With all due respect to the bench coach position of the Phillies, the Yankees are a young team loaded with talent that finished one game away from the World Series in 2017. If Thomson has his way, he will be managing the Yankees next year. 

With that said, the Yankees have had an especially prolonged (and public) managerial search. The Yankees announced they were parting ways with Girardi on Oct. 26, and still don't seem likely to choose his successor this week, over a month after firing Girardi. There may become a point where someone like Thomson decides he can no longer wait if he wants to assure he's employed in 2018, and elects to take the job as Gabe Kapler's right-hand man. 

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Thomson, 54, would seem to be a good fit next to Kapler. He's got a ton of big league coaching experience, which would be a good balance with Kapler, who has very limited experience managing at any level. He also comes from an organization that has heavily embraced analytics in recent years, something the Phillies have also done under general manager Matt Klentak. With that said, he worked under Girardi, who was a more traditional manager. So he's well-rounded, which probably would be good for the Phillies. 

Last week, Howard Eskin of SportsRadio 94 WIP reported that the Phillies were "considering" franchise icon Chase Utley for the role. Besides his obvious connection to the Phillies, Utley has spent the last two-and-a-half seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers, who previously employed Kapler. Utley hasn't officially retired as a player, nor does he have any coaching experience. It's unclear how serious the Phillies interest in Utley is, whether Utley would be interested in coaching in 2018 or if there are any plans for Utley to interview for the position. 

Thomson and Utley are the only two potential candidates that have been publicly connected to the role. 

Kapler and the Phillies promoted former Triple-A manager Dusty Wathan to third base coach for the 2018 season. As our Frank Klose noted last week, Rick Kranitz is likely to be the pitching coach, with Jim Grott scheduled to be the team's bullpen coach. John Mallee will be the team's hitting coach, after a stint in the same role for the Chicago Cubs. And Pedro Guerrero will be the team's assistant hitting coach. The team still needs a first base coach and bench coach. Juan Samuel, who was the team's third base coach in 2017, and Mickey Morandini, who was the team's first base coach in 2017, in theory, could both still return to the staff.