Well, cross one thing off the new general manager's to-do list.
On Tuesday, the Phillies announced they were extending the contract of manager Pete Mackanin, officially making him the team's 53rd manager in team history. He'll be the man for the 2016 season, with a club option for 2017.
Here is Andy MacPhail’s statement on the Phillies extending the contract of Pete Mackanin: pic.twitter.com/eKarzLAVhR— Jake Kaplan (@jakemkaplan) September 22, 2015
Just yesterday, I theorized that the Phils had already made up their mind about Mackanin, given how strongly the manager reacted to outbursts by one of the team's best young players Odubel Herrera.
However, Mack's handling of Herrera certainly signaled one thing. He believes he's going to be back as the team's manager in 2016. Why would he have gone out of his way to deliver a message to Odubel, and by proxy, to the rest of the team if he didn't feel he was going to be back?
It was a guess on my part, but as it turns out, a pretty damn good one.
Mackanin has had a good run here in the second half of the season with the Phillies. Coming into Tuesday's series against the Marlins, Mack has led the Phils to a 30-46 record. That's not great in terms of wins and losses, but the team seemed to play with much more effort under Mackanin's leadership.
This will be the first time Mackanin has been given the manager's role without an interim tag. He hasn't had much to work with this year, and 2016 will be another year of transition, although it's expected Mackanin could see J.P. Crawford, Nick Williams, Jake Thompson and others join Maikel Franco, Herrera and Aaron Nola as potential pieces to be excited about for 2017 and beyond.
The timing of the announcement is interesting. MacPhail said he didn't want his new general manager to have to worry about going through the hiring process of bringing a new skipper aboard, but it's fair to wonder what kind of balance of power there will be between MacPhail and his new GM, whoever that may be.
Granted, it's a one-year deal and the new GM would conceivably be able to pick a different manager at the end of 2016. But it seems clear from this move that, whoever the new general manager is, it is MacPhail who will be calling the shots.
In the end, this is the right move for a Phillies team that will still be on their training wheels for another season at least.