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Phillies sign Pete Mackanin to an extension

The Phils have taken the lame duck status away from their skipper for this year.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Pete is likely much happier today.

On Friday, the Phillies extended the contract of their manager, Pete Mackanin, through the 2017 season, replacing the one-year deal he had been working on for the 2016 season. It also contains a team option for 2018.

Obviously, new general manager Matt Klentak and team president Andy MacPhail like what they've seen from Mackanin in his first Major League spring camp. He went just 37-51 last season but was the manager of a roster that was lucky to win that many games.

And frankly, Mackanin's 2016 season will not be judged on wins and losses, either.

Mackanin took over in the middle of last year after Ryne Sandberg abruptly resigned from the team. Sandberg had been criticized by players for fostering a tight clubhouse, and a lack of communication was also sighted as a main problem with the former skipper. After Mackanin took over, the team played better, and players raved about how much looser the clubhouse had become.

The decision by the team to guarantee what had been a team option for 2017 also gives him a little more juice in the clubhouse. Players know he isn't going anywhere after this season and is no lame duck. That will give him just a bit more authority over his young squad.

Mackanin has used some creative techniques to both get his message through and enforce team rules. It was reported this week that he had instituted a fine system of 50 cents for players who violate rules regarding exercise fundamentals or for lack of hustle.

So far, Mackanin has racked up nearly $1,000 in fines this spring, and the fines are announced every morning in camp. But it's done with a lighter touch.

"It allows me to be a real [jerk] about things like that," Mackanin said. "What are you going to complain about 50 cents?"

It's easy to see why the team, and players, like the 64-year-old, first-time skipper.

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