Let’s not bury the lede:
BREAKING: A source says Charlie Manuel has replaced John Mallee as #Phillies hitting coach.— Todd Zolecki (@ToddZolecki) August 13, 2019
That John Mallee has been replaced isn’t too much of a shock. Something had to be done as there was such a malaise surrounding the team, especially the hitters. The fact that Charlie Manuel is tasked with taking the reigns is the shocker.
Under Mallee, the Phillies never got the results they were looking for. They came into Tuesday’s contest against the Chicago Cubs ranked 22nd in OPS (.738), tied for 23rd in batting average (.245), tied for 16th in OBP (.322), 23rd in slugging (.417) and home runs (149), and are 19th in runs scored.
The numbers are even worse since the All-Star break. They’re 26th in OPS, 27th in runs scored and slugging, and 24th in homers.
Prior to joining the Phillies before the 2018 season, Mallee spent three years with the Chicago Cubs as their hitting coach before he was let go, and prior to that, served two years in Houston under the same role. Unfortunately, he was never able to replicate the success he had there in Philadelphia.
The last time Manuel was a hitting coach was from 1994-99 when he helped an Indians lineup that featured starts like Jim Thome, Kenny Lofton, Manny Ramirez and Albert Belle. Manuel, of course, won a World Series as manager of the Phillies in 2008 and led the team to five consecutive postseason appearances from 2007-11. In nine seasons as Phils’ skipper, he went 780-636, a .551 winning percentage, accumulating move victories than any manager in team history.
We’ve all known how much Cholly loves hitting. That the team knows this and recognizes not only his expertise, but realizes that something had to be done is absolutely huge. However, the questions this decision raises are fascinating.
Manuel is the most successful manager in franchise history and is a beloved figure in the city. How will he work with the current embattled manager, Gabe Kapler? Will Kapler feel threatened? Will Manuel get credit for turning the season around if the offense improves and the team starts winning? Is it smart for the Phils to turn to a more old-school baseball figure in an era when most teams are hiring young baseball minds?
How long will Manuel have the job? Is he here for just the last six weeks or, if the team has some success, will he stay longer? What does this mean for the organization’s overall philosophy on hitting? How will this affect how the minor leaguers go about things?
Finally, this may not be the last move the Phillies make today, or in the days to follow.
Phillies make Charlie Manuel hitting coach for remainder of season and let John Mallee go. More changes to staff still being discussed— Jim Salisbury (@JSalisburyNBCS) August 13, 2019