jorge velandia

Pitching coach reportedly draws managerial interest from Phillies

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Pitching coach reportedly draws managerial interest from Phillies

We know of only two men the Phillies have interviewed for their managerial vacancy: Juan Samuel and Jorge Velandia, according to NBC Sports Philadelphia's Jim Salisbury.

Another name to keep an eye on is Mickey Callaway, the Cleveland Indians' pitching coach. The Phillies are "taking a close look" at him, per ESPN's Buster Olney.

Callaway, 42, has been Cleveland's pitching coach since 2013, a period during which the Indians have had one of the best staffs in baseball. Over that span, Cleveland has posted a team ERA of 3.65, which is lowest in the American League by a significant margin (the Rays are next at 3.84) and fourth-lowest in the majors.

Let's be real, though, that has much more to do with Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco and an elite bullpen. On the flip side, guys like Mike Clevinger, Trevor Bauer, Josh Tomlin and Danny Salazar have shown some improvement through the years, which reflects well on Callaway.

Before working his way through the coaching ranks in Cleveland's farm system, Callaway pitched in the majors from 1999 to 2004 with the Rays, Angels and Rangers.

Callaway's offseason began Thursday, the day after the Indians were shockingly eliminated from the playoffs by the Yankees after building a commanding 2-0 series lead.

Sources: Jorge Velandia emerges as strong candidate for Phillies manager job

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Sources: Jorge Velandia emerges as strong candidate for Phillies manager job

Phillies front-office executive Jorge Velandia has emerged as a strong candidate for the team's vacant manager's job.

Velandia had a lengthy interview with general manager Matt Klentak on Wednesday, according to sources. He is the second known candidate to interview for the job, joining Juan Samuel, a member of the team's coaching staff since 2013.

Velandia, 42, has spent the past eight seasons in a variety of player-development, player-personnel, coaching and advisory roles in the Phillies organization. He spent time on the big-league coaching staff in 2015. He rose to the position of special assistant to Klentak a year ago.

A former utility infielder who played in the majors with the Padres, Athletics, Mets, Rays, Blue Jays and Indians, Velandia is a native of Venezuela, where he has served as general manager of the La Guaira club in the Venezuelan winter league for six years. That is the same club that produced talented but enigmatic centerfielder Odubel Herrera, the only Phillie on a long-term contract.

The Phillies manager's job opened when Klentak reassigned Pete Mackanin, 66, to the front office last month. At the time, Klentak indicated that he was seeking a young perspective and a new style in the skipper's office. Klentak, 37, is one of a growing number of young, analytically driven general managers in the game, and he appears to want a field manager of his generation that both he and a young roster can grow with as the team moves closer to contending.

Velandia is going to get a long, serious look for this job. Klentak has a very small band of advisers in the organization and while Velandia might not be on the first ring, he's firmly on the second ring. The two have bonded in Klentak's first two years on the job and Velandia has shown a willingness to learn and embrace the analytic side of the game that Phillies ownership has demanded and the front office has built. Velandia has relationships with members of the Phillies' analytics team. His chemistry with Klentak, others in the front office and the analytics team should not be underestimated because game-day strategy is no longer limited to what happens in the dugout during nine innings. Managers are now seen as extensions of the front office, the final button-pusher in a daily team effort that extends to the executive level.

Klentak has promised a thorough search for his manager. In addition to Samuel, Triple A manager Dusty Wathan is a candidate. Samuel also interviewed for the position when Mackanin was hired in September 2015.

While there is no firm timetable for the hiring of a manager, club officials have said they'd like to have someone in place by the start of the general managers meetings during the second week of November. Those meetings generally signal the start of the offseason transaction season.

10 candidates who could replace Pete Mackanin as Phillies manager

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10 candidates who could replace Pete Mackanin as Phillies manager

With Pete Mackanin out as Phillies manager, here's a look at 10 candidates who could potentially fill the job. These are in no particular order.

Dusty Wathan
Wathan managed pretty much all of the Phillies' young players at Double A and Triple A and could serve as the steward of this youth movement. He was the manager of the year at Double A Reading in 2015, where he eventually became the winningest manager in team history. 

He took over as manager at Triple A this season with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs and has joined the Phillies' staff in the big leagues this September. 

Brad Ausmus
Like Phillies GM Matt Klentak, Ausmus (Dartmouth) has an Ivy League background. Ausmus managed the Tigers from 2014-17, compiling a record of 313-330. The Tigers won 90, 74 and 86 games in his first three seasons before tearing it down this season. 

Ausmus, 48, fits the mold of the young, good-looking manager (much more on that here) that major-league teams are hiring these days as the face of their franchise.

Joe McEwing
A Bristol, Pa. native and former big-league utilityman, McEwing is considered a managerial prospect. He spent 2012-16 as the White Sox third base coach and was their bench coach this season. 

Buck Showalter
Not an interview goes by where Phillies president Andy MacPhail doesn't mention his respect for Showalter. The two shared some history in the Baltimore Orioles' organization. 

The Phillies have plenty of Orioles roots in their front office with MacPhail, Klentak and assistant GM Ned Rice.

Showalter currently manages the Orioles and is under contract through the end of 2018. 

David Ross
Ross has joined the broadcasting world in his first year of retirement after winning a World Series with the Cubs. He's been a fan favorite and leader at every stop, and he too fits the mold of young, recently retired former player that teams are going after as managers.

Ross is regarded as a great communicator and could be an interesting out-of-the-box consideration.

Mark McGwire
Another outside-the-box candidate, McGwire has paid his dues in recent years on the coaching staffs of the Dodgers and Padres.

Controversy obviously followed McGwire in his final days as a player but he showed some character by coming clean when many players did not. He's got presence, he's a good baseball man and he's someone the Phillies' young hitters could relate to and truly respect.

Ruben Amaro Jr.
He just won a division as part of the Red Sox coaching staff, and he made it clear when he signed on to be their first base coach that he had desires to manage someday. He will get his chance eventually ... though it probably won't be here just a few years after he was replaced as GM.

Juan Samuel
Samuel is on the Phillies' coaching staff, which could look completely different in 2018. He was one of only two men to receive an interview the last time the Phillies had a managerial opening (Mackanin was the other). Samuel has a long history with MacPhail and has been a key mentor to the Phillies' large group of young Hispanic players.

Jorge Velandia
A former MLB utilityman who has worked on and off the field in the Phillies' system. He's the GM for La Guaira in the Venezuelan Winter League and is a key individual in the Phillies' Latin American development.

Dave Martinez
A popular name lately whenever a managerial opening arises, Martinez has had success as Joe Maddon's bench coach with both the Rays and Cubs, two analytically-inclined organizations.

Others
Ron Gardenhire will be a name you'll hear around these parts this fall, but it's hard to envision the Phillies going the route of a traditional, older, experienced manager given their front office, their priorities and the recent developments around baseball.

Joey Cora is another managerial prospect to keep in mind. He spent this season as the Pirates' third-base coach.

Tim Bogar is another name to consider and another managerial prospect often mentioned when teams have a vacancy. He's currently the Seattle Mariners' bench coach and he also has experience as a minor-league manager, a major-league interim manager (2014 Rangers) and a front-offie executive.