Phillies reassign Larry Bowa from coaching staff to front office

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Phillies reassign Larry Bowa from coaching staff to front office

Another member of the Phillies’ coaching staff is joining the front office. Larry Bowa on Friday was named senior adviser to general manager Matt Klentak. 

Former manager Pete Mackanin was also reassigned to the front office at the beginning of October. 

Bowa, 71, served as the Phillies’ bench coach the last four years, joining the staff after a stint as an analyst for MLB Network. 

As the Phillies search for a new manager, their coaches have been told they’re free to seek other opportunities. A new manager typically likes to bring in his own coaches, which could be bad news for Matt Stairs, Mickey Morandini, Juan Samuel and Bob McClure.

Bowa has spent 52 years in baseball as a player, manager, coach or analyst, with 33 of those years coming with the Phillies. 

“Larry Bowa is a genuine Phillies icon and he has made enormous contributions to this franchise during his 33 years in uniform,” Klentak said in a statement.  “I have a tremendous amount of respect for what Larry has accomplished throughout his baseball career and I am thrilled that he has agreed to continue to impact the organization in this new role.”

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.