Phillies

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.

Another big day for Phil Gosselin, who continues to catch Gabe Kapler’s eye

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Another big day for Phil Gosselin, who continues to catch Gabe Kapler’s eye

BRADENTON, Fla. – Phil Gosselin was told a few days ago that he would not make the Phillies’ opening day roster.

But that doesn’t mean he can’t keep making an impression on club officials before he heads to Triple A.

Gosselin has remained in big-league camp. He was the Phillies’ starting third baseman in Saturday’s game against the Pirates. The Phillies lost, 5-3, but Gosselin impressed with a pair of hits and several excellent plays in the field.

One of his hits was an opposite-field homer to right on a full-count against Pittsburgh right-hander Jordan Lyles. Gosselin is not known for his power – he has just seven homers in 532 at-bats with five big-league clubs – but this ball jumped out of the park.

Gosselin is hitting .410 (16 for 39) on the spring with five doubles, a triple and two home runs. The 30-year-old utility man, a West Chester native who grew up rooting for the Phillies (see story), has caught manager Gabe Kapler’s eye in camp.

“I talked to Josh Bonifay (the team’s director of player development) today about some of our priorities at Triple A,” Kapler said after the game. “When we got to Gosselin, there was some real excitement there.

“It (his spring performance) looks like something different than he’s produced in his career. You don’t see guys like that often hit the ball that he hit to right-center today. It’s a little unusual. This is a big ballpark and the ball doesn’t always go that well. Real power, some decent bat-to-ball skills, really heady defender, a guy that everybody likes. Those are the guys that if you reach down in the middle of the summer, you’re like, 'I’m really glad that this guy is in our organization,' because you trust him. You trust him to come up and perform.”

It takes a lot more than 25 guys to get through a big-league season. Gosselin has put himself in position to help the Phillies at some point in 2019.

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Victor Arano loses spot in Phillies' bullpen, leaving door open for a different arm

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Victor Arano loses spot in Phillies' bullpen, leaving door open for a different arm

Updated: 8:23 p.m.

BRADENTON, Fla. — Victor Arano was an important member of the Phillies’ bullpen last season. He recorded a 2.73 ERA in 60 games. He struck out 60 batters, walked 17 and gave up just six homers in 59 1/3 innings. 

The previous year, he came up from the minors for a look and gave up just two runs in 10 2/3 innings.

That's a 2.57 ERA in his first 70 big-league games.

In most cases, numbers like these would ensure Arano’s roster spot entering the new season.

But the 24-year-old right-hander struggled so badly this spring that Phillies officials decided Saturday night to option Arano to Triple A Lehigh Valley along with right-hander Yacksel Rios.

“We weigh track record heavily and lean on it pretty strongly,” manager Gabe Kapler said Saturday before the decision came down. “However, without an indication that he’s feeling confident, it’s something to examine closely. You can discount one, two, three outings. It’s hard to discount five or six outings of struggle, consecutively.”

Arano pitched two-thirds of an inning in Saturday’s 5-3 loss to the Pirates. He gave up a hit, a walk and a run. In four innings of work this spring, he has given up 20 runs. He has been tagged for 17 hits, including four homers.

“By every account, he was outstanding for us the last two years, one of our higher-leverage relievers, a guy we depended on in the biggest situations,” Kapler said after the game. “You still also have to pay close attention to what is happening right in front of you and we’ve seen several outings in a row that are worth really digging into to find out how we can help him.

“I think it’s cause to really dig on what’s happening for him both mentally and mechanically. I think he’s absolutely fine from a physical perspective. His legs are underneath him. He’s strong. I think his arm speed is fine.

“But you know, today the ball didn’t come out great. It’s worth having a conversation with him and really discussing what he needs to get back on track because at this point it hasn’t been very effective and I think he knows that. If he was standing next to me right now, he would tell you there’s a better performance in there.”

Through a translator, Arano indicated that his struggles are mechanical. He said he is struggling to find the release point on his slider, which was an excellent pitch for him last season.

Arano had pitched on back-to-back days — he gave up a homer to Giancarlo Stanton of the Yankees on Friday night. The Phils play their final two games in Florida on Sunday and Monday. The club knew before then that Arano will have to clean up his mechanical problems and build some confidence in the minors before getting back to Philadelphia.

The Phillies open the season on Thursday.

Right now, these seven relievers look set in the bullpen:

Hector Neris (R)

David Robertson (R)

Seranthony Dominguez (R)

Pat Neshek (R)

Juan Nicasio (R)

Adam Morgan (L)

Jose Alvarez (L)

With Arano and Rios failing to make the club, a spot looks open for Edubray Ramos as the eighth reliever.

The Phils could also use Vince Velasquez out of the bullpen for the first week of the season. 

Tommy Hunter will open on the injured list.

We’ll know in a few days how the bullpen fully shakes out. Unfortunately for Arano, he had made some final decisions easy for club officials.

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