Phillies

Pete Mackanin out as Phillies manager, will finish out 2017

Pete Mackanin out as Phillies manager, will finish out 2017

Pete Mackanin is out as Phillies manager.

Mackanin will manage the Phillies' final three games this weekend against the Mets but won't return in that role in 2018, despite previously being under contract through '18 with a 2019 option.

Mackanin signed a new contract to join the Phillies' front office as a special assistant to the general manager.

The job statuses of the rest of the Phils' coaching staff will be at the discretion of the new manager.

The timing is somewhat surprising as the Phillies are 35-35 in their last 70 games and have a chance to finish over .500 after the All-Star break. They've played much better baseball the last two months as their young position players and bullpen pieces have found success.

In parts of three seasons as Phillies manager, the 66-year-old Mackanin is 172-237 (.421). He was one of eight men in Phillies history to play, coach and manage for them.

He took over for Ryne Sandberg when Sandberg abruptly resigned on June 27, 2015. The Phillies liked Mackanin's methods of communication and honesty enough to bring him back in 2016 after that interim stint, and they twice extended him to new, short-term contracts.

When Matt Klentak was hired as the Phillies' GM in October 2015, he inherited Mackanin as a manager. The two developed a relationship, but the Phillies, finally in a position to make a push toward .500 or beyond, are now headed in a different direction.

It wouldn't be surprising to see the Phils opt for a young, analytically-inclined manager given Klentak's background and owner John Middleton's desire to push the Phillies to the forefront of that movement.

Flyers fans have message for Bryce Harper at 2019 Stadium Series

Flyers fans have message for Bryce Harper at 2019 Stadium Series

Bryce Harper Mania is getting so out of control, folks in the Delaware Valley are already insinuating that Philadelphia is the slugger's home.

Really, Las Vegas is his home. Some would consider Washington, D.C. as his home, given he has played their all seven seasons of his big-league career.

But we can totally change his home to Philly. Why not?

Come home, Bryce.

A fan at Saturday night's Flyers-Penguins Stadium Series game at Lincoln Financial Field made that message loud and clear.

The 26-year-old is the megastar free agent general Matt Klentak and company are trying to land as Harper remains out there (yes, still) with spring training well underway and exhibition games being played.

The Harper buzz has spread everywhere and even Phillies players down in Clearwater, Florida, are joining the fun.

"I saw a helicopter circling over here the other day and we were joking, saying it would be funny if he just landed here and got out," Andrew McCutchen said Saturday, via NBC Sports Philadelphia's Jim Salisbury.

Beloved former Phillie Jimmy Rollins, who now works for the club as a special advisor, was at the Flyers-Penguins game and caught up with NBC Sports Philadelphia's John Clark about the Harper drama.

Harper is a hockey a fan.

If he was tuning into Saturday night's game, maybe he saw the message and will "come home."

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Phillies

Gabe Kapler is high on Seranthony Dominguez: 'He has no ceiling'

usa_seranthony_dominguez_phillies.jpg
USA Today Images

Gabe Kapler is high on Seranthony Dominguez: 'He has no ceiling'

BOX SCORE 

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Seranthony Dominguez made his major league debut five weeks into the season last year and quickly became manager Gabe Kapler’s favorite bullpen weapon.

“When Seranthony is at his best, there may not be a better reliever in baseball,” Kapler said after Dominguez made his spring debut with three quick outs against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday.

“He has no ceiling. He can be as good as anyone in the league.”

Keeping the hard-throwing, 24-year-old right-hander healthy was a priority last season and it remains so this year. Dominguez had a 1.59 ERA in his first 29 games last season but it rose to 4.88 over the next 24. That might have been attributable to fatigue and the Phils want to guard against that this season.

“We’ve had a player plan meeting with Dominguez and one of the things we want to do is definitely stay in close contact with him,” Kapler said. “Anything that crops up for him related to fatigue, we definitely want to back off.

“We did see that giving him a little bit more rest made him more effective so we’re going to pay really close attention to that.”

It’s a balancing act for Kapler. The stakes are higher for the Phillies this year. The rebuild is complete. The talent is better. Bryce Harper might be coming. It’s time to win. There might be times, Kapler said, when he uses Dominguez on a night when “maybe he could use a little bit of rest,” and other nights when he stays away from Dominguez to preserve the life on his fastball for the long haul of the season.

Kapler admitted it was tempting to use Dominguez every night — wherever the game dictated — when he was pitching well last season. He believes the Phillies are better positioned to be able to back off Dominguez when needed this season. Hector Neris rediscovered his splitter and confidence and finished with a six-week flurry last season. Pat Neshek is healthy. Tommy Hunter and his hard cutter is back. And the addition of David Robertson, one of the most consistent late-game arms in the majors the last eight seasons, will help.

“We’ve got some pretty good weapons down there,” Kapler said. “That could lead to us being less reliant on Seranthony, even if he’s at his best.”

Nine different relievers saved games for the Phils last season as Kapler mostly used a matchup strategy late in games. He will likely use the same strategy at the outset of this season, but it would not be surprising to see Dominguez, Neris or Robertson eventually get significant save opportunities.

The game 

The Phillies lost, 3-2, to the Pirates. Dylan Cozens had a pair of doubles and Matt McBride homered. Drew Anderson starts for the Phillies against the Tigers in Lakeland on Sunday.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Phillies