The Phillies are "zeroing in" on Triple A manager Dusty Wathan to fill their vacancy, according to Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY.

Wathan has been believed to be a strong candidate for the Phils' managerial opening. He managed pretty much all of the Phillies' young players at Double A and Triple A, which is notable because this team is built around the likes of Rhys Hoskins, Aaron Nola, J.P. Crawford, Nick Williams, Jorge Alfaro and several other young pieces Wathan managed on their way to the bigs.

"He's the best manager I've ever had in pro ball," Crawford said before the Phillies' final series of the 2017 season. "He's a players' manager. He loves to win just as much as we do."

Wathan 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 past season with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs and guided them to an 80-62 record before joining the Phillies' staff in the big leagues in September.

"You hear a lot of guys say that this guy's a players' manager. Well, Dusty is that guy to a tee," Hoskins said in early October. "I feel comfortable going to him with baseball stuff and non-baseball stuff.

"He's managed a lot of us so he knows how we react in certain situations and we know how he is, so it adds to the comfort level."


Wathan, 44, played three games in the majors for the Royals in 2002. He had a long minor-league career, playing 1,019 games over 14 seasons, mostly as a catcher.

"He played what, 14-15 years in baseball?" Hoskins said. "So he gets what we go through as players and I think it adds to his style of managing."