Phillies Announce Coaching Changes; Sandberg In Line for 2014


Ryne, will you be ours… in 2014? Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE

The Phillies today announced their coaching staff for 2013, with a few new faces in the mix and a few old faces moving to new places.

Ryne Sandberg will be the Phils’ new third base coach/infield instructor next year, seemingly putting him in line to be the new manager once Charlie Manuel’s tenure is over.

Manuel is signed through next season, and there have been no whispers that a new contract offer is forthcoming. Or, that Charlie would even want to coach another year after next season.

It’s important to note, though, that Sandberg may not even get the chance to be the Phils’ third base coach in 2013. There will be numerous managerial openings in the next few weeks, and many of those teams are likely to ask the Phils about Ryne’s availability.

The Red Sox are likely to fire Bobby Valentine. The Marlins will probably fire Ozzie Guillen. The Indians have already let Manny Acta go. More will follow.

It’s entirely possible Ryne Sandberg will be somewhere else next year. There is no guarantee he’s coaching third in 2013.

Still, it seems obvious that the Phils are doing everything they can to groom him as Manuel’s successor. One would hope there’s already a handshake, wink-and-nod agreement between everybody, and that 2014 is the year Ryne will take over.

As for the other moves, Steve Henderson has been promoted from within the club to be the team’s new hitting coach, replacing Greg Gross. Henderson was the Phils’ roving minor league hitting coach for the last two years, and previously worked as Tampa Bay’s hitting instructor.

Rod Nichols is now the team’s new bullpen coach, replacing Mick Billmeyer, who was elevated to Catching Coach (yes, I guess they actually do have “Catching Coaches… I’m as surprised as you). Nichols was the LeHigh Valley Iron Pigs’ pitching coach last year.

Juan Samuel, last year’s third base coach, will move over to the other side of the diamond and take over first base coaching duties. Which is odd, considering how often Samuel used to go from first to third (see what I did there?). Of course, Samuel will probably be much safer over at first than he was in the third base coach’s box…

Trust us, Juan. It’s safer over at first. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE

Trust us, Juan. It’s safer over at first.

Rich Dubee will remain the team’s pitching coach.

Interestingly, Manuel will not replace Pete Mackanin with a new bench coach. This year, the Detroit Tigers were the only Major League team not to have a bench coach in the Majors (thanks for that heads up, Twitter Matt Gelb!). However, given how long Manuel and Dubee have been together, one assumes Dubee will take on much of that responsibility.

Today’s announcement, though, clearly means the Phils are getting down on one knee and asking Ryne Sandberg to be “theirs.” And while Sandberg will presumably have some choices in the next few weeks and months, the Phillies are doing everything they can to keep him.

Everything short of buying him a new pony, anyway.

Hey, can somebody please get Ryne a pony?!