Phillies Add Two New Coaches to 2016 Staff
By Matt Veasey
The Philadelphia Phillies have announced that two new coaches have been hired to join manager Pete Mackanin‘s staff for the 2016 season. Rick Kranitz will become the new bullpen coach, and John McLaren will take over the catching coach position.
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Kranitz served as the pitching coach for the Milwaukee Brewers from 2011 until his firing just two and a half weeks ago. He had previous stints as an MLB pitching coach with the Miami Marlins in 2006-07, and with the Baltimore Orioles from 2008-10.
Kranitz never appeared as a player in MLB, but was drafted three times, and also spent parts of seven seasons in minor league baseball.
He was drafted twice in 1977 alone, with the Saint Louis Cardinals selecting him in the 3rd round of the old January phase of the draft, and then the Los Angeles Dodgers picking him in the June draft. In 1979, the Brewers made him their 4th round selection in June.
Kranitz was a righthanded pitcher who then proceeded to compile a 37-39 record in 119 minor league games, 79 of those as starting assignments, over five seasons of rising through the Brewers farm system.
He was never able to break through to the big league club, and moved on to the Chicago Cubs organization, where he made just one appearance in both 1984 and 1985. In all, Kranitz compiled a 3.98 career ERA, with a 1.534 WHIP, and a 512/400 K:BB ratio.
Per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, Mackanin stated in regards to the Krantiz hiring: “Rick was my pitching coach in Venezuela in 1989. We go back a long way.”
McLaren actually has managerial experience in Major League Baseball. For parts of two seasons in 2007-08, McLaren served as skipper of the Seattle Mariners, going 68-88. In 2011, he went 2-1 in the role of interim manager with the Washington Nationals.
McLaren was a Lou Piniella protege, serving under him on the staffs in both Seattle and Tampa Bay from 1993-2005. He was the third base coach for the U.S. team in the first-ever World Baseball Classic in 2006.
As a player, McLaren was selected in the 7th round of the 1970 MLB Amateur Draft in June by the Houston Astros. He spent parts of the next seven seasons rising slowly but steadily through the Houston organization, but was never able to advance beyond the AAA level.
A catcher through the vast majority of his career, McLaren hit for a career .250/.352/.363 slash line with 38 homers and 200 RBI over 1,870 minor league plate appearances.
On the McLaren addition to the staff, Zolecki quoted Mackanin as follows: “John has been around a long time, he’s got a lot of experience. He can do anything I really need, anything I want zeroed in on.”
Per Zolecki, both hitting coach Steve Henderson and pitching coach Bob McClure will return for the 2016 season. Bench coach Larry Bowa is seeking MLB managerial opportunities, and is likely to return if unable to land such a job.
Also seeking a job as an MLB manager is first base coach Juan Samuel, who would also return if unable to land a position. If he returns, Zolecki reports that he would become the third base coach, with the club now looking for a permananet first base coach to join the staff.