The Philadelphia Phillies announced earlier today that two longtime organizational stalwarts, bench coach Larry Bowa and base coach Juan Samuel, will return to manager Pete Mackanin‘s field staff for the 2016 season.
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Bowa will turn 70 years of age on December 6th, and had been a candidate for the open Miami Marlins managerial position. In fact, he received a 2nd interview for that position. However, today’s announcement signals that he will not be receiving that job. It also likely means that the Fish have likely settled on their future skipper, and will be making that announcement some time soon.
Samuel, who turns 55 years of age on December 9th, was also reportedly interested in seeking an MLB managerial opportunity. But with nothing specific developing, he too has chosen to return. Samuel had interviewed for the Phillies’ own managerial job last month, but the club instead opted to retain Mackanin as the full-time skipper.
As quoted by Jordan Hall at CSNPhilly.com, Samuel would like an opportunity to manage in the big leagues: “I would like to see what things open up out there and see if I get a chance. My ultimate goal is not to finish my career coaching first base.”
While he won’t manage just yet, Samuel at least won’t be coaching first base any longer. While Bowa will return to his previous role as Mackanin’s bench coach, Samuel will move across the diamond. He previously had been the 1st base coach, but will now become the third base coach.
Both Bowa and Samuel were longtime star players for the Phillies, Bowa in the 1970’s and Samuel in the 80’s. Bowa was the team’s starting shortstop for a dozen years, from 1970-81. He was a 5x NL All-Star and 2x NL Gold Glover while with the team, and was a key starter for the 1980 World Series championship team.
Samuel broke in with the 1983 Phillies team that lost in the World Series to the Baltimore Orioles. That began a career in which he started for the team until being traded to the New York Mets for Lenny Dykstra in the 1989 season. Samuel was the starter at 2nd base before moving to center field in his final Phillies season. He was a 2x NL All-Star and a 1987 NL Silver Slugger Award winner while with the Phils.
With the hiring of Matt Klentak as the new general manager, and these coaching announcements today, the Phillies appear to have just one opening remaining, that of the first base coach to replace Samuel. Ryan Lawrence of Philly.com speculated today that former Phillies outfielder Raul Ibanez could be a candidate for that position.