Phillies Pheatured Coach: Manager Pete Mackanin

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Jun 29, 2016; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Philadelphia Phillies manager Pete Mackanin against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 29, 2016; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Philadelphia Phillies manager Pete Mackanin against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /
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In another grueling season, few have noted the influence of Phillies manager Pete Mackanin. Recent comments raised eyebrows among the fanbase, but the second-year manager has held the team together through another rebuilding year.

When the Phillies promoted Pete Mackanin to interim manager last season, I expected him to be a placeholder until the offseason. I figured the Phillies would wait until the offseason to go through the managerial search.

Instead, the Phillies escaped from their June funk and played much better through the second half of the season. The Phillies believed in Mackanin enough to extend him all the way through 2017 with a club option for 2018.

In his first full season as a manager, Mackanin oversaw a team that was five games above .500 on May 25. For at least a couple months, the Phillies looked like they had a fighting chance at wild-card contention.

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In spring training, Mackanin drove home the fundamentals by fining the entire camp 50 cents whenever someone made a mistake, like not legging out doubles or missing cutoff men. The fines weren’t meant to strip players of their money, rather to ensure players will pay attention to detail while playing.

Mackanin made one of his first major decisions of the year as the calendar turned to June, moving Tommy Joseph into the starting first-base role. The decision was easy enough, considering the success of Joseph and the struggles of Ryan Howard. That decision looks even smarter now that Ryan Howard has prospered off the bench.

Mackanin also stirred some benching Odubel Herrera for a lack of hustle. Mackanin deserves some credit for going against the grain by benching his star outfielder. He showed the ability to make the tough calls to help a player mature. While it could have been unpopular, fans actually showed support for Herrera’s benching.

So far this year, Mackanin has challenged 38 plays and 22 have been overturned, a 57.9% success rate. The Phillies were one of the more successful teams in replay reviews last year, and have continued that this year.

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However, Mackanin’s record is by no means pristine. Many have criticized Mackanin’s handling of Rule 5 pick Tyler Goeddel. Mackanin only exacerbated these criticisms when he said, “I don’t see a need to play him, especially after he hasn’t played so much. What’s the point?” to Ryan Lawrence of Philly Voice.

Goeddel has seen limited action in favor of the likes of Cody Asche, Peter Bourjos, and Jimmy Paredes. The outfielder had some success between May 5 and June 1, carrying a .297/.350/.500 line while starting nearly every day. Personally, I would rather see Goeddel get more experience in the majors. If the team sees Goeddel in their future, Mackanin should play Goeddel over players who won’t be around after this season.

Mackanin also wasn’t a fan of the standing ovation Phillies fans gave Chase Ultey upon his return to Philly. More specifically, Mackanin said he “could’ve done without the standing O [ovation] after the gs [grand slam]” according to Jen Daniels of CSN Philly.

The team has fallen back to Earth in the second half, but that hasn’t been Mackanin’s fault. Instead, the manager has done everything in his power to keep the team afloat.

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The front office showed their confidence in Mackanin with the extension he received before this season. If nothing else, he earned the opportunity to be the manager of the future.

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