Despite a playoff appearance, the Phillies fired AAA manager Dave Brundage Thursday. The team will promote AA manager Dusty Wathan to fill the role.
The Phillies raised eyebrows Thursday when they fired AAA Lehigh Valley manager Dave Brundage. The Allentown Morning Call first reported the news and Philly.com confirmed it soon after.
Brundage’s firing came despite his best season with Lehigh Valley. The IronPigs won a franchise-record 85 games and got into the International League playoffs for the first time since 2011. The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Railriders – the Yankees AAA affiliate – quickly swept Lehigh Valley in the semifinal round.
There’s no love lost between Brundage and outfielding prospect Nick Williams. Brundage benched Williams multiple times this season for his lack of hustle on the field. The rift with Williams could easily be related to Brundage’s firing.
More from Phillies News
- 3 Reasons to get excited for Phillies’ Craig Kimbrel signing
- Phillies-Mets owners’ rivalry grows after shocking Carlos Correa deal
- Could Rich Hill become ‘Jamie Moyer 2.0’ in Phillies rotation?
- Does Bailey Falter have a future in Phillies’ rotation?
- Bryce Harper’s absence should lead to Phillies lineup tinkering
The Phillies already have the next AAA manager already among their ranks. According to Jim Salisbury of CSN, AA Reading manager Dusty Wathan will move up to fill the vacancy in Lehigh Valley. There is no word on who will take over Wathan’s former role.
Wathan helped the Fightin’ Phils to the best record in the Eastern League for the second straight year.
The Fightin’ Phils finished the season 89-52, but another Yankees affiliate – the Trenton Thunder – knocked Reading out in the first round. The former catcher received the Eastern League’s Manager of the Year award for the second year in a row.
Wathan is now in the majors, helping out as an assistant coach through the rest of September. It wouldn’t surprise me if Wathan eventually moves up to the majors if an opening arises with the Phillies or another team.
His presence in Triple-A will be comforting for prospects who will soon join or are already with the Ironpigs. Seeing a familiar face in an otherwise new environment could help players adjust to the next level.