Phillies fans are ready to look towards next season, and it all starts with the manager
It’s hard to find a single Phillies fan still supporting manager Pete Mackanin in the midst of one of the worst seasons in the history of baseball. Signing a one-year contract extension in May, Mackanin is leading a team destined to lose 100 games for the first time since 1961.
Understandably, the young front office in Philadelphia likely won’t fire Mackanin mid-season because of the politics involved. Any move regarding Mackanin is likely to occur after October 1 when the Phillies finish their season against the Mets.
Removing Mackanin likely means a purge of the coaching staff, and dilutes any internal candidates.
One potential candidate outside of the Phillies organization resides in the National League East; Braves third base coach Ron Washington.
The 65-year-old Washington led Texas to consecutive World Series appearances during the 2010 and 2011 seasons, failing to achieve the ultimate goal. Washington won 664 games in the better part of eight seasons with the Rangers, which included four consecutive seasons with at least 90 wins.
As a player, Washington bounced between five separate major league teams, most prominently the Minnesota Twins. He spent parts of 10 seasons in the majors, but mostly spent time in the minor leagues.
There was also one season he was on a Mexican team roster but never played a game.
Sometimes the best coaches are the players who never became superstars and watched from the sidelines. Those players worked hard every day to get a chance, and when they weren’t playing they studied the game from the dugout.
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Washington’s history as a manager gets tricky during the tail end of a 53-87 season in 2014 when he abruptly resigned as the Rangers manager. He confirmed to having an extramarital affair and needed to spend more time with his wife of 42 years.
Additionally, Washington tested positive for cocaine during the 2009 season while with the Rangers. He was able to keep his job after contacting the league office to inform them of his mistake prior to a drug test coming up positive.
In a lengthy interview with ESPN Washington spoke openly about smoking marijuana and using amphetamines to recover from injuries as a player.
Since resigning from the Rangers, Washington has returned to baseball and has interviewed for managerial positions. After serving two seasons as an infield/third base coach for Oakland, Washington was a finalist for the Braves manager position. He’s now their third base coach and works with infielders.
If the Phillies can look past his past transgressions, Washington would be an incredible hire. He’s far from a retread manager that’s bounced between teams, and has a proven winning pedigree.
Having an inside look at a division rival’s organization doesn’t hurt either.