Phillies executives may be keeping their manager at the worst possible time
Another dreadful Phillies season is coming to a close and some major decisions must be made by general manager Matt Klentak, president Andy MacPhail and majority owner John Middleton.
One decision will be whether or not to retain manager Pete Mackanin, who signed a one-year extension midseason. However, the team went on to lose 29 of their next 38 games, making the decision to extend Mackanin look foolish.
Many fans want the 66-year-old skipper to walk the plank in the midst of another season with the worst record in baseball. Failing to gain control of young players such as Maikel Franco and Odubel Herrera, instituting puzzling lineups, and a lack of fire has fueled the criticism even further entering the final two weeks of the season.
Reports suggest the organization is leaning towards honoring Mackanin’s new contract through next season despite the team having the worst record in baseball.
History, however, is not on the Phillies side.
Since the 2000 season, nine managers were fired after having the worst record in baseball.
Here’s a history of the worst teams in baseball improving after undergoing a managerial change.
In 2000 the 65-win Phillies fired Terry Francona and saw the newly-hired Larry Bowa improve the team’s record by 21 games the following season.
Arizona fired Bob Brenly 79 games into the 2004 season after winning only 29 games. Bob Melvin took the club on a ride for 26 more wins the following season.
Lou Pinella led the 2003 Rays from a 55 win team to one with 63 in his first year with the Devil Rays.
Kansas City had three separate managers in a 56-win 2005 season, which preluded a 62-win year under first-year manager Buddy Bell.
In 2010 the Pirates fired John Russell after a 57 win season, which was followed by Clint Hurdle’s 72 win team in 2011.
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Jim Riggleman took over for Manny Acta in Washington during the 2009 season after a 26-61 start, leading the Nats to a 59-win year. In 2010 the Nationals won 10 more games with Riggleman as the full-time manager.
Kirk Gibson was ousted from the Diamondbacks organization in 2014 after a 64-win year, and the team improved by 15 wins the following season.
The most recent example came from your favorite Phillies when Ryne Sandberg resigned during the 2015 season, which resulted in just 63 wins. Mackanin’s first full year running the show resulted in 71 wins.
The only instance where the team’s record did not improve with a new coach was the Houston Astros between 2012 and 2013 where the later team dropped four additional games.
New managers won an average 14 more games taking over the reigning last-place team during that 18-year time span.
Is Mackanin the main reason this team has faltered once again in the midst of a major rebuild? Certainly not, but his cons outweigh the pros after another horrific season.