Jorge Velandia emerges as candidate for Phillies manager job

CLEARWATER, FL - FEBRUARY 20: Jorge Velandia
CLEARWATER, FL - FEBRUARY 20: Jorge Velandia /

An unknown coach in the Phillies organization could be moving up the food chain very soon

Hidden amongst the flashy names in the Phillies search for a new manager are the coaches already in the organization. According to NBCS Philadelphia’s Jim Salisbury, a new name has emerged from within Citizens Bank Park.

Assistant coach Jorge Velandia had a lengthy interview with general manager Matt Klentak on Wednesday, according to Salisbury. He’s joined third base coach Juan Samuel as the only known coaches in the organization to interview for the job.

His official title in the organization is the special assistant to the general manager, although he’s held several roles in player-development, player-personnel, coaching and advisory roles. In 2015 he worked out of the major league dugout as a fielders coach and working with Latin players.

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Velandia, 42, played for the Mets, A’s, Rays, Padres, Indians, and Blue Jays in an eight-year major league career, primarily as a utility infielder. The Venezuelan native retired in 2008 and joined the Phillies coaching staff as an assistant minor league fielding coordinator.

Salisbury says Velandia isn’t among the top candidates for the job but is strongly set in “ring two” of the candidates.

On the surface hiring, Velandia would be underwhelming for fans considering the lack of name recognition and managerial history. There’s little information about Velandia available other than he works well with the Latin players and has spent nearly a decade working in player development.

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Table this name in the “don’t forget” category but likely not in the likeliest of finalists. However, it wouldn’t surprise me if Klentak pushed for Velandia to be a first/third base coach on a future big league staff.