Phillies: Who replaces Dusty Wathan in Lehigh Valley?

PHILADELPHIA, PA - AUGUST 28: Cameron Rupp /

Dusty Wathan is joining the Phillies major league staff, meaning a new voice must emerge for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs

Phillies manager Gabe Kapler has announced that Dusty Wathan, the runner-up in Philadelphia’s manager search, will work as the team’s third base coach.

Wathan had served one year as the Lehigh Valley IronPigs manager at the Triple-A level after becoming Double-A Reading’s all-time winningest manager. He’ll continue to grow alongside the organization’s talented young players.

With Wathan now no longer in Lehigh Valley, the Phillies must conduct another manager search to find someone that can continue to develop the IronPigs.

An early guess would be IronPigs hitting coach Sal Rende, who has minor league managerial experience. Since 1984 Rende has coached four league champions in the minor leagues over 12 seasons with the Royals, White Sox, Mariners, and Marlins organizations.

More from Phillies Prospects

In 2008 he was named the Philadelphia’s minor league hitting coordinator and has been the IronPigs hitting coach since 2011.

Rende would be a consistent voice in a successful IronPigs clubhouse that will lose plenty of talent to the majors while continuing to foster young players moving through the farm system.

Reading manager Greg Legg also makes sense for the IronPigs job after 15 seasons coaching in Philadelphia’s farm system. It’d allow for him to follow prospects such as Scott Kingery, Franklyn Kilome, and Drew Anderson up to Triple-A, similar to Wathan last year.

MIAMI, FL – AUGUST 22: Juan Samuel
MIAMI, FL – AUGUST 22: Juan Samuel /

Two names who might also slip into the conversation are Juan Samuel and Mickey Morandini. After serving on the major league staff as base coaches either one is well qualified to manage the IronPigs. Their future on the major league staff is uncertain with Kapler’s arrival, and Wathan moving to third base puts at least one coach out of the job.

Morandini managed Lakewood and Clearwater for three seasons before joining the major league staff. Samuel managed in the Mets organization for one year and served as the Baltimore Orioles interim manager for 51 games in 2010.

Next: Phillies 2018 top 20 prospects: Nos. 6-10

Other candidates could include Reading hitting coach and former Phillies assistant hitting coach John Mizerock. He’s bounced through the organization for years and could latch on with Lehigh Valley.