Report: Phillies zeroing in on Dusty Wathan for manager job
The Philadelphia Phillies appear to be making progress in their search for a new manager.
Following several weeks of interviews with prospective managers, the Phillies are zeroing in on Dusty Wathan, who managed their affiliate in the Triple-A International League in 2017, to replace Pete Mackanin, according to Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY.
Wathan was one of three internal candidates to interview for the job, along with third-base coach Juan Samuel and front-office advisor Jorge Velandia. The Phillies have also looked outside the organization for a new manager, reportedly interviewing Los Angeles Dodgers player development director Gabe Kapler, Oakland Athletics third-base coach Chip Hale, and Seattle Mariners bench coach Manny Acta, among others.
This past season, in his first year with Triple-A Lehigh Valley following a five-year stint as manager of the Reading Fighting Phils of the Double-A Eastern League, Wathan led the IronPigs to an 80-62 record. The 44-year-old, whose playing career in Major League Baseball comprised three games with the Kansas City Royals in 2002, has managed in the Phillies' minor-league system since 2008.
"Dusty's been great for the couple years that I've played with him," Phillies rookie Rhys Hoskins told Rob Parent of the Delaware County Daily Times in September. "He played 14, 15 years in baseball. He gets what we're going through as players. I think that adds to his style as a manager. You hear a lot of guys say that this guy is a player's manager. Well, Dusty is that to a T. I felt very comfortable going to him with baseball stuff and non-baseball stuff. To have that in your manager's office is pretty special and just adds to the bond that he has with his players."
On the final weekend of the regular season, only a few months after signing Mackanin to an extension, the Phillies announced he wouldn't return in that role in 2018, and would instead transition into a front-office position.
"It's about finding a connection with the team and with the players and leading us on into the future," Phillies general manager Matt Klentak said at the time, according to Matt Gelb of Philly.com. "I think that is what this is about. It's about looking forward."