By Sam Bush

It was only an announcement on mid-May off-day, but the Phillies’ decision to extend manager Pete Mackanin’s contract through 2018 with an option for 2019 speaks volumes:

Fans should be heartened because it means that the team has a solid, talented baseball man in charge of this team on the rise, even if their early-season 13-19 record doesn’t say rise!

Announcing the deal now, while the Phils battle a stretch that’s featured losses in 10 of their last 12 games, signals the front office’s strong belief in Mackanin.

Plus, other factors, namely Mackanin’s leadership and development of young players, outweigh the wins and losses right now. It’s clear Mackanin doesn’t have the same level talent compared to other teams around the league.

Despite that, Mackanin has helped instill a competitive spirit in his team, highlighted by playing in 15 one-run games, the second most in the majors this season.

And secondly, inking Mackanin to the new deal also prevents questions about his future becoming more prevalent as the season progressed, which would be distracting for all parties involved. Gone is the wondering as to whether the team would pick up his option for next year. Instead, everyone can focus on continuing to move the franchise forward.

“I think if you look around baseball, some teams extend their manager years in advance, other times they’ll take it right down to the wire,” Klentak explained. “There’s no one way to do it, but what I’ve seen in the first six weeks of this season is a team that plays hard on every pitch.”

Klentak cited three examples in the last year that highlight Mackanin’s patience and work with younger players in second baseman Cesar Hernandez, first baseman Tommy Joseph and outfielder Aaron Altherr.


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