“Other candidates believed to be in consideration for the Phillies include Dusty Wathan, manager of the franchise’s Triple A Lehigh Valley team; Larry Bowa, Philadelphia’s bench coach and the conscience of the organization; Red Sox first base coach Ruben Amaro Jr., the former Phillies GM who acquired some of the team’s top young players; Eric Wedge, who was MacPhail’s choice for the Orioles job ahead of Showalter; and Charlie Montoyo, who was recently promoted by the Rays to bench coach.”
Okay, let’s not leave it here.
- Wathan has been whispered a lot. He’s logical. His 2017 IronPigs were good. His 2016 Fightin’ Phils were good. He knows the young guys.
- Bowa is a logical choice, too. He knows the clubhouse better than probably any non-player. He’s been around forever. He’s, as Cafardo says, “the conscience of the organization.”
- Wedge is logical because of the MacPhail connection. From 2003-13 he put up a .478 winning percentage with the Indians and Mariners. Kind of the standard “recent former manager who may find the right spot” choice, a la Terry Francona with Boston in 2004.
- Montoyo played five games in the majors for the 1993 Expos, then started managing in the Rays organization in 1997. He’s been with the Rays ever since, moving up the system gradually until, in 2015, being promoted to the big league club as third base coach, then bench coach. Montoyo won six division championships in seven years with the Durham Bulls, plus two International League titles. He probably should get a managerial position sooner than later.
Oh yeah, the “ahem.” So Ruben Amaro Jr. is rumored to be a candidate for the managerial position. The guy who was fired as general manager at the end of the 2015 season is now a possibility to be the regular manager of the Phillies in 2018.
Breathe in. Breathe out.
So do we actually invite the idea of our No. 1 Villain returning as the manager of the team? The guy who will be in focus as a team learns to become contenders? A guy who possibly never knew the difference between plate appearances and at-bats? A guy who laughed at sabermetrics? A guy who always seemed two or three steps behind everyone else?
Part of me thinks there’s a fantastic redemption narrative here: Can we just imagine for a second Ruben Amaro Jr. celebrating the 2020 world championship with the club that he put together before being fired? How ridiculous would that be? It would completely flip the way we look at him.
But most (like 99.2 percent) of me is no, no, no, no, no. Maybe Amaro has changed and learned to open his heart to change in baseball, but I just don’t trust it. I can’t. I’ll never.
I’d imagine Bowa is a popular choice among many fans, but I’d rather the team just move on with something really fresh. I’d imagine the Wathan campaign is strong, but he’s never managed in the big leagues before. Both of these problems are there with Amaro, and they’re not the biggest problems.
But again, imagine if they did it …