Phillies third base coach Dusty Wathan among six finalists for Rangers managerial vacancy

Dusty Wathan managed at various levels in the Phillies minor league system, including Single-A Clearwater. (Gamweb/Wikimedia Commons)

A year ago, then Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs manager Dusty Wathan was a finalist for the Philadelphia Phillies managerial vacancy. Wathan didn’t ultimately get the managerial job, with the Phillies instead tabbing Gabe Kapler to be the 54th manager in franchise history. Wathan, who was the winningest manager in the history of Double-A Reading, was given a promotion to the major league staff, joining the Phillies as Kapler’s third base coach. At the very least, adding third base coach onto his already impressive resume appeared to give Wathan a chance to manage – in Philadelphia or elsewhere – in the future.

Bob Brookover of The Philadelphia Inquirer reported 10 days ago that the Texas Rangers were expected to interview the 45-year-old for their managerial vacancy. This past weekend, Jeff Wilson of the Forth Worth Star-Telegram reported that said interview took place on Tuesday Oct. 16. At the start of the weekend, Wathan was one of eight managerial candidates that the Rangers had interviewed.

However, over the weekend, former Phillie David Bell was named the Cincinnati Reds manager, taking him out of the running for the Rangers job. Former Miami Marlins and New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi had withdrawn his name from consideration for the position prior to Bell’s hiring, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. Rosenthal said that Girardi plans to remain at MLB Network “for now,”with Jon Heyman of Fancred Sports adding that Girardi also withdrew from the Rangers job, with his eyes potentially on the Chicago Cubs, where Joe Maddon is entering the final year of his contract.

With those developments, Wilson now says that Wathan is joined by the following names as finalists for the job; former major leaguer and current Tampa Bay Rays field coordinator Rocco Baldelli; interim manager Don Wakamatsu, who had a stint as the Seattle Mariners previously; Brandon Hyde, Maddon’s bench coach with the Cubs; Houston Astros bench coach Joe Espada; and Jayce Tinger, the Rangers assistant general manager, in charge of player development.

It’s unclear at this time if there is a front-runner. It’s also not clear who the Phillies would name as their new third base coach should the Rangers ultimately hire Wathan.

As mentioned above, Bell, who spent three-and-a-half seasons with the Phillies, was named the Reds manager. Heyman reported last week that current Phillies bench coach Rob Thomson, who was a finalist for the New York Yankees job last year, has been “linked” to the Toronto Blue Jays managerial job. It’s unclear if Thomson has actually interviewed for the position or if he was just one name considered early in the process. What we do know is that Phillies player information coordinator Sam Fuld did interview for the Blue Jays vacancy, but despite making a “strong impression,” Fuld apparently withdrew his name from consideration.

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