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Mackanin: Phillies couldn’t have gotten anyone better than Joe Girardi


Pete Mackanin remains a member of the Phillies organization. (Kevin French/Icon Sportswire)

For better or for worse, Pete Mackanin was very forthright during the parts of three seasons that he managed the Philadelphia Phillies.

In August of 2016, he offered a frank of assessment of Rule-5 Draft Pick Tyler Goeddel, explaining why he didn’t believe the Phillies needed to play him much more to know what they had in the outfielder. He admitted in May of 2017 that the Phillies had considered optioning Maikel Franco to Triple-A, even though they ultimately had decided not to do that. After Aaron Nola’s final start of the 2017 season, Mackanin said he believed that Nola was a “solid No. 3 starter.”

At the very least, it’s hard to question Mackanin’s authenticity. With that in mind, Phillies fans should be encouraged by the former skipper’s assessment of the organization’s decision to hire Joe Girardi as the 55th manager in franchise history this offseason.

“I was so happy for him and for the Phillies when I found out he was going to be our next manager,” Mackanin said to Bob Brookover of The Philadelphia Inquirer in a story profiling the past connections of the two. “He’s a hell of a manager and I don’t think they could have gotten anybody better.”

After parting ways with Mackanin following the 2017 season, general manager Matt Klentak led the search that culminated in the Phillies hiring Gabe Kapler in October of 2017. Kapler, who had no prior experience as a major league manager, led the Phillies to a 161-163 record in two seasons as manager. Phillies managing partner John Middleton deliberated for over 10 days after the conclusion of the 2019 season, before ultimately electing to fire Kapler, citing the team’s 20-36 record across September of 2018 and 2019 as a major reason for the dismissal.

Though Klentak was again tasked with leading this offseason’s managerial search, it had a much different focus than his first search for a manager. The only three candidates the Phillies interviewed – Girardi, Dusty Baker and Buck Showalter – all have extended experience as a major league manager in big markets.

The Phillies ultimately landed on Girardi, who has managed 11 major league seasons, 10 of which came with the New York Yankees. Between the Yankees and the then-Florida Marlins, Girardi has a 988-794 record as a manager. Notably, he led the Yankees to their 27th World Series title in 2009, defeating the Phillies in a six-game series that kept them from repeating as World Champions.

Mackanin will join Charlie Manuel, Larry Bowa, Ryan Howard, Brad Lidge and Dan Plesac as guest instructors during Girardi’s first Spring Training as Phillies manager. Phillies pitchers and catchers are slated to report to Clearwater on Feb. 11.

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