I don't know Phillies manager Pete Mackanin, but he seems like a nice guy. He seems like the kind of guy you could discuss immigration or climate change with, and he won't get mad.
Guys like that are a rare find.
Mackanin took over after Ryne Sandberg — who was a managing disaster in the making — quit. And he steadied the dugout.
He won't be a Gene Mauch or a Charlie Manuel, or a Larry Bowa. In fact, using a description of Bowa is the best way to describe Mackanin: Bowa, a top of the shelf baseman man, isn't a homie.
Never was and never will be. When Bowa puts on a uni, an ego the size of Montana clicks in.
Playing for Mackanin, the kids can relax. With Mackanin in the dugout, the front office can relax, too, and won't get an attitude from Mackanin about playing 20-year-old J.P. Crawford (21 in January.)
But Mackanin won't take any bs either. I like the way he handled the sulking Herrara. He was on top if it like Sister Mary Scullion is on the hungry.
Which says, 2016 will be another season to play and develop and get ready for the future — just as Pat Gillick predicted: "I wouldn't think '15 or '16; I don't think is in the cards. I think somewhere around 2017 or 2018."
There won't be any white towel waving at CBP next season. But it will be the season to watch the Phillies' future develop. And who knows, they could win a little.
Under Mackanin, the team ran off a 21-12 record from July 17 through August 23. That's a huge, positive step and speaks volumes for Mackanin's steady leadership. And, in 2015 we've seen a young, talented rotation develop. And my infield — Franco, Galvis, Hernandez, and Ruf.
Raise your hand if you remember me calling for that infield in April.
The outfield is developing too, and the kids they got in the Hamels trade may need a little more seasoning downstairs.
They'll bring back Jeff Francoeur — he's is a good many to have around young players. So is Chooch and so is Ryan Howard.
Besides, my guess is the Phillies are finished giving away money. They owe Ruiz $8.5 million and Howard $35 million so I doubt either is going anywhere. They can platoon both veterans and eek some production from them.
There doesn't seem to be any market for them, anyway.
When more salary is freed up, they can examine the free agent market like I study the menu at the Prime Rib. So 2016 will tell them where they need help just like Denise advises me on what to order: "Ron, you don't need all that fat."
See the analogy?
Like my nephew Quentin needed a different college to grow, the Phillies need Pete Mackanin to steady the ship and let the team grow.
And that he'll surely do!
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