Pete Mackanin has rings, including his wedding band and maybe an old high school ring, but it’s his 2009 National League championship ring he got in his first year with the Phillies as an assistant that he brought up on Thursday.
It’s something he’d like to get another of, and he hopes it’s with the Phillies. There’s a good chance now that he’ll be the head man for this organization when the rebuild enters its final stage.
The Phillies signed their manager to a new deal that’ll keep him around for the 2018 season and most likely in 2019 with a club option. If all goes well, it’s likely he sticks around.
“I can certainly envision it,” Mackanin, 65, said. “I’d like to be here. I’ve got that NL Championship ring from 2009 and I’d like to get another one. The way to get there is to win games on a daily basis.”
The show of faith by the Phillies’ brass — at a time in which the team has won just two of its last 12 games — suggests that they view Mackanin as someone who can lead this team through the rebuild and quite possibly during the contending years.
“From my perspective, I am very pleased with the contributions Pete has made as the manager of this club,” said Phillies general manager Matt Klenak. “I think he’s grown a lot in the role and really whether it’s his interactions with the players or the media or with the fans … I think he has clearly solidified that he’s the leader of this club.”
Since taking over, Mackanin has gone 121-160 as the club’s manager while doing all he can with the little he has had to work with over the past few seasons. There are multiple examples, though, of his success showing through the lopsided win-loss record.
Klentak specifically mentioned Mackanin’s role in building Cesar Hernandez from someone who had “a rocky start” to now establishing himself as one of the best second basemen in baseball. There’s also Aaron Altherr, who Mackanin has adamantly motivated and done all he can to get him into the lineup. Tommy Joseph, too, has responded nicely thanks to the patience of Mackanin after his poor start in April.
Those players are all playing valuable roles on this club, and Klentak fully expects Mackanin’s work with Maikel Franco to begin to show, as well. Seeing all of that is one of the main reasons Klentak decided now was the time to re-up the manager.
“Pete’s ability and our staff’s ability to continue to work with those players and to help them grow, to help them improve and to understand that there are going to be growing pains with younger players,” Klentak said. “That’s a big part of it.”
Mackanin can now sleep easier at night knowing he has the support, but he’s not looking at the future. He says as a manager, all you can do is focus on the day at hand; for winning games is what this organization is after, and he knows in order to fully see this process reach its potential, winning will be what gets the wheels churning.