The Phillies officially announced a new contract for manager Pete Mackanin. Basically, the new deal picks up the option year for 2018 that Mackanin had on his contract and adds another option year, which is now for 2019.
Mackanin is in his second full season as the team's manager after taking over in late June of 2015 for Ryne Sandberg. Most players - particularly the young players that are the focus of the club - have praised Mackanin for how he relates to them.
"What I've seen the first six weeks of this season is a team that plays hard on every pitch," said GM Matt Klentak at a press conference to announce the contract extension. "I fully recognize that we're six games under .500, but take yesterday's game for example, we got down big late in the game and those players fought to load the bases, they fought again to put up runs in the ninth. They have been doing that every night, and I think the effort level of this team, we can see it, we can see what's happening."
Ironically, Mackanin faced criticism from one of his veteran relievers the night before the extension was announced. Joaquin Benoit, blamed both his personal struggles, and the team's overall bullpen struggles on how the relievers are being used in game situations. Benoit cited a lack of consistency in the use of the bullpen for the problems. Mackanin and Benoit reportedly discussed their differences and cleared the air.
As for the development of young players, Mackanin is excited about how the players are developing and is excited about the future of the ball club.
"Next year will be my 50th year in professional baseball, and with this contract, I will have spent more time with this organization than any other organization that I've been associated with, so it means a lot to me," said Mackanin. "I'd like to thank Matt, for having the faith in me to take over the team and lead the team, and I'd like to thank the players for playing hard. I don't think that our record is indicative of how good we can be. And, I'd like to thank the fans for sticking with us."
Before joining the Phillies, Mackanin had twice been an interim manager in Pittsburgh and Cincinnati, but wasn't given a full-time job until the Phillies hired him after his interim stint in place of Sandberg. Mackanin has gone 121-161 as the manager of the Phillies, and has an overall mark of 174-214 as a major league manager.