After being hired as the 54th manager of the Phillies two weeks ago, Gabe Kapler has made his first executive decision. Kapler has named three to his coaching staff, including two who have been within the organization in the past.
The first hiring made by Kapler was likely his direct competition in the Phillies’ managerial search. Now-former Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs manager Dusty Wathan will join Kapler’s on-field coaching as the next third base coach. This hiring signals the end of Juan Samuel’s tenure with the organization, at least within the coaching staff. Samuel joined the Phillies coaching staff before the 2011 season. The team has not announced yet if Samuel will remain with the club in any capacity. Wathan, who was been with Phillies’ organization for the previous ten seasons, working his way up the minor league ladder, was likely hired by Kapler to keep him within the organization. While Wathan had previously stated that he was all-in for the decision to hire Kapler as the next manager, one would have to assume that he was going to receive offers from other teams Major League coaching staffs, and the Phillies did not want to lose his services.
The second internal hiring made by Kapler, we assume at least, was for the pitching coach position. That title will go to Rick Kranitz, who has spent the previous two seasons within the organization as a bullpen coach. Prior to accepting the bullpen role with the Phillies in 2016, Kranitz had been the pitching coach for three other teams, including a two year stint with the Miami Marlins, three more years with the Baltimore Orioles, and finally, five seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers. While Kranitz hasn’t officially been announced as the team’s next pitching coach yet, that is a near foregone conclusion at this point in time. This hiring means that Bob McClure will not be back with the Phillies next season.
The only hire of the three in which Kapler went outside the organization to find was John Mallee. Mallee will replace Matt Stairs as the team’s next hitting coach, the third in the last three seasons. Mallee is a former professional who spent two years within the Phillies farm system from 1991-1992. He hit .208 in 115 minor league games after being drafted by the Phillies in the tenth round. Prior to joining the Phillies organization, Mallee served as the hitting coach for the Houston Astros before becoming a member of the Chicago Cubs coaching staff for the last three years. He was replaced by Chili Davis at the end of the Cubs playoff run earlier this fall.
The remainder of the Kapler led coaching has yet to announced. The team will definitely be looking for a new bench coach after Larry Bowa was replaced at the end of the season. Bowa took a position within the front office. The Phillies will also likely need to find a new first base coach and bullpen coach.
Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports