Hoskins sounds off in support of his former skipper Wathan
PHILADELPHIA » Rhys Hoskins will end this season as the player most likely to be the Phillies’ star gate attraction for a decade to come.
Nick Williams and J.P. Crawford, like Hoskins rookies who helped pick a moribund team up and actually turn it into a competitive club after the All-Star break, are also baseball celebrities in the making. What they and other Phillies like catchers Andrew Knapp and Jorge Alfaro, and pitchers Nick Pivetta and Ben Lively and others share is an appreciation for a manager they all say positively impacted their careers.
Dusty Wathan has the utmost respect of these young guns. So should there be any doubt that Wathan enters baseball’s offseason as an obvious choice to replace Pete Mackanin as manager?
The man making the decision wasn’t offering any fast nominations Friday.
“We have not identified the full candidate pool yet, but I suspect when we get to the interview phase we will interview a variety of candidates,” GM Matt Klentak said. “Some with managerial experience, some with coaching experience, some inside candidates and some outside candidates. I expect that we will look at a long list. We have to determine who is the right fit for this roster and this Phillies team.”
There are still quiet arguments that Mackanin is the right fit, even if he is almost 30 years older than his boss named Matt and doesn’t share Klentak’s proclivity for all things analytic.
“He’s a great baseball guy,” Hoskins said of Mackanin. “He’s been around the game for a long time and I think that experience he has is pretty invaluable. He was able to pass that off to some of us young guys.”
While Hoskins and his youthful Phillies colleagues shared their praise for Mackanin, they also had no hesitation introducing Wathan to the discussion.
At 44, Wathan had a lengthy career as a minor league player with a one-week September call in 2002 with Kansas City. The son of longtime major leaguer John Wathan, Dusty was on the roster of the Reading Fightin’ Phils in 2007 before calling it a career and starting a new one.
He stayed with the Phillies when he started managing the next season, first at short-season Single-A Williamsport, then climbing the ladder to Lakewood and Clearwater before really making his name during a four-year stint as Reading’s manager, then earning promotion to Triple-A this season.
Coming off a successful season with the IronPigs, Wathan is helping out as part of Mackanin’s staff this final weekend.
“Dusty’s been great for the couple years that I’ve played with him,” Hoskins said. “He played 14, 15 years in baseball. He gets what we’re going through as players. I think that adds to his style as a manager. You hear a lot of guys say that this guy is a player’s manager. Well, Dusty is that to a T. I felt very comfortable going to him with baseball stuff and non-baseball stuff. To have that in your manager’s office is pretty special and just adds to the bond that he has with his players.”
“A lot of people like him,” Crawford added about Wathan. “He was my favorite manager coming up. I think it will be fun if he comes up here and gets the job. I don’t see why not.
“He got along with the players really well. He loved to win just as much as we did. He brought that winning attitude into the dugout.”
Crawford, however, said he was stunned to walk in Friday and learn Mackanin was on his way out and upstairs.
“Definitely shocking, especially since he signed an extension deal (in May),” Crawford said. “I’m sad to see him go. I really liked him a lot as a manager.”
Slugger Rhys Hoskins is one of many young Phillies that counts Triple-A manager Dusty Wathan as a significant coaching influence. Might that be enough to elevate Wathan into the conversation to replace Pete Mackanin as manager next season?