CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Phillies general manager Matt Klentak first approached Pete Mackanin this week about a new contract. Negotiations, if they can be called that, moved briskly."He wanted to give me a few days to read [the contract] and make sure everything was in there that I liked," Mackanin said
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Phillies general manager Matt Klentak first approached Pete Mackanin this week about a new contract. Negotiations, if they can be called that, moved briskly.
"He wanted to give me a few days to read [the contract] and make sure everything was in there that I liked," Mackanin said Friday afternoon at Bright House Field. "I only needed about 10 seconds. I said I'm good without reading it."
The Phillies announced Friday that Mackanin agreed to a two-year contract that carries him through the 2017 season. The deal includes a 2018 club option. Mackanin, 64, had been working on a one-year contract with a 2017 club option, which he signed in September after replacing Ryne Sandberg, who quit in June.
"This contract rewards a manager who has been in baseball for 47 years and has earned this opportunity," Klentak said. "Pete and I have developed a very strong working relationship over the last five months, and I'm absolutely confident that he's the right person to lead this organization as we grow forward."
It says something that Klentak tore up Mackanin's old deal and handed him a new one before he had the opportunity to watch him manage in the regular season.
The Phillies signed Mackanin to his original contract in part because they did not want to immediately burden Klentak with a lengthy managerial search. Many believed Mackanin could be one and done. After all, GMs often like to have their own manager in the dugout.
Klentak also could have simply picked up Mackanin's original option through 2017 and evaluated him from there.
"We could have," Klentak said, "but I thought he earned this. We wanted to make sure it's clear that the one-year deal he signed before it's done, it's ripped up. This is a commitment we're making to the manager of the Philadelphia Phillies, at least through the 2017 season. This is a clean start between Pete and I. What happened before, that is done."
Mackanin got that clean start because Klentak immediately took to him.
"I had never met Pete until the beginning of the [organizational] meetings my second day on the job," Klentak said. "We spent the offseason, we talked a lot. At times he was in Philadelphia we'd get together. We spent a lot of time on the phone talking baseball philosophy, baseball strategy, players we either had acquired or were considering acquiring, talking about the way Pete was going to run Spring Training and our relationship has evolved over time. ... What I wanted to see was how that played in a real life setting here in Spring Training with a camp full of players. Really, Pete couldn't have shown me anything more. He and I are very much aligned on the culture and the environment that we're trying to build. So we could have waited into April, or into May, or whenever, to make the decision, but I didn't really see any sense in waiting."
Mackanin has been a good fit for a rebuilding team full of young players. He has an easygoing personality, which makes him approachable and relatable to players. He communicates well, which had been an issue with Sandberg.
But Mackanin can be firm when needed, too.
"I'm going to be who I am," he said. "I feel I have the right amount of discipline and the right amount of energy and the right approach to handle it, especially the younger players. So far up until this point in time I think everybody is on board. In fact, I know everybody is on board. Things have gone extremely smoothly this spring. I don't want to look at it as if I have the hammer, but there are times when you have to lay down the law. And there are times you have to encourage and pat them on the back. That's what managing is. Managing is more than X's and O's during the game."
Mackanin served as an interim manager with the Pirates (2005) and Reds ('07), but he never got the full-time gig until Phillies president Andy MacPhail signed him to the deal in September. Mackanin often said he had given up the dream of being a full-time manager until the Phillies made it happen.
"I couldn't be more grateful," Mackanin said. "This is a great opportunity. Now that I'm the captain of the ship, I want to keep the guys pointed in the right direction. So this is a great day, a great moment for me, and especially for my wife who has hung around with me for 40 years. I think she's very deserving of this opportunity."
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast.