Sandberg steps down as Phillies manager
Mackanin named to position on interim basis
PHILADELPHIA -- The fact Ryne Sandberg will not manage the Phillies in 2016 should not shock anybody. The fact he pulled the plug on himself with more than half the '15 season to play should.
The Phillies announced Friday afternoon that Sandberg had resigned as manager. Pete Mackanin will be the interim manager at least through the weekend, but what happens after that is very much up in the air.
"It was better now than later," Sandberg said in a news conference at Citizens Bank Park with Phillies president Pat Gillick and general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. "It is not an easy decision. In a lot of ways, I'm old-school. When you wear the shoes I was in and felt what I was feeling on a daily basis and felt how dissatisfied I was with what was going on the field and the record, that weighed a lot on me.
"I have thought about it for some time, and we've come to this day. I think it was important for me ... with the way things have gone this year. It allows the organization to go forward and really get this thing going."
The Phillies have the worst record in baseball and are on pace to lose 105 games. Sandberg promised a return to fundamental baseball, but the results never materialized on the field. Of course, the talent on the roster played the biggest role in that. But Sandberg never seemed to connect with his players, with players questioning the manager and coaching staff since the beginning of last season. He also ruffled feathers with the way he benched former shortstop Jimmy Rollins in Spring Training 2014 and how he announced a plan to bench first baseman Ryan Howard that July.
But Sandberg, who said he had been thinking about resigning for at least a week, also repeatedly mentioned the imminent changes to the front office as a factor in his decision. Sources told MLB.com that Andy MacPhail will join the organization in a significant leadership position before the end of next week. If MacPhail replaces Gillick in the president's role, he is expected to reshape the front office.
A new manager and coaching staff also are expected.
"I didn't know if I would be in the plans or not," Sandberg said. "But being dissatisfied with the record and not being pleased with that, I didn't feel like I had a leg to stand on with any changes."
In other words, Sandberg saw the writing on the wall.
"I guess he knew or had a feeling they would make some changes and he didn't want to be part of that, so he said, 'You know what, I'm going to go ahead and step down now,'" Phillies outfielder Ben Revere said. "You know sometimes, honestly, sometimes some managers ain't made to be a manager sometimes. I mean sometimes you got a guy out there, you kind of struggle and all that pressure may have gotten to him, and he knew maybe it was time to go. Only thing about it was I guess he didn't want see himself be let go, so he stepped down."
Sandberg arrived at the ballpark at around 10 in the morning and informed Gillick and Amaro about his decision.
"Frankly, this is a pretty sudden decision that Ryne had made," Amaro said. "It's surprising. I don't know that Ryne should feel like he should be shouldering all the blame. We do things as a team, as an organization. We win as an organization and we lose as an organization. It's really a team effort. I take my level of responsibility for the things that are happening on the field as well.
"We're in the process of getting our feet on the ground. Pete has graciously accepted [to be interim manager]. He's had experience in this area. He's a good baseball man. We'll see where it goes. Frankly, it's a little open ended right now,"
Sandberg said he does not believe this will affect his legacy as a Hall of Fame second baseman with the Cubs. He said he does not know if he plans to try to pursue another managerial job.
"Managing a team is very challenging," Sandberg said. "I enjoyed the challenge and I enjoyed coming to the ballpark every day. I enjoyed thinking about the players as individuals and what we needed to do every day. I enjoyed my coaching staff and our desire to get the most out of our players. I know I gave 100 percent every day when I came here with the attitude of winning the game every day. That was the mindset, and I enjoyed that part."