Phils shift manager search to external candidates

Sources say Nevin, Kapler, Callaway, Hale all under consideration

October 20th, 2017
Giants third-base coach Phil Nevin is believed to be a candidate for the Phillies managerial opening. (AP Photo/Darryl Webb)

PHILADELPHIA -- Quietly, the Phillies are making progress in their managerial search.

Phillies general manager Matt Klentak and others from the baseball operations department are interviewing external candidates this week. Sources told that Giants third base coach Phil Nevin interviewed. It is believed that Dodgers player development director Gabe Kapler and Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway either interviewed or are scheduled to interview. And MLB Network's Jon Heyman reported Thursday that A's third base coach Chip Hale interviewed earlier this week.

It is unclear how many external candidates might meet with Phillies officials. They interviewed three internal candidates last week: Phillies third base coach Juan Samuel, front-office advisor Jorge Velandia and Triple-A Lehigh Valley manager Dusty Wathan.

Nevin, 46, was the first overall pick in the 1992 Draft and spent 12 seasons in the Majors (1995-2006), making the 2001 National League All-Star team with the Padres. Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who managed Nevin in San Diego, hired him in November.

Nevin has several years of Minor League managerial experience. He managed Triple-A Reno (Arizona's top affiliate) from 2014-16 and managed four seasons in the Tigers farm system from '10-13. He also managed the Orange County Flyers, an independent team, in '09.

Kapler, 42, played 12 seasons in the Majors from 1998-2010. He managed Class A Greenville (a Boston affiliate) during a short-lived retirement in '07. The Dodgers nearly hired Kapler to replace former manager Don Mattingly following the '15 season, but Dave Roberts got the job instead. Kapler has been considered a protégé of Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman.

Kapler has an interest in analytics, fitness, nutrition and more. It undoubtedly intrigues the Phillies front office, which is embracing outside-the-box thinking and approaches to the game.

Callaway, 42, has worked with Indians manager Terry Francona since 2013. Francona has touted Callaway as a future manager. The Indians had the best pitching staff in baseball this season with a 3.30 ERA, but they have had good pitching since Callaway arrived five seasons ago. Their 3.64 ERA from '13-17 ranks fourth in baseball. The New York Post reported that Callaway interviewed for the Mets' managerial vacancy on Thursday.

Hale, 52, managed the D-Backs from 2015-16. Heyman quoted a National League GM who said, "I don't understand why he wouldn't be a candidate everywhere."

The Phillies have been keeping their managerial search quiet, at least compared to other teams. So far most of the names linked to the Phillies' vacancy have been speculative with former Tigers manager Brad Ausmus, Astros bench coach , former Mariners bench coach Tim Bogar, Red Sox bench coach Gary DiSarcina, White Sox bench coach Joe McEwing, former catcher and others mentioned as possibilities.

A source said last week that there is almost no chance that Orioles manager Buck Showalter replaces Pete Mackanin, who was reassigned last month to an advisory role in the Phillies' front office. While the Phillies would love to interview Showalter, he remains under contract with the Orioles through 2018, and there is little hope Orioles owner Peter Angelos lets him out of his deal.

Reports that former Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. and Phillies former manager and bench coach Larry Bowa are candidates are erroneous. Bowa just joined Klentak's baseball operations department last week.

Phillies president Andy MacPhail said earlier this month that the organization hopes to hire Mackanin's replacement before the GM Meetings next month.