The parade of veteran manager candidates continues this week as the Phillies bring their search for a new manager into the home stretch. Late last week, Dusty Baker and Buck Showalter received second interviews in Philadelphia and today, Joe Girardi comes to town for his second interview with the team. From the beginning of their search for a new manager, the same three names have been on the only list that the Phillies ever had in the search for a new manager.
There is no clear front-runner, but it has been reported that Phillies CEO John Middleton has spoken with players to get their input on the three and he has also reportedly made phone calls to research the candidates, with Buck Showalter allegedly being the main focus of those calls. The input of outfielder Bryce Harper may be especially interesting since he played for Baker for two seasons in Washington.
Girardi, who managed the Yankees for 10 seasons, including in the 2009 World Series against the Phillies, is also a candidate for the vacant New York Mets job. The Mets have interviewed both veteran and non-experienced candidates for their opening and there is no clear front-runner for that job either. The Cubs have also spoken to Girardi, who at one point was considered a shoe-in for that job, but their search is taking them more toward inexperienced managers, such as David Ross, who is the current front-runner. The Mets and Cubs have both conducted far more intensive searches than have the Phillies.
Major League Baseball does not allow teams to make major hirings or announcements on days of World Series games. The World Series doesn’t begin until tomorrow and Thursday is an off-day, meaning that today or Thursday would be potential openings for teams to make an announcement.
The search may well be driven by team president Andy MacPhail, who is familiar with all three candidates. MacPhail was the president of the Cubs when Girardi played for his hometown team from 2000-2002. When MacPhail had moved onto the Baltimore Orioles, he tried to hire Girardi to manage the team prior to the 2007 season, but Girardi turned down the job.
With Girardi taking himself out of the running, MacPhail elevated Dave Trembley from interim manager to manager, but after three seasons, dumped Trembley in favor of Buck Showalter.
In his tenure with the Cubs, MacPhail hired Baker to manage the team after the 2002 season. After the 2006 season, both MacPhail and Baker were dismissed by the Cubs.