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Ryne Sandberg resigns as Phillies manager

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Philadelphia no longer has a manger, as Ryne Sandberg has decided to move on.

Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports
While speculation was high that a deal was going to be announced between the Mets and the Phillies, that is not the case at all, and we now know that Ryne Sandberg has stepped down from his post as manager.
Sandberg was named manager of the Phillies on September 22nd of 2013, and immediately signed a three year contract with an option for the 2017 season. However after posting a record of 119-159, and his future uncertain, Sandberg appears to have made the decision that much easier for Philadelphia and relieved himself of his duties.

While there are surely many factors at play, the biggest reason for Sandberg stepping down was the subpar play of his team. He said that "I do not like to lose, I hate to lose. I think that's the biggest thing that weighed on me."

In the interim, Pete Mackanin will manage the Phillies until a more permanent replacement can be installed.

How did the Phillies get here?

Philadelphia was once the powerhouse of the National League, but since Ruben Amaro took control of the team, they've consistently gotten worse. In 2008 they were the World Series Champions, then lost to the Yankees the following year in the fall classic, only to get kicked out in the NLCS and NLDS in 2010 and 2011, respectively. They've posted a record of 153-218 since 2012, and have a winning percentage of just .351 thus far in 2015.

Amaro handed out lucrative extensions to players that had helped Philadelphia reach their prime, which unfortunately backfired incredibly, and severely limited the Phillies in their pursuit of free agents.

When he was able to spend money in the open market, he did so unwisely, most notably by giving Jonathan Papelbon a contract worth $50 million over four years. He's proven time and time again that he's the wrong person to lead this team, and with new leadership coming in soon, he could find himself out of the job in the near future.

Andy MacPhail announcement incoming

While the announcement hasn't been made official yet, former Twins, Cubs, and Orioles executive Andy MacPhail is set to take over for current club President, Pat Gillick. His first task was going to be to evaluate the future's of Sandberg and Amaro, however with this recent news, he can move directly to the latter.

It's fascinating that Sandberg's decision surprised even the Phillies, and speaks to the disorder that has seemingly permeated their organization. Chase Utley recently had to do some damage control about his relationship with pitching coach Bob McClure, and while that situation died down, Sandberg stepping down only seems to add fuel to the fire that the Phillies clubhouse is in disarray.

Potential replacements

Once the dust settles on the aftermath of Sandberg's resignation, the Phillies will have to figure out how to replace him for the long term. Mackanin has previous experience interim manager of the Pirates and Reds, but has never lasted longer than that.

Philadelphia can take their time in making a decision, and will have a lot of candidates to choose from. Rick Renteria, Bud Black, Dusty Baker, Roger McDowell, Ron Washington, Raul Ibanez, Trey Hillman, and possibly even current player Jeff Francouer could all come up in talks.

What happens next?

It's unfortunate that Sandberg's first managerial job had to come with the Phillies, as he inherited a poorly constructed team that was not built to win. The fault should not, and cannot be placed on his shoulders. However it should, and can be placed on Amaro's.

He's responsible for the mess that Philadelphia has found themselves in, and once MacPhail has settled into his new role, and addressed the managerial situation, he needs to turn his attention to relieving the general manager.

Rumors on Cole Hamels, Ryan Howard and more

When it was announced that both the Phillies and Mets were holding press conferences at the same time, the hot takes were in full force. Some thought that a trade of Cole Hamels was imminent, while others were sure it was a coincidence. The latter turned out to be right, but there is still the question of what Philadelphia is going to do with their trade chips.

The Yankees were known to be watching him before his start against them in New York, but as Danny Knobler pointed out, another team was taking notice as well.

Los Angeles has the deepest pockets of any team in baseball, and with a loaded minor league system, they'd easily be able to handle the financial and prospect implications of acquiring Hamels. They have a clear need in their starting rotation as both Brandon McCarthy and Hyun-jin Ryu are lost for at least the remainder of the season, and likely longer.

Rumors on Ryan Howard have died down recently, but with the Phillies willing to eat the majority of his contract, his days in Philadelphia are likely numbered. In 267 plate appearances, Howard has an ISO of .231, and with power in high demand in the current run scoring environment, there should be more than few teams willing to take him on.

Closer Jonathan Papelbon is also probably on his way out, and former teammate Jon Lester thinks Chicago could be a good fit.

He has a familiarity with Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer, and with the Cubs ready to contend now, fine tuning the bullpen is undoubtedly on the wish list for their front office. His price tag is hefty, but just like with Hamels and Howard, the Phillies are willing to help financially.