UPDATE: Philadelphia will likely consider Wathan a finalist but has not made a final decision, according to MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki. Dodgers director of player development Gabe Kapler and ex-Red Sox manager John Farrell are also considered strong candidates.
Check out our manager carousel tracker for the latest on the Phillies’ opening.
ORIGINAL: The Phillies are “zeroing in” on promoting Triple-A manager Dusty Wathan to their big-league managerial job, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today. No official announcement has been made by the team.
Wathan is one of three internal candidates the Philles interviewed after shifting Pete Mackanin to a front office role, along with third base coach Juan Samuel and special assistant Jorge Velandia. Team president Andy MacPhail and general manager Matt Klentak have also considered Manny Acta, Gabe Kapler, Phil Nevin, Chip Hale and new Mets manager Mickey Callaway for the opening.
Wathan, 44, led Triple-A Lehigh Valley to an 80-62 record in his first season at the minors’ highest level. He has been in the Phillies’ organization since 2008, managing at Single-A Williamsport, Single-A Lakewood, Hi-A Clearwater and Double-A Reading before taking over at Lehigh Valley last September.
Wathan, a Jacksonville native, appeared in three games as a catcher for the Royals in September 2002, notching three hits in five at-bats. He spent 14 years in the minor leagues with four different organizations, ending his playing career with the Phillies in 2006 and 2007.
If Wathan is indeed hired, he will be the club’s third manager since 2013, joining Charlie Manuel, Ryne Sandberg and Mackanin.