cbs – PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Phillies have officially signed Larry Bowa to be the team’s bench coach, and Pete Mackanin to be the team’s third base coach, the team announced on Tuesday. Steve Henderson will return as hitting coach, and Wally Joyner has declined an invitation to return as assistant hitting coach. The statuses of coaches Rod Nichols and Juan Samuel have yet to be determined as both are under consideration for the 2014 staff.
To the surprise of nobody, the Phillies have announced today the return of former manager Larry Bowa as Ryne Sandberg’s bench coach. I’m not sure how much impact Bowa, a man respected for his knowledge but also hated because he’s a well-documented jerkoff, can have. He probably doesn’t get enough credit from baseball fans in Philly. Despite failing to make the playoffs in each of his four seasons, it was Bowa who brought the team back to respectability after they spent most of the 1990s as one of the most pathetic teams in baseball. Keep in mind that Bowa managed to guide his teams–ones far less talented than Manuel’s clubs–to within striking distance of the postseason.
There seems to be some concern that he’s a raging asshole and completely insane. No argument here, but I don’t think that’s a problem. You have a bunch of aging veterans who, among other things, have been infuriatingly complacent. They may be old, injured, and less talented, but a player like Jimmy Rollins could use a fresh approach, just like he did when Bowa was canned back in 2004.
As for the comparison between the Phillies and Flyers about recycling members of the team’s past and needing fresh perspective—I hear you. But there is one primary difference. The Phillies aren’t beating off to memories of something that happened 38 years ago, building statues and naming bars after themselves. They canned a beloved coach two years after his team won 101 games and 5 years after a World Series.
Still, the bottom line is they can put whoever they want in the dugout, but barring dramatic upgrades in talent, it’s not going to matter. A coaching staff is important, but it’s not going to generate a 20 game swing. Who Amaro brings in to actually play the game is going to dictate what goes down in 2014.