By Ed Benkin

PHILADELPHIA (CBS)–Pete Mackanin is a baseball lifer.

The Phillies’ manager has been working in the sport for nearly half a century.  Much of his time has been spent in Philadelphia and his recent work as the Phillies’ skipper has drawn praise from the team’s front office.  On Thursday, the Phillies gave Mackanin a contract extension which will keep him in the dugout through 2018 with an option on the 2019 season.

“Next year will be my 50th year in professional baseball,” said Mackanin.  “With this contract, I will have spent more time with this organization than any other organization I’ve been associated with.  It means a lot to me.”

Despite a 13-19 record this season, the front office is seeing progress with the players as the franchise continues with a rebuilding phase.

General Manager Matt Klentak is happy with what he has seen despite a recent losing stretch and believes Mackanin has been getting the most out of his players.

“This team is playing hard to reach its potential,” Klentak said.  “We’re all trying to put the best players on the field that we can and then help them achieve whatever their ceilings are.  That’s something I think Pete and his staff is doing and I think Pete and his staff are working very well together.”

Mackanin also appears to have earned the respect of his players.  Even when issues crop up, Mackanin and the players seem to be able to move forward.  The manager said he spoke with reliever Joaquin Benoit after the pitcher questioned the roles of the releivers.  Mackanin said everything had been smoothed over and Benoit has moved forward on the subject.  For Mackanin, it’s another part of dealing with the modern baseball player.

“I want them to be accountable,” said Mackanin.  “I make sure they’re accountable.  Back in the old days, it was ‘I’m the manager and that’s why you’re not playing.’  It doesn’t work anymore.  I want the players to respect me and to like playing for me, but at the same time when I want them to be accountable, I don’t want them to do something they shouldn’t be doing and I let them know about it.”

Managers who are put in charge of a team during rebuilds often aren’t around by the time a team becomes a contender.  It is the nature of the sport to put a different voice on the dugout when the franchise reaches a new level.  The Phillies believe that may not be the case with Mackanin by the time the team is ready to contend.

“Pete is the manager,” Klentak said.  “There’s no time frame on that.  This is not a temporary thing. Pete’s the manager and I have every hope and every confidence that he will be as we turn this around and the wins start coming.”


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