The Phils thanked Rich Dubee for his nine years of service before letting him know he won’t be retained on manager Ryne Sandberg’s staff next season. Having been here since the beginning of the Manuel era and oft considered Charlie’s right hand man, it’s not a surprise he won’t be back. Other changes are expected.
Dubee has garnered much praise from the pitchers he worked with the past nine years. Roy Halladay was particularly fond of him, crediting Dubee with teaching him the changeup. Ryan Madson credits Dubee’s approach to helping him step his game up a notch when he set up for Lidge in 2008. Still, nine years is a long time and Sandberg should have input as to who his coaching staff will consist of. A house cleaning isn’t expected, but there will be coaches coming and going the next few weeks. The Phils have labeled getting Sandberg’s staff in place as priority number one.
The big rumor that’s been circulating has Bowa joining the Phils staff as either 3rd base coach or a bench coach. Bowa and Sandberg were sent to Chicago together in a trade for Ivan De Jesus prior to the 1982 season where the veteran Bowa became a mentor to the then 22-year old Sandberg. Bowa is a baseball lifer who managed the Padres in 1987 and was the Phillies manager the four years prior to Manuel’s hiring. In his first season as Phils manager Bowa was named NL Manager of the Year. He’s also served as a coach for numerous managers over the years. Bowa’s latest on the filed job was as Joe Torre’s 3rd base coach for the L. A. Dodgers, which ended with Torre’s retirement in 2010.
Bowa has always been a Philly fan favorite, and his fiery style may bring some energy back to what at times appeared to be a lifeless Phils team. It is also this fiery style that has made him a sometimes controversial manager, both with the Padres and the Phils. Perhaps as a bench coach or 3rd base coach where he doesn’t have the final say he would be somewhat tempered by Sandberg’s less intense style of communicating.
Whether Bowa is added or not, we expect Amaro and Sandberg to build a staff Sandberg is comfortable with in his first full season as Phils manager. This is job one in an offseason the fans hope will culminate in putting a contender back on the field in 2014.