A Hall of Famer officially joined the Phillies coaching staff today, and even though Ryne Sandberg will officially take over third base, he will inherit a whole lot more.
Beerleaguer: Coaching moves are difficult enough to assess even for credentialed reporters, so I’ll spare you the pretension of having any helpful insight into the failings – if any - of departed coaches Sam Perlozzo, Pete MacKanin and Greg Gross. However, anyone can see that Sandberg has a lot going for him: 10 All-Star appearances, nine Gold Gloves, seven Silver Sluggers. And by the way, he put a garbage Lehigh Valley club into the postseason the last two seasons.
Sandberg is too big, too nuanced, to slide into the mix without clearing a path. The Phils aren’t calling him a bench coach, but Charlie Manuel and Ruben Amaro Jr. said today that Sandberg will step in when Manuel is ejected, ill and so forth. This was a calculated decision that took shape as early as last season. Meanwhile, Rich Dubee continues his role as pitching coach and executive officer; by most accounts, he carries a ton of dugout clout, and if you don’t agree he’s among the best pitching coaches in the game, you haven’t been a Phillies fan for very long. Adding Rod Nichols, himself a coaching prospect, should prove beneficial for a bullpen of young ex-IronPigs.