Phillies hire John Mallee as hitting coach, retain Dusty Wathan, Rick Kranitz

By Jack McCaffery, Delaware County Daily Times


PHILADELPHIA >> Their new manager in place, the Phillies have begun to surround Gabe Kapler with a staff.

Friday, the Phils hired John Mallee as their hitting coach, retained assistant pitching coach Rick Kranitz, and announced that former Lehigh Valley IronPigs manager Dusty Wathan will be among Kapler’s assistants.

Mallee was the Cubs’ hitting coach from 2015 through 2017, including the world championship season of 2016. During his time in Chicago, the Cubs led the National League in on-base percentage. A 12th-round Phillies draft choice in 1991, Mallee previously was a hitting coach for the Miami Marlins (2010-2011) and Houston Astros (2013-2014). He played two seasons in the Phillies’ minor-league system.

Kranitz spent the last two seasons on Pete Mackanin’s staff as a bullpen coach and an assistant to since-departed pitching coach Bob McClure. He has been a major-league coach for 19 years with stops with the Cubs, Marlins, Orioles and Brewers. While he was expected to replace McClure, the Phillies said, in a release, that his “role for the 2018 staff has yet to be determined.”

Wathan was a finalist to replace Mackanin as Phillies manager. At 44, he has spent 12 years in the Phillies organization and was known to be successful and popular as a manager of valued prospects Rhys Hoskins, J.P. Crawford and Jorge Alfaro, among others.

“I don’t want seven people in the dugout who think just like me,” Kapler said, when he was hired. “I value somebody with a lot of veteran experience. There is tremendous value in someone who thinks more aggressively. I would say diversity of thought and diversity of experience is a strong way to build a major-league coaching staff.”